"SME bosses see staff retention as a major issue and it’s clear that enhanced Employee Benefits are important to the SME sector."
MetLife has enhanced its group life proposition to focus on SME employees as it aims to expand the market and support more employers.
Its research among SMEs employing between 50 and 300 staff found 31% of firms believe staff well-being is a major issue.
MetLife’s group life proposition introduces an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) designed to meet the needs of employees of smaller companies. Less than a quarter (24%)1 of SMEs across the UK have access to EAPs and more than two-fifths (41%) of SME bosses plan to seek advice on how to better support the well-being of their staff.
MetLife’s scheme featuring the EAP covers three core areas of well-being: financial, mental and physical.
Financial well-being services on the EAP include access to legal advisers who can provide information on a broad range of financial issues including debt; credit card consolidation; pensions and retirement planning; budgeting and living on reduced income; and general money management issues.
The mental well-being support includes access to qualified counsellors to offer assistance with issues such as depression; stress; bereavement; anxiety and panic attacks; and relationship counselling.
The physical well-being EAP focus provides access to registered nurses on hand to offer guidance on a range of issues including stopping smoking; exercise and healthier eating; heart health; serious and terminal illness; as well as every day aches and pains.
Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director at MetLife UK, said: “It’s vital to recognise that SME employees are often called upon to step up to the challenges of working in an environment where resources can be stretched. This has implications for staff wellness with impacts for overall mental health; pressures on leisure, family time, exercise and eating patterns.
“SME bosses see staff retention as a major issue and it’s clear that enhanced Employee Benefits are important to the SME sector. And whilst every employer has different and specific needs, our research shows some very clear SME priorities for Employee Benefit provision. The proposition must be simple to understand; have an excellent claims handling and payment track record; with the expert support that is dedicated to meet the specific needs of SME employers.
“Less than a quarter of SME staff have access to specialist support services and we aim to address this issue by fulfilling a need for tailored guidance on financial, mental and physical well-being issues that can impact an employee’s daily wellbeing.”