Poor Staff Motivation Harming SMEs

Problem Affecting Small Businesses Across The UK, According To A New Study From Bupa

04.04.2014

Poor motivation at businesses across the UK is harming competitiveness in the private sector according to a new study from Bupa.

A quarter of all staff at small businesses admit they do not try and win new contracts at their job because it will result in more work for them that might cause them to have to stay late after work, reports the Telegraph.

Similarly, nearly two in five confess that they daydream and waste time because they are very disengaged in their current role, while the same number said they have taken a day off sick because they could not be bothered to go to work.

Richard Norris, SME director at Bupa, said: "Small business leaders will be shocked to hear that motivation is so lacking in their workplaces. Making meaningful changes to culture, recognition and benefits on offer - making employees feel valued and rewarded - can have a big impact."

However, the reason for this fall in motivation isn't just down to poor working cultures and office management.

Bupa claims that a third of staff that took time off last year did so because of stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health problems - sometimes because of heavy workloads and deadlines.

"To make the most of economic opportunities, they must take steps now to motivate staff so that they are mentally healthy," Mr Norris said.

This is not the first time poor motivation has been highlighted as a causal factor in poor productivity in the UK economy.

A study from the People 1st Training Company and ICM recently revealed that 48 percent of employees at British businesses do not believe their manager does enough to motivate them in the workplace.

Further to this, 36 per cent claim their supervisors don't give clear enough instructions to make their day-to-day role as easy as possible, leading 23 per cent of employees to dislike their manager on a personal level.

Expert Opinion
While having an engaged workforce is vital for all businesses, it is particularly important for SMEs which may be heavily reliant on a relatively smaller workforce to ensure operations are running smoothly. Proper HR policies and staff benefits are vital to ensuring that employees not only feel valued but are also rewarded for innovation which helps to push an organisation forward.

"Employers also cannot afford to ignore the issue of their staff’s physical and mental health, and should have proper sickness policies in place to not only handle such issues but ensure that staff get the necessary support to help them through such difficulties.

"Small businesses are key to driving forward growth in the economy, but they can only take such steps if their own operations are fit for purpose. SMEs should seek legal advice on ensuring their HR systems are structured to ensure workers always engaged and motivated."
Fergal Dowling, Partner