Financial safety leads as top priority for SME benefit schemes

?A quarter of SME employees would like income protection in a post-COVID-19 workplace.

Yet just 6% of companies currently offer this, according to data from Hooray Health & Protection.

Coronavirus has left a lasting impression on the workforce, with 22% of employees now wanting health insurance and 16% wanting life insurance.

Yet it was non-monetary perks which were the most common in SMEs, such as fruit bowls, free lunches and team outings.

Almost half (47%) of SMEs currently offer no employee benefits.

Thirty-one per cent of employees were happy with the current benefits their companies provide, with 14% “not happy at all.”

Of the respondents who were not satisfied with their current benefits, 44% said having income protection, life insurance or health insurance would have a high impact on their morale at the company.

Half of respondents said they were likely to be looking for a new job post-coronavirus, which Hooray said could cause retention issues for HR in the future.

Writing in the report Victoria Templeton, HR knowledge manager at HR Solutions, said: “This unprecedented and very challenging period has perhaps reminded people of the importance and need to safeguard their future and finances for themselves and their family.

“As the recruitment market picks up alongside high unemployment levels, many businesses will need to consider their employee value proposition - the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for their skills, capabilities and experiences.”

Other research from Willis Towers Watson recently found that two in five UK businesses have changed their employee benefit programmes due to the pandemic, and a Cushon survey found that the majority of employees would now want access to a financial wellbeing scheme to protect them from similar uncertainties in the future.

Hooray Health & Protection’s survey is based on the views of 1,150 SME employees from across the UK.