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Why Innovative Employee Benefits Are Your Competitive Advantage

A shortage of skilled workers remains a challenge. South African SMEs, in particular, have found themselves in a race to attract and retain scarce talent.

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Samantha Jagdessi
Samantha Jagdessi

Samantha Jagdessi, Head of Benefits Consulting at Old Mutual Corporate Consultants

Vital stats

The 2017 Old Mutual Corporate SME Employee Benefits Monitor revealed that the provision of employee benefit solutions can be a significant source of competitive advantage. However, the research also found that SMEs perceive employee benefits as another cost or administrative burden to ‘comply’ with.

This isn’t the case

Retaining a talented workforce is crucial for business success. Frequent staff turnover can have a negative impact on employee morale, productivity and company revenue. Studies predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it can cost between six to 24 months of the salary — depending on the role.

While well-resourced corporates tend to hold the advantage over SMEs in offering better benefits, SMEs can tailor their benefits package to suit their means, giving them a competitive advantage. But, while the Monitor shows that SMEs acknowledge the value and role that employee benefits can play, this isn’t translating into action, as only 32% have retirement funding on their agenda.

Related: With the Right Incentives Loyal Customers Will Become Brand Advocates

There is a perception that the costs and administration outweigh the benefits — this is despite the various affordable solutions available that support businesses of all sizes, ranging from a five-man executive team business to a 100+ strong employee base.

A new generation of retirement fund models, such as Umbrella Funds (multi-employer retirement funds), have dramatically lowered the ‘burden’ to employers and decreased costs thanks to the economy of scale created by group participation.

To further support SMEs in delivering tangible benefits of retirement provision, professional employee benefit consultants are also available at a minimal fee to provide support, appropriate advice, education and communication tools.

When implementing an employee benefit structure, there are three aspects to consider:

1How the retirement provision will be funded

SME decision-makers need to consider whether the business will contribute toward employees’ savings fully, partially or only manage the administration thereof.

While the introduction of enabling retirement saving will ensure positive outcomes for staff, debt-burdened staff may struggle financially should they experience a dramatic decrease in take-home pay in favour of contributing to long-term retirement savings.

To avoid such an instance, decision-makers could consider using a percentage of their staff’s annual increase to fund retirement provision before they grow accustomed to an increase in salary. Other options that have often worked for a mixed workforce (blue- and white-collar workers), is a ‘like-for-like’ funding model where the employer matches the contribution made by the employee.

Related: 3 Ways Workplace Gamification Can Backfire – And How To Avoid Them

2Levels of flexibility required by staff and associated costs

By limiting choices available to low-income employees (who tend to rely on their employer to make responsible financial decisions on their behalf), administrative costs can be reduced, passing on more value to employees.

White-collar workers, however, generally want more flexibility and control over their investments. A good retention strategy for companies employing highly skilled workers is to offer staff some control over their contribution level, investment choice and risk benefits.

Another option, often implemented in a mixed workplace, is purchasing advanced payroll software that allows staff to individually tailor their contribution level. The initial costs associated with this offering can offset the degree of flexibility required to encourage positive relations with all profiles of employees.

3Are your staff investment-savvy and what level of support is required?

White-collar workers tend to have greater levels of formal education and are in a better position to take responsibility for their own retirement provisions. Often highly digitally connected, these employees have sufficient access to information required to make good decisions. However, when needing assistance, they generally demand immediate individual attention.

Blue-collar employees generally display higher rates of consumer vulnerability. With limited access to the Internet, they rely on the fiduciary duty of trustees and decision-makers to make good decisions on their behalf.

Related: 10 Traits Of Managers Whose Teams Are Happy To Come To Work

In a workplace with both white- and blue-collar workers, hands-on seminars and workshops should be facilitated by trained employee benefit consultants to bridge the gap in education and financial confidence.

When making these decisions, it can be beneficial to seek expert advice. Employee benefit consultants can assist in advising on the best structure for a specific business or workforce — one which not only delivers positive retirement outcomes for its staff, but also delivers on long-term strategic goals for their business.

Old Mutual is a Licensed Financial Services Provider.

Old Mutual offers investment products, life and disability cover, funeral plans, short term insurance, financial advice and loans. We also offer business-to-business solutions such as asset management, employee benefits and insurance for your business.

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Business Landscape

The New Rules Of Customer Experience

Intelligent Experience Economy will change the rules of customer experience.

PwC

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Our report identifies five rules organisations can follow to reimagine the customer experience in the ‘Intelligent Experience Economy’. These rules are the action that organisations need to take if they want to be successful in this new era:

1. Make the customer journey your new chain

Most executives understand the importance of CX and have some form of customer strategy to address it. However, the ‘Intelligent Experience Economy’ calls for significant action. Organisations will need to develop an enterprise-wide customer journey. Creating a common language and taxonomy around the customer that is universally adopted will spur CX transformation at scale and embed the customer in the core of the organisational culture.

Related: Why Customers Don’t Respond To Disruption

2. Embed AI in the Customer Experience

Our research confirms that businesses understand the critical and still growing importance of ‘big data’ and analytics. However, having an analytics function. AI will be the dominant capability enabling companies to reimagine the CX in the ‘Intelligent Experience Economy’. Embedding AI in the CX is a great opportunity for organisations. It can enable easier communication with customers, speed up transaction times, personalise customer experiences and significantly reduce customer service costs. Furthermore, organisations that have embedded AI will have unique access to customer data.

