HR · 4 September 2017

Half of micro business staff work unpaid overtime to see company succeed

Micro business owners
Almost half of micro business workers regularly worked unpaid overtime out of choice

The UK’s smallest companies have the most committed staff, according to new research that reveals a correlation between the size of a business and the dedication of its workforce.

After surveying 1,000 small business workers across the UK, card machine provider Paymentsense found that almost half of employees at micro firms with under ten staff regularly worked unpaid overtime because they wanted to the company to succeed.

The research also revealed that this trend declined as the size of the company grew. Fewer than a third of workers at firms with 11 to 50 employees were happy to work unpaid hours for their employer.

The picture was even worse for bosses at the largest companies. Of those employing up to 250 staff members, only a fifth of workers felt sufficiently invested in the business to work unpaid overtime, and were most likely to clock out as soon as their hours were up.

Just a quarter of staff of micro firms said pressure from their manager was the reason they worked unpaid overtime, compared to one in three at larger SMEs.

Communicaton and workflow also appeared smoother within the country’s micro businesses. Last-minute requests from management that led to unpaid overtime were more common at larger organisations.

For Britain’s micro business owners, the news that their staff are likely to be more committed than corporate rivals gives them an edge in a competitive labour market.

Reflecting on the evident passion of micro company staff, Clare Dimond, a leading business coach and author, said:  “Achieving alignment between individual and organisational purpose is like adding a Formula One engine to a family car.

She added: “When someone believes in and has passion for what they are doing, all their resources, ideas, energy and experience are available for that purpose. As the results of this study show, emphasising and nurturing alignment becomes especially important as a company grows,”

Meanwhile, Guy Moreve, head of marketing at Paymentsense, said it was vital employers keep an eye on “culture and atmosphere, as well as the balance sheet”.

He added: “Research we conducted earlier this year found that staff perks were directly linked to general happiness, and finishing early on Fridays topped the list of desired benefits.”

A separate study of 1,200 UK workers recently showed that micro business workers were the least likely to leave their jobs and most likely to take personal pride in their firm’s achievements.

Almost a fifth of the micro company staff surveyed said they planned to remain with their current employer for the rest of their working lives, while a third “loved” their jobs.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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