Recognise contributions of SME workers to retain staff: report

DATA from Sodexo Engage’s inaugural SME guide reveals more than half of SME employees would rather work at a big corporation.

The finding perhaps illustrates why 75 percent of SMEs saw a spike in resignations through Q4 last year. The survey canvassed over 1,000 SME employers and employees on HR trends including reward and recognition, engagement, and future of work.

The Great Resignation looks set to continue, as almost a third of employees said they plan on leaving their current role this year.

Those who admitted they would rather work at a large corporation ranked the biggest attractions as perks (41 percent), better job role (40 percent) and more scope for progression (38 percent).

Meanwhile, lack of flexibility (45 percent), lower salary (43 percent) and risk factor are the main turn-offs of working at an SME.

This poses a challenge for leaders who have small budgets. To retain staff, employers should play to their strengths and focus on company culture.

Of the 30 percent of employees who prefer working at an SME, 42 percent said it was because of the “family feel” smaller companies yield. Other retaining factors include better work-life balance (42 percent) and better company values (36 percent).

A full 91 percent of employees agree they would feel “more recognised” at an SME than at a big corporation.

SME employers cite motivation (43 percent) and productivity (42 percent) as the two leading employee challenges. Regular recognition reassures individuals that their efforts are not going unnoticed and inspires them to continue working to a high standard.

Recognition is a cost-effective tool for acknowledging good work, with 74 percent of employees saying they would be more inclined to stay in their role if they were rewarded on a more regular basis.

Jamie Mackenzie, director at Sodexo Engage, says SMEs need to reassess their retention methods.

“While SMEs may not be in the position to compete (with corporations) financially, they have plenty of strengths to play to. Building on company culture, that places recognition at its heart, can improve employee experience, and boost employee retention.”