3. Connect Customer Experience to real value

Customer metrics are now commonplace in businesses. Although the metric is important, too many businesses see it as the end point instead of the starting point. CCOs assessing their CX transformation efforts must take into account how mature their organisation’s CX measurement maturity is.

For many, CX measurement is still immature – actively listening to customers and collecting feedback, but not taking action with CX initiatives. Organisations should develop real-time customer metrics.

4. Let the COO drive Customer Experience Change

The role of the COO needs to evolve if organisations are to execute on their ambitious goals for their CX visions in the next few years. The role of the COO will need to shift from ‘measuring the CX’ to being directive on the priorities to drive CX change. In order to be more directive, end-to-end capabilities will be needed within the organisations, framed around journey stages.

Related: Why Your Latest Tech Investment Might Not Be Wowing Your Customers

5. Ignite the core

To create real CX transformation – the COO cannot be successful alone. The challenge is about ‘igniting the core’ around CX. To ‘ignite the core’ organisations need to spread the CX vision with all leaders, managers, frontline employees and back office employees alike. Furthermore, organisations will have to establish partnerships across the value chain – including UX/CX experts, data analysis, AI architects, app developers, as well as project delivery partners.

How can organisations execute the customer experience?

In order to be a leading customer experience organisation, companies will need to execute the customer experience at scale across the organisation. Customer strategy execution is transformational in nature and requires new capabilities, new ways of working and an entire organisation to be fully behind the new vision.

 

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Company Posts

How To Immigrate With Your Family By Starting A Business In The UK

The simple way to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true in the UK.

Sable International

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Many people, especially those with families, are reluctant to up sticks and move to the UK. These would-be movers are often worried that they will not be able to secure employment in the hugely competitive UK job market. This source of stress alone is enough to discourage some from pursuing their dreams of living in the UK. But, there is an innovative and accessible solution.

The UK has several visa classes aimed at individuals who wish to invest in the country. These give an individual the right to live and work in the UK with their families, if they make a defined investment. A visa that interests South Africans is the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa. We have developed our UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Investment Programme to help South Africans looking to immigrate to the UK alone, or with their families.

The basics of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa

To be awarded a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, you will need to invest at least R3,5 million (£200,000) in an existing UK business or one you start up. There are certain other requirements, but these are not particularly onerous, and most investors will qualify if they submit their application correctly.

The entrepreneur visa allows you to live and work in the UK, and take dependant family members with you, defined as your partner and your child under 18. If you have the capital, or are willing to liquidate your assets in South Africa to raise it, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is a great way to relocate your entire family to the UK.

Do note: You will need to make specific applications for each dependant, so it is vital you consult with an immigration expert before beginning the application process.

You’re not just immigrating, you’re investing in the UK

By starting or investing in a UK business as part of our programme, you will be granted the right to live and work in the UK, and earn an income from that business.

Related: Want To Start An Import Business – Here Are The Importing Terms And Documents Involved

The business you invest in will want you to play an active role, not just contribute seed capital. If you want to invest in a business without being an active director you will be allowed to do so, but you may not be eligible for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

Another restriction is that you cannot hold this visa and work for a business other than the one you are invested in. But, your partner will be allowed to work in whatever field he or she pleases.

How do you choose the right business to invest in?

There is always an element of risk when investing in a foreign business, particularly when you’re thirteen thousand kilometres away from the country you’re investing in. It’s important to understand exactly what you’re investing in before you take the plunge.

That’s why our UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Investment Programme is hugely beneficial. It matches your investment capital with a pre-approved investee business. We’ll make sure that your skills are matched with an appropriate venture so you can be an active director of that business.

We’ll also handle your visa applications, providing you with a comprehensive immigration and investment solution. Our partner’s list of investee businesses is over 200 strong, giving you an array of choices in various industries. This allows us to pair you with the business that best suits your investment goals and skills.

But what if you have a successful business in South Africa?

It’s no secret — emigrating from South Africa is difficult for many families who have deep roots and thriving operations. There’s no reason why you can’t keep your business in South Africa as well as relocate to the UK.

Nothing restricts a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa holder from owning and overseeing businesses in other countries while they are on this visa. Many clients choose to relocate to the UK while ensuring that their original business continues to operate. In this way, you will be supplementing the income from your UK investment with revenue generated by your South African business.

You can hold British and South African passports if you apply for your British citizenship in the correct manner. You must obtain permission from Home Affairs in South Africa to avoid having your citizenship revoked. Retaining your South African citizenship will make it much easier for you to continue running a business here.

Talk to us today

There are compelling reasons to move to the UK — a brighter future for your children and a more stable country in which to retire. Our comprehensive solution will ensure you get the most out of your relocation.

Visit www.sableinternational.com/entrepreneur or send us a mail on ukinvest@sableinternational.com 

If you’re thinking of immigrating to the UK or investing offshore — either or both — we can help.

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(Video) TomTom Telematics – Let’s Drive Business (UK)

TomTom Telematics

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WEBFLEET provides you with the right information at the right time to make smart decisions and achieve your goals: Lowering cost, reducing time on the road, supporting drivers and delighting customers. Running a business can be hard. So let’s make it easier. Request a demo and find out more at telematics.tomtom.com/webfleet/landingpages/launching-the-new-webfleet.

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