Speaking to employers about employee benefits is one of my biggest passions. I truly believe that happy employees lead to happy customers and I want to spread the word! However, it has become clear to me is that there are some misconceptions about the benefits of offering employee perks, particularly among small businesses.
SMEs are the bedrock of the economy, yet I believe many are missing a trick because of this. So, with that in mind, I thought I would take a look at the myths that I most often come across and have a go at busting them.1. Only Big Businesses Need to Bother
It's understandable why many SMEs think this. PLCs and big corporations were early adopters of employee benefits and, with their sizeable HR departments and dedicated benefits teams they certainly have more manpower to dedicate to it.
Likewise, if you're a startup in the early stages of growth it's understandable to think that your focus should solely be on business development, marketing and financial issues rather than employee engagement. However, whatever the size of your business, your staff are crucial to its success and therefore hiring, retaining and motivating the best people should be one of your top priorities!
2. There’s Too Much Admin Involved!
“Won’t I have to fill in lots of tax forms?” This is a common question for many small businesses thinking about offering employee perks. It’s true that some employee benefits do create an administrative burden for your HR team, or whoever happens to be tasked with that responsibility!
To implement a salary sacrifice scheme, such as subsidised gym membership, for example, employers must complete enrolment forms, amend payroll processes accordingly and make any necessary employment contract variations before starting a scheme. This can require the input of specialist HR and legal professionals.
That said, it’s also true that there are many employee perks that require little or no admin to implement. These include employee discounts schemes, concierge and even small scale reward and recognition programmes. In fact, these days employee discounts schemes, giving your team access to thousands of money-saving deals, can be launched within a matter of minutes.
3. They Don’t Impact the Bottom Line
Some of the world’s most successful businesses understand that if you look after your employees, they will look after your customers and therefore offering employee perks can have a direct impact on your bottom line. Apple’s Steve Jobs was a famous proponent of this philosophy, often referred to as 360-degree engagement.
There is a whole raft of data to back it up. For example, KPMG’s Nunwood’s Customer Experience Excellence Centre looked into this very issue and found a strong correlation between those employers that rank highly in league tables as great places to work and those that consistently perform well in customer ratings.
Whilst some employee perks are popular because they help staff’s salaries go further, not all employee benefits are about money. In fact, some of the most effective perks are about saying thank you and letting your employees know that that their contributions are valued.
These have nothing to do with salary and can include giving employees an extra hour in bed, a coveted parking space or a small voucher to treat themselves to some pampering. With these kinds of perks, it’s very much the thought that counts and in our experience these are just as effective with highly paid members of staff as they are with those in lower salary brackets.5. We Don’t Have The Budget
Making your employees feel valued and appreciated doesn't have to break the bank. With Staff Treats, the employee benefits platform for SMEs, employers can treat their staff to over 1000 discounts and offers, as well as access to ticketing and travel concierge services, from £4 a month. Need I say more?