SMEs Require Cultural Shift To Attract And Retain Talent

27 Nov 2018 | 11.44 am

SMEs Require Cultural Shift To Attract And Retain Talent

Vodafone Smart Business Spotlight

27 Nov 2018 | 11.44 am

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A new report published by Vodafone, The Future of Business in Ireland: A Conversation with SMEs, reveals that the majority of SME employees are in favour of Smart Working but few employers are embracing it. Regina Moran (pictured), Enterprise Director in Vodafone Ireland, explains why the sentiment of this new research offers SME employers extremely valuable insights into the future of the workplace in Ireland.

 

What is this new report?

Our small-to-medium enterprise sector is the backbone of Irish society. Not only does it comprise more than 95% of Ireland’s business economy, it generates 56% of its total turnover. It also provides 70% of all jobs in the non-financial business economy.

This industry-led report is part of a new series of research and engagement exercises by Vodafone Ireland called Open Conversations. The research explores businesses future growth, ways of working, use of tech, and skills and training. Vodafone Ireland wants to start this discussion so we can help businesses realise their connected ambition and understand the sector in order to serve it better. You can read the full report on our website, vodafone.ie/business

What are the main findings?

This new research – with nearly 600 SME employers, employees and industry representatives – shows strong confidence among Irish SMEs about future growth, but also the need for a significant cultural shift to attract and retain talent.

Smart working, the combined use of technology with flexibility for employees to work agile, is one theme we investigated. Interestingly, only 9% of business owners are fully embracing it though 77% of SMEs are in favour of it. Among jobseekers, 50% cite smart working as a top priority when looking for a new job.

Work pressures, commuting and making time for friends and family all take their toll, so it’s not surprising that more and more people are looking for more flexibility and agility in their role. This report explores the untapped potential of smart working in helping SMEs attract and retain talent at a time of 6% unemployment. Smart working has many benefits, including keeping employees engaged and productive, fostering a culture of innovation, and staying ahead of competitors. The adoption of smart working by SMEs is also an opportunity for us to be leaders in this space and proactively overcome challenges like long commutes, high rents and the urban/rural divide.

What are the main barriers to remote working?

Some employers have an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude to people working remotely. Their worry is that transitioning from a situation where staff are easily observable to one where they are not will result in a drop in productivity. In direct contradiction to this belief, Abodoo.com – the smart working careers platform – has found that businesses that engage in smart working can expect to benefit by a 15% productivity uplift, as well as a 40% improvement in their staff attrition rate. It also puts the amount of euros saved per employee per annum by those companies that facilitate smart working at €9,500.*

Despite smart working being in high demand, company culture was found to be the biggest barrier to embracing it. However, experts believe it is a serious mistake to underestimate the importance of the generational shift that is taking place as younger people age into the workforce and take up management positions. It turns out there can be significant differences in terms of expectations between employers and their employees when it comes to smart working.

While not every business is equally positioned to facilitate remote working, for many there are at least aspects of the employee role that can be streamlined, made less stressful and in turn more productive through the application of smart working principles.

• Speak with a Vodafone Smart Business Expert at 1800 855 696

 

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