Why should SMEs care about employee communication and engagement?

I often talk to business owners about why they decided to start their own businesses in the first place and more often than not the answer is a combination of a deep set belief in being able to do things a better way, the desire to get out of a big corporate environment and/or the opportunity to make more money.

In the past many business owners saw the provision of employee benefits and engagement the domain of big business but over the last 5-10 years the vast majority of successful and vibrant businesses have got there by putting employee wellbeing, benefits and engagement at the heart of their employment and remuneration practices.  But how and why has this been a successful strategy?

The UK is becoming an increasingly mobile and transient workforce and in order to attract and retain a quality workforce, companies can choose to pay higher salaries reducing their profitability, OR they aim to attract and retain staff by making the working environment more attractive.  

By attracting employees solely by the size of the paycheques on offer, companies fill their ranks with employees who are more likely to be constantly looking for better paid jobs elsewhere.

By making your employees the core of your business, demonstrating to them continually that you put their interests and work-life balance at the heart of your decision making process and including them in the company vision, you can build a more loyal and hard-working workforce who might also act as your biggest advocates.  

If asked who you would prefer to do business with, would it be an enthused, happy and motivated company representative or a clock watching employee who is probably looking around for a higher paid (but not necessarily better) job?  Most of us can tell or judge instantly which of the two categories of person they are speaking to.

I know which one would get my business!