Small business employees look to their employers for support to navigate a variety of needs and stressors, both inside and outside of the workplace. Seventy-six percent believe their employers have a responsibility for their health and well-being, up eight percentage points over pre-COVID responses. Small business employers agree, with 70% saying they have a responsibility for their employees’ overall well-being.
The impact of holistic well-being: Employees who successfully manage the stress of the blended work-life world are more likely to feel productive, engaged, and valued at work, which can help drive tangible outcomes for small businesses.
Pre-pandemic, only 38% of small business employees see themselves as holistically well – or well across all four dimensions (physical, mental, social, and financial). And, after the start of the pandemic, three in four small business employees reported concerns about at least one aspect of their well-being as a result of the virus.
Improving holistic well-being among employees by one point on a seven-point scale can translate to overall increases of 9% in productivity, 12% in engagement, and 10% in loyalty for the employer.
The pivotal role for strategic benefits
Small business leaders recognize the strategic value of benefits, but also cite offering competitive benefits as their top business challenge pre-pandemic. Tied at the top of the list was employee productivity, followed closely by attracting and retaining top talent.
While COVID-19 brought crisis management, day-to-day operational concerns, and in some cases, business survival to the forefront, small business owners haven’t lost sight of these long-term challenges. As small business employers navigate the effects of the pandemic and their business’s recovery, a comprehensive approach to benefits can play a critical role in driving company and employee well-being. However, only one in three small businesses says they offer comprehensive benefits to their employees, citing costs as the biggest hurdle.
Voluntary – or employee-paid – benefits can provide a practical option for small business owners looking to strategically expand their benefits, but not their budgets. Forty-six percent of small business employees are interested in a wider array of benefits, even if they are responsible for paying all or part of the costs.