SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) face constant challenges so what does 2016 hold for them?
1 EU – are we leaving?
If we do decide to leave the EU in June 2016 it will have a huge impact on all SMEs.
For example, many SMEs rely on the free movement of EU workers. Whilst it’s impossible to know what will change if we exit the EU, it is likely to be more difficult to employ EU workers.
From a HR perspective many UK employment rights stem from EU law (for example Working Time) and leaving the EU will inevitably mean changes. Whilst it is too early to predict exactly what will happen, (and hopefully changes will be implemented in stages), SMEs will need to brace themselves and aim to achieve organisational resilience in readiness.
Aside from whether we are remain in the EU, SMEs also still face a fluctuating UK economy and increasing demands on their money. For example, whilst there is no doubt about the benefits of the new National Living Wage for over 25s it is important to remember that businesses now have to find the money to meet those payments.
In addition to the increase in the National Minimum Wage, many SMEs are also due to commence their auto enrolment into a pension scheme throughout 2016 and 2017.
3 Stress in the workplace
HSE (The Health and Safety Executive) continue to target stress in the workplace as a major issue for SMEs stating the fact that in 2014/15 “stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health”.
Managing stress means having a robust stress at work policy in place, accompanied by relevant guidance and training, so that employees know and understand the factors that cause stress at work and are quickly able to start the process of getting help.
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