• David Parker

Putting people first as an SME

Research by Glassdoor revealed that 77% of adults would consider a company's culture before applying for a job there, while 65% of millennials are more likely to place culture above salary.


To quote Richard Branson - “Take Care Of Your Employees And They'll Take Care Of Your Business”


Being a business owners comes with multiple responsibilities and as you grow this includes developing a team. Gone are the days of seeing employees as liabilities. Forward thinking small businesses are taking steps to ensure their people are their biggest asset.


The Breathe HR Culture Economy Report 2021 revealed areas of cultural development and business management where there is clear room for improvement in small businesses. The report for 2021 focused more on how employers have dealt with the pandemic and found:

  • Toxic workplace culture is costing the UK economy £20.2 billion per year

  • 9 in 10 SMEs maintained productivity levels despite remote working

  • 32% of SME employees say staying motivated and productive over the next 12 months will be their biggest challenge

  • Only half of employees are satisfied with their employer’s efforts in maintaining positive remote culture during the pandemic

  • Almost a third (27%) of employees quit due to company culture

  • Only 25% of employees say mental health support was offered throughout 2020

But this doesn't have to be the case. UK businesses can actively prevent this dent in the bank by learning about how (and why) company culture should be an integral part of their business strategy.


Breathe HR launched the Breathe Culture Pledge - for small business owners to promise to put people first, invest in their success, super charge employee engagement and ultimately drive their business forward.


Purple Accounts signed up to the pledge in June 2021 and have made the commitment to join other SMEs in developing their culture and people development. Having a business culture isn't a shiny "additional extra". It's absolutely essential for any SME that wants to grow and isn't just for corporate organisations.


What is the Breathe Culture Pledge?

The Breathe Culture Pledge was launched in 2018 and is 100% free to join.

This initiative was set up to not only promote the importance of company culture, but to give organisations the means to officially invest in their culture – regardless of their size to boost productivity, increase employee engagement and drive their business forward.

Over 500 UK businesses have put their people first by joining the Pledge.


How will joining the Culture Pledge benefit my business?

Super-charge employee performance

If you make a conscious effort to put your people first and invest in your culture, employees will feel like they mean something to your business – which goes hand in hand with increased morale.

With employees feeling more motivated, you’ll reap the rewards; happy workers equate to a boost in performance levels and a team that runs like clockwork.

In fact, research by the University of Warwick shows that happy workers are 12% more productive than the average worker.


Earn valuable trust

Trust is a difficult one to nail, but get it right and it’ll serve you well.

A lot of employees may initially presume that, as a business owner, you only have the interests of your company at the forefront of your mind. When, actually, they couldn't be further from the truth.

Joining the Pledge helps you be transparent with your people and shows them that they're a valuable and integral part of your business. You'll be rewarded with engaged employees who trust you as a leader, remain loyal to the business and drive results.


Boost your finances

If employees are feeling content in their roles and retention levels are at an all-time high, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the wad of cash you’ll be saving due to the drop in your recruitment needs.

You'll be saving on agency fees and you’ll be able to focus your time on other important things - including your people.

Needless to say, your business growth will benefit too. Companies with happy employees out-perform their competition by a mind-blowing 20% and bring in 1.2-1.7% more revenue than their peer businesses. (Breathe HR)

Create employee ambassadors

Employees who feel invested in and looked after by the company they work for will want to shout about it if the opportunity arises.

And, because people are typically more likely to trust recommendations from people they know, rather than everyday marketing ads, you could have some high-quality leads coming your way as a result.

Employees who promote a brand to their network are known as brand ambassadors. At one time, brand ambassadors were restricted to founders of businesses and other high-flying positions, however the recent rise of social media has made it possible for employees to spread the word, too.

Attract the best talent - and keep them

The pay-check is no longer the main factor that the average employee considers when looking at a job vacancy. They now typically spend more time looking into the progression opportunities available to them, as well as employee benefits and the company culture the business has adopted.

If you’re wanting to get the best talent through the door, you’ll need to make sure what you have to offer is appealing. And proving that you’re invested in your culture by pledging to put your people first is definitely something worth shouting about in a job spec.

Pledge today in a few clicks - for free - and join a community of over 500 like-minded businesses who have actively invested in their company culture.