‘Poor workplace culture’ is costing SMEs thousands of pounds, study suggests

UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are losing thousands of pounds in potential output due to poor workplace culture, a new study suggests.

According to research from high street bank NatWest, 69 per cent of SME bosses and decision-makers understand that achieving good productivity is crucial in order for their business to maximise its profits and grow.

However, it reveals that only a quarter (26 per cent) have taken active steps to improve workplace culture by introducing financial or non-financial rewards for good performance, such as bonuses, commissions or ‘prizes’.

Meanwhile, less than a third (32 per cent) have implemented team-building exercises, buddy schemes or mentorship into their day-to-day workplace activities, despite separate research indicating that these can all greatly improve productivity.

NatWest’s research estimates that good investment in workplace culture can improve the output of each employee by an average of £55,000 per year.

It adds that investing in benefits packages can improve output-per-worker by £40,500 while introducing rewards schemes can boost it by £19,200.

Alison Rose, of NatWest Commercial and Private Banking, said: “From talking to thousands of our business customers every year, we know that many small to mid-sized businesses struggle to understand how best to improve productivity.

“It’s crucial that banks, Government and business leaders tackle this problem head-on and start putting measures to improve productivity into practice.”