HR · 8 November 2016

Majority of micro firms fail to promote workplace benefits

Micro firms struggle to sort out life insurance, income protection and private medical insurance for staff
Despite wide recognition of the value of benefits in retaining and motivating workers, the majority of UK micro business owners fail to promote workplace benefits to staff, new research has found.

A study by online platform Pure Benefits, amongst business owners employing fewer than 11 staff, found over 50 per cent do not actively promote benefits as they do not have the time or budget available.

Micro firms struggle most organising life insurance, income protection and private medical insurance for staff, according to the research.

Motivation and retention were found to be the two most common reasons for offering workplace benefits to staff, the study also concluded.

Commenting on the research, Pure Benefits founder Stuart Gray said: Given that small businesses have regularly changing workplace benefits needs as they grow, flexibility and simplicity are key.

the majority of micro businesses do their employee benefits research online, he added.

The news follows recent developments in UK employment law that have led to a government crackdown on larger firms using the legal status of employees to save costs on providing benefits.

In October, HMRC launched a new Employment Status and Intermediaries team to react to employee complaints and actively pursue firms engaging in dubious employment practices following news that courier service Hermes failed to provide sufficient worker rights.

At the same time, Britain’s community of freelance workers issued a damning signal to decision makers about their experiences with workplace benefits.

A survey conducted by Contractor Calculator, revealed 80 per cent of self-employed in the UK did not want any workplace benefits at all, amid fears that employment rights and complex tax affairs would threaten the flexible working conditions offered by self-employment.

Earlier this year, CEO at Untangl, Richard Stewart, told Business Advice that when it comes to employee benefits, smaller firms with fewer resources needed to hone in on the perks that matter most.

it’s important to focus on the benefits that deliver real value, added Stewart. Your best people will be looking for longer-term benefits, like training and development, flexible work hours, health care, pensions and the opportunity for more time off.

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

HR & Employment