Keeping Up With The Googles

Massage rooms, basketball courts and a swimming pool are just some of the perks which will be on offer at Goggle’s new ‘landscraper’ office development in Kings Cross. Stretching 330m in length, longer than The Shard is tall, it will also incorporate roof gardens and running tracks. Google is betting heavily on a full-on return to the office for its workforce.

As workers contemplate a post covid work/life balance larger companies are rolling out their various red carpets to welcome back their colleagues with an array of benefits to entice them back to the office. From sleep pods to on site baristas, no longer will a fruit basket delivery on a Monday morning suffice. With such great benefits on offer, how then do SMEs compete to not only recruit staff but, more importantly, retain that talent when quite clearly, they simply cannot keep up with the likes of Google.

Many smaller companies will have closed their offices during the pandemic, some never to return to office-based working. Many will adopt a hybrid working model, home based but with the promise of a ‘meet up’ every few weeks at a shared office space. Without the promise of a barista, how can smaller companies compete in what is a fierce battle of the office perks?

The good news is that, according to the Federation of Small Businesses, there are approximately 5.6 million SMEs in the UK, employing 16.3 million workers with an estimated turnover of £2.3 trillion. There are many SME’s and Micro Businesses within the market research industry and there’s a huge talent pool working within these statistics and not all of them interested in having a roof garden.

The candidates we engage with at Hasson Associates do have a list of requirements from any new employer, as you’d expect renumeration is somewhere near the top of the list, but we can also add career progression as a priority factor in any job search. People want to know they have a future at a company and there is a structured career ladder in place. Feeling valued is something we often hear on a candidate’s wish list; an inclusive and supportive workforce is also coming up more and more.

SME’s can be far more proactive in this area than their larger counterparts, if the work force is smaller the ability to engage with all colleagues, ensuring they’re heard and valued is often easier and can be very successful in the retention of your talent.

The pandemic has taught us that a sizeable percentage of us craved a better work/life balance. Whilst juggling with home schooling wasn’t ideal for many, having more freedoms to go for a lunchtime stroll or swim, not having a commute at the beginning and end of each day became an eye opener for many and indeed a game changer. Whilst many do crave a return to the office, have missed the camaraderie of colleagues, evidence suggests that many have enjoyed their newfound freedoms, are loath to give them up and want to have the option of more flexible working.

The question for SME’s is this, ‘what is important to your colleagues, what do they want from their work life and how do you help them achieve this?’ Some will want a basketball court and if so, accept they are not for you. Others will want something that any company should aspire to provide – a decent salary, a bonus, a shared vision, a tangible career path, to feel valued and listened to and to have flexible working not just on offer but embraced and understood. Job satisfaction has never felt more important and the reasons for leaving a job never better understood. It comes down to OPPORTUNITY, FLEXIBILITY, APPRECIATION.

Don’t believe the hype, don’t try and compare or compete with massage rooms and sleep pods, when it comes to a positive working environment SME’s have so much more to offer than enticing staff with perks and gifts; they have the chance to build an engaged, satisfied, productive, diverse work force with a shared vision.