Microbusiness staff are the most engaged

Alignment trends downward as SMEs grow 

The UK’s smallest businesses boast the most committed staff, according to new research* from card machine provider Paymentsense. The study of 1,000 SME UK workers found that almost half (47 per cent) of respondents in firms of 10 or less people often work unpaid overtime because they want the business to do well. 

This figure drops to under a third (30 per cent) for employees working in firms of 11-50 employees, and then dips to around a fifth for those in companies of 51-100 (22 per cent) and 101-250 (21 per cent). 

The research also revealed that, perhaps as a result, interventions from management increased as small businesses grow.

Almost a third (32 per cent) of respondents in companies of above 50 people listed pressure from managers as the main reason they work overtime, compared with a quarter (25 per cent) for those in companies of up to 10 staff.

Similarly, unexpected overtime caused by last-minute management requests was reported by 41 per cent of respondents in businesses of 101-250 people. This dropped to 34 per cent amongst those employed in firms of up to 10 people.

Clare Dimond, a leading business coach and author of ‘Free Choice’ said: “Achieving alignment between individual and organisational purpose is like adding a Formula One engine to a family car.

“When someone believes in and has passion for what they are doing, all their resources, ideas, energy and experience are available for that purpose. As the results of this study show, emphasising and nurturing alignment becomes especially important as a company grows,” continued Dimond. 

Guy Moreve, Head of Marketing at Paymentsense said: “It’s concerning that unwelcome interventions from management are cited more frequently by larger SMEs, especially in conjunction with downward trending alignment. This should serve as a reminder of the importance of keeping an eye on culture and atmosphere, as well as the balance sheet – especially if growth has been swift.

“The two factors clearly have a bearing on overall happiness, which SMEs can at least partly address through employee benefits. Research we conducted earlier this year found that staff perks were directly linked to general happiness, and finishing early on Fridays topped the list of desired benefits,” added Moreve.

* Commissioned research took place from July 4-5, 2017 amongst 1,000 UK SME employees.

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