British small businesses unprepared for increased HR demands since COVID

New research from HR and people management platform Employment Hero shows a worrying lack of support for staff by UK small and medium sized businesses since COVID.

In a survey of 1,500 SME staff nationwide, more than 31% of respondents said they had not received adequate support from their employers since COVID-19. The HR function, in smaller organisations in particular, have been put under increased pressure due to the quick changes ignited by the virus. 

This is reflected in the responses from employees of which more than half (51.2%) reported little or no contact from their employers with regards to mental health and home-based health & safety, while 46.5% of British SME staff got no support on motivation and even less (55%) for financial guidance. 

Furloughed staff in particular expressed their dissatisfaction, 50% said they had not had any support from HR teams during COVID. Over two-fifths (43%) of furloughed staff also stated that they were pessimistic about receiving adequate HR support in the future.

Employees were also not hopeful to receive adequate support in the future, with almost a third 30% revealing that they did not expect their HR to be equipped for their future personal requirements.

SMEs are facing a significant challenge as HR resources are under pressure due to the pandemic and have an expanded remit for employee care.

More people have experienced poor mental health due to COVID-19, lockdown and isolation which has impacted motivation at work. The mental health charity, Mind, have found that more than half of adults (60%) and over two thirds of young people (68%) said their mental health got worse during lockdown.[1]

Ben Thompson, CEO and co-founder of Employment Hero, said:

“This year has presented unique challenges for many SMEs. However, employers still have a duty of care to staff. The wellbeing of British workers can’t be overlooked by businesses in this difficult environment of job security concerns and isolation. As well as a need to prioritise employees’ mental health, 2020 has illuminated the need for a remote-first work future. The right cloud technology can empower small businesses to future-proof their HR processes and provide better support to their home working staff. This can transform the entire employee experience for your team, the biggest stakeholders in your company.”

COVID-19 has also changed the expectations of staff with more desire for remote and flexible working. Earlier in the year, Employment Hero also conducted a Remote Work Survey and found that 92 percent of employees would continue to work from home regularly if given the opportunity.  In the recent ‘Future Forum’ research from Slack, only 12% of respondents wanted to return to the full-time office and a huge 72% wanted a hybrid remote-office model moving forward.[2]

Author: Editorial Team

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