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Top SME Trends for 2024

Sinead Murphy Feb 15, 2024 4:39:01 PM

Discover how tracking trends can help your SME develop the right strategy to promote wellbeing, elevate productivity, and enjoy a positive return on investment   


In today’s ever-evolving work landscape, it can be tricky for HR professionals to keep ahead of the trends. Not only do they need to ensure the running of business-as-usual responsibilities like recruitment, problem solving, and planning, but they also need to cater to the emerging needs of the modern workforce.  

This includes (but is not limited to) employee wellbeing, personal development, training, and diversity and inclusion. Although SMEs share the same set of responsibilities as larger organisations, their reduced capacity and limited resources might make them less able to anticipate the trends that lie ahead.  

But being a SME comes with its advantages. A smaller business means that the HR professionals within that space are closer to their people, which in turn fosters a better sense of connection. It is therefore far easier to implement change in an agile way, adapt to new trends, and discover what staff really want and need to help them thrive.  

In this blog, we’ll give you a head start on the top trends HR professionals need to know in 2024 – helping you stay ahead of the curve, elevate your people’s potential, and create positive business progress.  


Flexible Working  

Having experienced the benefits that flexible/remote working can bring during Covid-19, many people now find themselves reluctant to return to stressful commutes, less family time, and smaller windows for self-care.   

By offering greater flexibility, you won’t just be attracting a larger, more diverse pool of talent to your business. You’ll also benefit from a workforce who are more engaged, motivated, productive, and present – which can help to boost employee loyalty and make your people more likely to stay on board.  

Plus, in providing flexibility, you can recruit the best talent by overcoming boundaries related to location, disability, or economic background.  

After all, flexible working opportunities can:    

  • Help you attract top talent, with 87% of people wanting to work flexibly    
  • Boost revenue by 43% and productivity by 20%   
  • Reduce staff turnover by 87%  
  • Drive productivity, with 9 in 10 employees considering flexible working to be a key motivator  

By facilitating home access and agreeing on weekly deliverables, SMEs can use flexible working to set their business apart from the competition and stand out in a tightening labour market – all while setting the standard for healthy work/life boundaries.  


Staff Retention  

With two-thirds of SMEs struggling to retain valued staff, it’s important to offer tangible, meaningful reasons for your people to remain loyal. Areas that provide an opportunity for enhancing retention include:  


Onboarding - A solid onboarding strategy is key to ensuring your people feel confident in their roles, aware of how to progress, and familiar with your company culture. In many ways, it’s your first chance to engage your workers and, ultimately, keep them on board. Without this strategy in place, research suggests that 40% of workers will leave a company within the first year. 

Top tip: Develop a 3-month induction programme that starts with an informal meet and greet, followed by various training modules to help staff understand the organisation and stay compliant in their roles. Provide an opportunity for new starters to consolidate their learnings so you can be sure they have fully absorbed your mission, purpose, and values.    


Career progression - 80% of employees consider continuous learning and professional development to be either important or very important. Employees who are given these opportunities for growth are almost 3x more likely to feel happy at work than those with no development opportunities, and greater workplace happiness means better employee engagement, productivity, and retention.  

Top tip: Ensure these development opportunities maintain a wide scope of focus and encompass themes like mental wellbeing, work/life balance, and personal resilience. 


Employee benefits - A study found that 94% of participants said they would like their employers to ensure that the benefits being offered have a meaningful impact on their quality of life. With 78% of employees admitting they would be more likely to stay with an employer because of their benefits programme, opting for a provider who can help you meet the unique needs of your workforce is crucial. 

Top tip: Conduct regular pulse surveys to learn what challenges your people are facing (mental, physical, and financial) so that you can tailor your support accordingly. This will enable you to take a proactive, preventive care approach to workplace wellbeing and can help keep your people from reaching crisis point.  


Employee Recognition  

It’s no secret that a happy workplace is a more productive workplace. In fact, 75% of employees believe they would feel more satisfied in their jobs if they received at least one form of positive recognition per month - and 63% would not look for new roles if their work was consistently recognised.    

Organisations with employee recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover than those with no recognition programs and are 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes. By spending just 1% of payroll on initiatives that encourage recognition, businesses are 79% more likely to experience better financial results.  


Meaningful Connections  

In this new hybrid world, leaders must act intentionally to align their people and connect them to a company’s culture and values. This often begins with effective communication and mastering the art of listening to your people’s perspectives and concerns. By creating a workplace where staff feel seen and heard, they will also feel more valued – and trusting relationships will flourish.  

Peer-to-peer disconnection is another key issue that has been unearthed by hybrid working. With 60% of staff admitting they feel less connected to their colleagues, and 61,000 Microsoft employees suggesting home working has a negative impact on cross-team communication, leaders must take steps to break down the barriers that stand in the way of human connection.  

To do this, employers can:  

  • Establish effective communication tools  
  • Schedule regular in-person social events  
  • Create different communities within your workforce based on interests, passions, and beliefs 
  • Promote an inclusive, integrated company culture  



The Vivup Solution  

Here at Vivup, we are what we sell. With our first-place ranking in the 2024 Elite Business 100 list, we’re proud to be recognised for our growth, ambition, innovation, people contributions, and unwavering support to both our colleagues and clients. That’s why we want to share our success with SME organisations just like yours.  

We’ve made it our mission to understand precisely what your business and your people need most, and our bespoke wellbeing and benefits platform delivers all that and more. From financial support and savings to help manage the cost-of-living crunch to simple solutions that let you establish a culture of continuous recognition, our meaningful benefits focus on the things that really matter by enriching the lives of your people both in and out of the workplace.  


What We Offer  

Vivup highfive: Whether it’s a reward for hitting a target 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 in-house recognition and reward app: Vivup highfive.  

The broad appeal of highfive 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   


Payroll Pay®: Our Payroll Pay® salary sacrifice solutions enable staff to spread the cost on the items they want and need via fixed monthly payments made straight from their salary. From tech, appliances, and car leasing to commuter bikes, travel, and more, you can help staff manage the cost of living with a meaningful solution that drives loyalty, productivity, and engagement.  


Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): From day-to-day challenges at home to mounting pressures in the workplace, our Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme provides your people with proactive, preventative support based on their individual needs. This includes 24/7 access to a telephone helpline, face to face counselling, online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) workbooks, various resources, and additional support and training services for your management teams.  

Whatever mental, physical, or financial support your people need can be provided by our all-encompassing employee benefits package. This cost-effective package not only enables SME employers to offer the same big-ticket benefits as larger organisations, but also provides you with the tools you need to build a resilient workforce, retain great staff - and win the war on talent. 


Get in Touch Today    

To learn more about how Vivup can support your SME organisation, get in touch today. Give our friendly team a call on 01252 784540, or email to request a platform demo.    


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