Many SME’s are really on top employee wellbeing and embrace the lower staff numbers and family atmosphere to make sure that everyone is happy and healthy.
For some though, it might seem that having a robust employee wellbeing strategy in place is a luxury that they can’t afford. However, the impact of sick leave, staff turnover and work place stress can have a more significant impact in SME’s than in larger organisation.
In SME’s, employees are more likely to perform multiple or flexible roles which means when one person is off sick, it can seem like three people are off! And when an employee leaves the organisation, it may be much harder to find and recruit a replacement who possesses the mix of different skills needed.
In the context of an SME, it’s much more likely that sick leave or staff turnover will impact negatively on other employees as well as clients or customers (see ‘20 negative impacts of sickness absence on your organisation’).
If you would like to find out more, download my free eBook ‘A practical guide to employee wellbeing’
So what are the challenges?
The idea of a fully- fledged Employee Wellbeing Strategy might sound too expensive and grand for an SME. However it is more than viable, if you think creatively. Whilst it is necessary to take employee wellbeing seriously, it’s important to acknowledge that the approach will probably take a different form to that of a larger organisation.
Here are a few examples of how employee wellbeing in an SME differs from a large organisation:
- In a smaller company it’s more difficult to get accurate data. You may not have a large enough sample to detect patterns
- In a smaller business, people may be less likely to be forthcoming with problems since it’s much harder to protect anonymity.
- The impact of sickness absence is disproportionately higher in an SME than in a large organisation
- The impact of someone leaving the organisation is disproportionately higher in an SME than in a large organisation
- Employee wellbeing measures may not be as cost effective e.g. an insufficient number of employees to warrant in-house training
What are the options?
If you think your business is too small to warrant an Employee Wellbeing Strategy there are several things you can do:
1. Download the ebook ‘A Practical Guide to Employee Wellbeing’ and just DIY!
2. If it’s not appropriate to employ a dedicated person full-time, then bring in some outside help to get you up and running. It might cost less than you think. The initial stage will involve analysing the business case for implementing an Employee Wellbeing Strategy. Once you have got an idea of how investing in employee wellbeing could impact on your bottom line, you will be acting from a position of knowledge rather than a position of ‘not knowing’.
3. Think outside the box. Consider joining together with other similar businesses and form an employee wellbeing network. It makes sense to develop a joint strategy across a number of small businesses. See below if this sounds like an interesting solution.
How does an employee wellbeing network work?
Here’s how it works:
- Join together with other local businesses or through an existing umbrella network, association or membership body
- Run a joint survey to detect prevailing issues across the whole group of businesses
- Set up a training group so that the costs of training can be shared. This will also offer greater flexibility with dates and access to a wider range of training
- Share the costs of awareness-raising resources
- Set up central support which anyone can access
- Set up a monthly newsletter
- Develop a cross- network Employee Wellbeing Strategy and share the costs (This doesn’t mean you need to share the costs of implementing the whole strategy – just identifying the broad measures. Different companies may have different requirements and different budgets and you can apportion the costs appropriately e.g. set up a particular training course and each individual company pays per person they have attending).
If you are an SME and would like to join an employee wellbeing network like this, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, letting me know your company size, geographical location(s), sector and any particular issues which you are facing.
Please share your examples in the comments section – how do you address employee wellbeing in an SME?
Saffron Grant specialises in improving business performance by improving employee wellbeing. If it is the right time, now, for your organisation to put a watertight Employee Wellbeing Strategy in place, email saffron@changegives to arrange a free 30 minute call. Or for an instant Employee Wellbeing Strategy quote click here.