7 Solutions to the Key Challenges Faced by SMEs in 2022  

When it comes to the issues currently facing SME employers, the most prominent are rooted in keeping business costs down and maintaining employee performance.  

According to a survey carried out by Iwoca, 30% of small business owners are being forced to reduce their energy consumption to tackle the recent rise in energy costs. A further 17% of participants admitted that this would have a negative impact on their business, and one in four SME organisations have had to increase their prices as a result.   

Combine that with the impact on employee wellbeing and morale as they navigate the cost of living crisis themselves, issues with retention, recruitment and engagement will likely follow. It’s certainly tricky ground to traverse, but rest assured there are cost-effective solutions to help you combat these challenges.  

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key issues currently permeating the SME landscape, and what you can do to ensure the wellbeing of your workforce while keeping costs down.  

 

1. Attracting the Right Talent  

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed the way we work but has also changed the way we think about work. With many employees now experiencing a shift in what they deem most important and more attention being paid to flexibility and desirable benefits, there’s no denying it’s a job seekers’ market right now. So how do you meet these emerging needs while attracting the right people for your business?  

The solution is to offer more than just a salary as a key benefit. In fact, 75% of workers would be more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefits package.¹ When we compare this to the average cost of replacing a worker in the UK – a staggering £12,000²  – the importance of strengthening your workers’ salaries with additional benefits that help you stand out from the market becomes clear.  

 

2. Employee Retention 

In 2021, we began to experience what has now been coined as The Great Resignation. Workers across the country left their roles at historic rates; a trend that was believed to be driven by an economic and psychological shift as employers struggled – and often failed – to tempt anxious staff to return to industries that have too often treated workers as dispensable.  

To combat this, you can ensure that your organisation is a fun, engaging and a rewarding environment for your people to work in. Make your employees feel valued by building a culture of continuous support and recognition and ensure you’re creating ample opportunities for socialisation – especially with many employees now working from home and struggling with feelings of isolation.  

Arming your people with the tools to empower themselves to become productive contributors while encouraging peer-to-peer recognition is a great way to retain the talent you have and, as we’ve seen, the cost of recruiting to replace far outweighs the cost of retaining a good employee.  

 

 3. Reducing Business Costs 

With rising inflation and interest rates, supply chains issues and access to fuel and raw materials becoming ever-more of a challenge, it’s no surprise that SMEs are struggling to offer desirable pay rises to attract and retail top talent. Add a tightening labour market, wage inflation and mental health absence costs to the equation, and you’ve got yourself a vicious cycle that only seems breakable by increasing your prices, subsequently passing the costs to your customers and potentially losing trade.  

By offering a range of employee benefits that help your people manage the cost of living, you don’t need to take from the payroll bottom line to make your employees’ finances more manageable. Salary sacrifice schemes and lifestyle savings benefits are great options for reducing financial stress and provide a perfect pay rise alternative for retaining your valued workforce. Plus, these benefits will also generate significant savings for you as the employer and can help fund the cost of the overall benefits offering.   

 

4. Improving Employee Engagement

It’s no surprise that a happy workplace is a more productive workplace. Creating a culture of continuous recognition from both the employer and their peers is a proven way to keep your employees motivated and engaged while creating a sense of community within your organisation.  

But how exactly do you encourage employee engagement when faced with cost and communication barriers – particularly with so many employees now working from home?   

Whether it’s a reward for hitting a company or personal target, a long service award or a simple thank you for a job well done, we can help your business increase employee engagement, boost team morale and give your staff the appreciation they deserve with our very own in-house recognition and reward app-based platform: Vivup highfive.  

Vivup highfive has broad appeal and can support your organisation with: 

  • Reducing absenteeism 
  • Supporting your staff by recognising achievements and celebrating success 
  • Attracting and retaining talent 
  • Growing a positive workplace culture 

Plus, with no fulfilment fees and 100% of your rewards going directly to your employees, Vivup highfive is a cost-effective solution for ensuring employee engagement.  

 

5. Reducing Absenteeism

Another key issue that SME employers are currently tackling is absenteeism. In the last year alone, 79% of employees reported taking a stress-related absence, creating around £90,000 in annual spend as employers battled to cover the costs³. With growing mental health issues stemming from homeworking isolation, money worries, burnout and more, it’s vital to ensure a strong wellbeing strategy.  

Vivup’s team of mental health support specialists (led by clinicians with over 45 years of experience) can offer help and advice on a wide range of personal problems – from day-to-day challenges at home to mounting pressures in the workplace. Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides differing levels of support to employees, including a 24/7 telephone helpline, face to face counselling, online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) workbooks and additional support and training services to help your people manage their wellbeing in a practical, solution-focused way.   

 

6. Dealing with the Green Transition 

In a 2021 report conducted by British Business Bank, SME organisations were found to account for around half of all business-driven emissions – the same proportion as their larger-scale counterparts. However, 35% of those smaller businesses state cost as the main barrier for reducing their carbon emissions. In order to achieve the government’s net zero target by 2050, UK SMEs will have an important role to play.  

With the help of our comprehensive Cycle to Work and Car employee benefits, you can support your green initiatives and encourage more sustainable journeys to and from work by providing great savings on the latest bikes and electric vehicles from the leading manufacturers*.   

 

7. Technology Adoption

Many SMEs may be deterred from introducing an employee benefits platform as they believe the transition will be costly, time consuming and difficult to implement. However, with resources to implement new technologies becoming more cloud-based, it’s easier, quicker and more economical than ever to introduce an all-encompassing employee benefits platform within your organisation.  

Vivup’s employee benefits platform enables you to host a range of meaningful benefits from one easy-to-access location. By introducing this one-stop-shop solution in your organisation, you can enjoy:  

  • All your benefits integrated in one fully managed platform  
  • Light admin  
  • A boost to your employer value proposition  
  • Dedicated account management, every step of the way  
  • Regular insightful analytics  
  • Free award-winning communications to drive employee engagement  

Plus, your employees will benefit from:  

  • Access to all their benefits from one easy to navigate platform  
  • On-the-go access to their benefits via the Vivup app  
  • Support for mental, physical and financial health  
  • Dedicated customer service helpdesk  

 

About Vivup  

As a leading employee benefits platform, we deliver an all-encompassing employee engagement platform that connects workforces, improves employee wellbeing and boosts loyalty 

We’re on a mission to help SME employers win the war on talent, and we achieve this by delivering comprehensive health and wellbeing packages to over 525 public and private sector organisations across the UK. We currently support more than 1.5 million employees to manage their mental, physical and financial wellbeing both in and out of the workplace.  

What’s more, with regular communications from our in-house marketing team, you can be sure that your employees will be up to date and engaged with their wellbeing benefits right from the start. 

 

Get in Touch Today  

To learn more about how Vivup can help you address the challenges in your SME organisation in a cost-effective way, be sure to get in touch today. Give our friendly team a call on 01252 784540, or email enquiries@vivup.co.uk to request a platform demo 

 

Sources  

Rising inflation, energy and business costs for SMEs | iwoca  

Press Release – October 20, 2021 – British Business Bank (british-business-bank.co.uk)  

 *Savings are realised through a Salary Sacrifice arrangement  

  1. CIPD 2021
  2. https://www.accountsandlegal.co.uk/small-business-advice/average-employee-cost-smes-12-000-to-replace
  3. Based on an organisation of 100 employees, average sick days per employee (https://www.myhrtoolkit.com/blog/average-employee-sick-days-2020) and average UK salary (https://bit.ly/3HcMxh4)
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