Almost a quarter of UK small businesses are concerned about their ability to retain employees amid the Covid crisis according to new research.
Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing found that a further 28 per cent are looking to reduce headcount in response to the pandemic. It says both are likely to prompt employer to review and adapt employee benefit packages.
Its latest research shows the devastating effect the coronavirus has had on small businesses across the UK, with eight out of 10 reporting a decline in revenues as a result.
At the same time many of these companies have also been forced to switch to more homeworking, with YouGov research suggesting that more than one in two (57 per cent) workers want to be continue to have this flexibility going forward.
Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, head of corporate Matthew Gregson says: “With a rise in home working, employers will need to review and adapt their benefits packages to ensure they are fit for purpose.
“Whilst the mainstay of benefits packages, such as pensions, healthcare and financial protection will remain, the wider offer will need to be adapted to recognise the changing dynamic home working brings.
“Support to travel (commuting) arrangements will likely need to be modified, whilst flexible working practices and provision of tools to do the job effectively from home increase. It comes down each employer’s assessment of, and response to the needs of their employees.”
Gregson points out that there are also health and safety issues to consider., with health and wellbeing increasingly moving up the corporate agenda.
He says: “The pandemic has focused attention on health and wellbeing, and we are seeing rising demand for healthcare cover. With long NHS waiting lists for diagnosis and treatment, services such as private medical insurance, cash plans, EAPs and virtual GPs are likely to be a core part of benefit packages in the future.
“Whereas, in the past approaches to health, especially medical insurance, can create the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, it is clear that the market is already adapting with solutions to meet differing employee needs and employer budgets, together with a greater focus on digital/virtual services.”
He adds: “The unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our needs and how we work has already impacted employer thinking around benefits engagement – helping employees get value from the benefits and associated services on offer.
“Whilst for many, flexible benefits will continue to work as a pillar of their strategy, the focus on day-to-day support for employees, from fitness and wellbeing, to managing budgets and taking advantage of discounts and savings, will take centre stage for the foreseeable future.”
For companies operating internationally, another key trend that has emerged during the crisis is the move towards global benefits becoming more centralised and consistent, but with local adjustments, depending on the country.
Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing says it is increasingly seeing companies wanting to manage employee benefits centrally and widen employee access to healthcare benefits including global virtual GPs, medical insurance and global EAPs.
The post One in four SMEs ‘concerned’ about staff retention appeared first on Corporate Adviser.