Free-Rider or Plodder?
A recent study by the UK Commission for Employment Skills (UKCES) has revealed that almost 25% of small and medium-sized businesses are maximising the talents of their staff talent to boost productivity but for those who do not, a significant gap exists.
The study, Growth through People: Evidence and Analysis, categorises employers with between 5 and 99 staff into seven different groups based on the adoption of five elements of ‘high performance working:
- Free riders
The report took into account interviews with 90,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), found that 24 per cent of SMEs fell into the top two categories of ‘organisers’ and ‘developers’.
With 13 million people in the UK employed by SMEs, nearly 4 million currently work for ‘organisers’ or ‘developers’ demonstrating between average and exemplary planning and organisational ability and which are likely to train and reward employees.
Factors reviewed included providing a bonus scheme and performance-related pay, task variety and flexible working, annual performance reviews and identifying talent.
The report was not all good news however. UKCES estimate that almost 9 million people employed within SMEs fare less well.
Employers classed as ‘free riders’ –offering low levels of autonomy to their workforce – are employing nearly 3 million staff. A further one in ten (8 per cent) of SME employees are thought to be working for ‘plodders’ – companies which underperform on the five attributes identified as creating a high performance workplace.
The report also found that SME employers classed as ‘plodders’ were typically found in wholesale and retail sectors, ‘organisers’ were most common in the public and utilities sector, and ‘developers’ were mostly found in the financial services, real estate and storage and communications sectors.
Annie Lindsay, managing director of Tickety Boo Training commented:
“These are interesting results. We work with businesses every day in all of these sectors and amongst them we see a strong commitment to developing their teams and, as a result, their businesses.
“Smaller employers have the advantage in that the employer knows their team, meaning they can see where help is needed most and encourage individuals to take on additional responsibilities. There’s no doubt in my mind that those businesses who develop their people, also develop their business.”