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How SMEs can afford the benefits to keep top performers

Today’s office is not so much a workplace than a perkplace. But how can small businesses afford the employee benefits to motivate staff and retain top performers? Alternative finance can help.

Motivating employees and keeping talented staff members is an industry in itself. More and more businesses are focusing on employee engagement and offering benefits that are designed to build stronger relationships, reduce staff turnover, drive productivity and boost sales. The strategy can be particularly attractive for small businesses that are unable to compete on salary with larger firms.

And employee benefits have an impact from day one (if not before) – they are an important part of the onboarding process, which is something small businesses reportedly need help with. According to a report from Cezanne HR, poor onboarding practices are costing SMEs millions in reputation and recruitment. The study showed that over 30% of office workers at SMEs didn’t start a job despite accepting an initial offer. Poor or no follow-up was a key factor.

The importance of engaging and enthusing employees is clear, and the tools are ones that are available to small businesses. However, cost is a barrier, and perhaps a reason behind SME onboarding shortcomings. Offering benefits such as free food and drink, duvet days, gym membership, health insurance and employee share schemes looks pretty straightforward to do, but integrating these perks into an operating strategy isn’t cheap. There may be plenty of data showing how well the strategy works, but there’s still a financial risk involved and, given the current climate, it’s not an insignificant one.

So, how can aspiring SMEs afford it? Alternative finance can play a role in raising investment capital and safeguarding cashflow. In the face of prolonged caution from traditional lenders, services such as invoice finance, asset finance, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding are redefining the small business finance landscape. New evidence suggests that SMEs are switching from large banks in ever larger numbers.

This is how a Sussex small business, keen to expand, used peer-to-peer lending, through a commercial finance broker than specialises in alternative finance, to raise the money to grow.

Better accessibility, affordability and flexibility are all key factors behind the continued growth of the alternative finance sector, with use rising as awareness and confidence grow.

And this evolution couldn’t come at a more critical time. Small business owners have many financial burdens to bear, including creating a workplace environment that gets the best out of staff and keeps top performers engaged. Alternative finance is easing the pressure on small businesses and can help owners afford the costs of development, such as employee benefits.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact Tony on 01903 602211 or tony@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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