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The 5 steps to make sure your small business offers the best employee benefits

Employee benefits
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In a competitive marketplace, companies need engaged employees to succeed.

Employee benefits matter for small business success, because they have a direct impact on employee engagement.

How do you make sure you have the best employee benefits offering? By utilizing our five steps solution below.

All businesses now have to function in an extremely competitive market place. An increasingly globalized society has meant that even small companies can find themselves facing stiff opposition.

With the growth of online services and technological innovation, customers have far more choices than ever before. In 2017, around 1.66 billion people purchased goods online and in the Middle East, and according to Go Gulf Gulf News, 29% of people shop online every month. Of those in the Middle East, 58% of products and services were bought from overseas vendors. This adds up to greater competition for small businesses, whatever their offering, not only on a local level but internationally as well.

A primary key to making sure your business succeeds lies with your employees. That is why taking the time to make sure you offer the best employee benefits is crucial for your small business.

Why employee benefits matter for small business success?

Your employees are the lifeblood of your organization. Whatever your purpose or aims are, it is your employees that can help or hinder your progress. Your employees are responsible for the productivity of your organization, dealing with your customers, spotting potential issues and providing resolutions.

Every study shows us that properly engaged employees perform at much higher levels than those that aren’t. When AON named the top Middle East Employers in 2018, they all shared two traits; an above average engagement level (84%) and 50% higher shareholder return than the market average. The winners, which included InterContinental Hotel Group, Marriott International and Turkish Airlines, all embodied the key attributes of engagement; support, communication, and rewards.

Employees that feel developed, supported and rewarded for their efforts will perform better every time, which will ultimately benefit your bottom line.

How do you make sure you have the best employee benefits?

Since the rewards or benefits you provide your employees are so vital to their engagement levels, you need to make sure that you are as competitive in your offering as possible. To achieve the most efficient results for your business, you need to take the following steps:

Step 1: Know the law

This might sound simple, but it can often be overlooked, which could be a costly mistake. First and foremost you need to know what employee benefits you are obligated to provide under the law. Not only will this help you avoid legal troubles, but it will also give you a benchmark of where your competitors will be starting from.

In Dubai, for instance, private sector employers are obligated to provide sponsorship, vacations, WPS, health insurance and end of service benefits.

Step 2: Determine what your business needs most

This crucial step will be a huge help when it comes to budgeting and strategic planning for future growth. It would be best if you decided what your business needs most to achieve its most important objectives.

Perhaps you need a certain number of employees to meet a production schedule either through recruitment or retention? The number of employees you need will impact how much you can budget for employee benefits.

Maybe you need specific types of employees and talent to work on key tasks? Hiring more senior staff could mean they will need more advanced employee benefits.

If your employees need to work certain hours to accommodate international markets, perhaps offering employee benefits that include flexible working, like from home, could help.

Step 3: Budget strategically

This involves two aspects; what you can afford and how much you should be spending.

You need to examine your accounts to ascertain the potential flexibility of your budget moving forward.

Then you need to understand your current levels of spending in terms of employee benefits.

Finally, you need to assess whether your current spend is appropriately in line with your revenue growth. What percentage of your income are you reinvesting into your employees? Does it grow annually with company performance? Does it reflect their contribution to your organization’s success?

Step 4: Explore your employee benefit options

Firstly, not all employee benefits have to be financial. If you are worried about the costs of attracting and retaining employees, there are other ways to meet their needs.

The key is determining which benefits will be most beneficial to your employees and which ones fit your business model. There could be opportunities for group benefits for small businesses that you haven’t considered. It would help if you also considered which small business benefits will be particularly significant to employees in this region.

Here are some of the benefit options that could be included in your package:

  • Wellness benefits – such as exercise options, gym memberships, yoga or meditation workshops
  • Training and development – to foster their professional skills growth. Could include internal or external training and internal mentorship programmes.
  • Loan support options – this is particularly helpful in this region for employees who might need help with renting costs or buying a car, as they often required single checks and an advance from the company could help them get the best deal.
  • Dependant Sponsorship and Health Insurance – This is crucial in the UAE as there isn’t a national health service, so this gives your employee a piece of mind.
  • Yearly health checks – could include diabetes and BMI analysis. This is a great way to help keep your employees fit and healthy.
  • Child Education Allowance – for employees with children, having assistance to ensure they get the best education is vital
  • Dental and optical Insurance – not all health insurance packages include these options, so by going the extra mile, you are showing you care
  • Maternity and Paternity cover – this is a big factor for many employees these days who want to know they work for an employer who supports their family
  • Flexible working hours and locations – Given the evolution in the way we work and the most efficient ways to be productive, this could be a useful tool
  • Additional vacation days – who wouldn’t want more vacation days?
  • Performance-related rewards such as team recognition, meals, treats, gifts, etc
  • HR software that gives employees personalized and direct access to the information they need most.

Step 5: Communicate your incentives

Once you have concluded which are the best employee benefits for your business, you need to communicate them effectively. By this we mean you need to market your offering both internally and externally. Your employees need to understand what they are entitled to, what they could achieve and what benefits you are offering.

This will help them feel more engaged, improve employee retention and ultimately make them more productive.

Externally speaking, by marketing your employee benefits you can raise the profile of your organization and attract talent to your staff.

By taking a sensible and strategic approach to your employee benefits offering, you can exponentially increase your business’s growth potential. If you can find the right package to suit your budget and capabilities, your employees will be better off. They will be more engaged, more satisfied and perform much better, which will make your company perform better.

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