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Why SME staff benefits are failing to impress

12 February 2018

Why SME staff benefits are failing to impressNew research on small business staff perks has found that companies are failing to offer benefits that hit the spot with employees.

According to a survey of more than 2,000 employees working for UK small and medium-sized companies, the most common perk offered by employers is company sick pay additional to statutory sick pay, with 58% of companies offering this as standard.

The poll, commissioned by specialist insurer Hiscox, also found that more than two in five (41%) offer their employees paid overtime and 38% offer maternity, paternity or shared parental leave beyond the statutory requirement.

What keeps employees most satisfied, among those who received the perk, is, unsurprisingly, a bonus on acceptance of a job offer - known as a "golden hello". Almost nine in ten respondents rated this as the most satisfying perk. However, only 10% of the SME workforce had received a bonus of this type in the past five years.

In fact, the research shows that many of the perks that employers do offer either go unused or leave workers underwhelmed - often because they are not relevant or useful to the recipients.

Attitudes to perks differ between men and women. Men are twice as likely to be interested in a cycle to work scheme than women (10% vs 5%), and more women (36%) than men (29%) would be encouraged to accept a job if flexible working hours were offered as standard. Women are also more likely to be swayed by the option to work from home (31% vs 24%).

Hiscox has used the survey data to create a work perks tool. It allows employers to understand the perks that are likely to keep staff most engaged in their jobs. And employees can use it to establish whether their expectations are in line with their peers, and if they have grounds for negotiating specific perks with their employer.

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