Attracting the best talent as an SME

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Attracting the best talent as an SME

Do you sometimes have the feeling that big companies are grabbing all the talent because they offer attractive benefits such as staff restaurants, fitness studios and international careers? You as an SME also have much to offer. These tips will help you score even more points with your employees – and convince fresh talent of your strengths.
Young employees in a workshop

Your strengths: Trust and responsibility 

As a small or medium-sized company, you appeal to jobseekers who want to help shape things and who appreciate short official channels as well as flat hierarchies in an informal atmosphere. A current study by Zurich Insurance confirms what you have probably known for a long time: SMEs give top priority to the well-being of their employees. They attach great importance to guaranteeing consistency and reliability. At the same time, SMEs are often more agile than large companies, which are sometimes cumbersome.

You should consciously draw attention to these strengths – for instance in job advertisements or when conducting job interviews. You should also use your employees' potential, for instance with an innovation day or a strategy workshop. Such occasions not only bring you valuable insights, but also motivate your team. 

Work models: Stay flexible! 

Many SMEs already offer various options in matters of working time. Many of them even organize mobile working from home or when out and about. It is usually a case of enabling mothers to continue their careers when on family leave or retaining young up-and-coming talent while they are studying while being employed. However, flexwork holds even more opportunities. Many fathers would also like to have one day off a week to stay at home with the kids. Also, for older employees, flexible working can guarantee a soft transition into retirement. Perhaps you want to retain your most experienced employees even after they have reached retirement age? Maybe they would be fit and motivated enough to come to work for two or three days a week. Flexwork offers virtually endless possibilities: for your employees, but also for you as an employer. Discuss the options proactively with your employees and mention your flexibility in job advertisements and during job interviews. Many employees do not really dare to talk about their desire for flexibility. Therefore, they will appreciate it all the more if you approach them with your ideas. 

Pension fund: How about a little more?

Small and medium-sized companies often only offer the statutory minimum in their pension fund. Here too you can stand out from the crowd. Pay attention to interest earned, for example, when selecting your pension plan. Because, in this way, you and your employees will enjoy higher retirement benefits. Perhaps you can also insure a greater part of their salary than what is required by law or you can help your employees by voluntarily paying more than your half-share of the contributions to the pension plan. A further possibility is for you to insure above-average risk benefits in your pension planning model. In this way, you can ensure that your employees are well protected if fate should actually happen to strike a blow. You can also deduct the additional costs as business expenses. What is important is that you consciously communicate this to your employees and clearly mention the benefits when discussing salaries. A University of Oxford survey, commissioned by Zurich, also showed this: six in ten Swiss employees are prepared to accept a reduction in salary in return for good social benefits. You can find out more about this at

Six in ten Swiss employees are prepared to accept a reduction in salary in return for good social benefits.

Additional benefits: Be creative

Large companies attract talent with a comprehensive package of fringe benefits. You too, as an SME, can also strengthen motivation and loyalty with targeted measures. Help your employees maintain a healthy lifestyle with a fixed allowance for the local fitness studio or go on a Vitaparcours once a month with the whole team. Instead of a canteen you can negotiate special prices with the restaurants in your neighborhood, have fresh fruit delivered once a week or invest in a really good coffee maker. Perhaps your automobile dealer will also allow your employees to benefit from the fleet discount. When it comes to further training you can also achieve more than you may think. Invite some friendly colleagues in the sector from other regions to carry out an exchange. Pay a joint visit to a company that has nothing at all to do with your sector – and that may perhaps inspire you for this very reason. Or go out to lunch regularly with the team and polish up your skills in a foreign language at the same time. These are all small measures that reinforce the team spirit and help to make work more fun. For a happy team is a better team.

Industry comparison

Would you like to know how other companies in your sector are insured? We will show you which pension coverage competitors of a comparable size offer their employees using an industry sector comparison.

Find out more

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