Over half of small and medium-sized enterprises struggle to recruit talent and two in five have issues retaining employees, according to new research from Signify, formerly Philips Lighting. The findings show that employers are potentially missing a trick as over half of the employees surveyed said they’d be in favor of their company investing in connected tech, specifically smart lighting, ahead of other improvements.
“High workplace satisfaction influences engagement and the reputation of a business as a great place to work. So it’s no surprise that SMEs are looking into connected tech options to enhance engagement,” said Bianca van der Zande, Research Scientist at Signify.
“Nowadays with new technologies including LED and IoT, lighting can be a powerful influencer in the workplace. It has a big impact on how people can control lighting.
"With about half of the surveyed employees being in favor of having smart lighting installed, this could be an excellent way for SMEs to make the workplace more appealing to current and potential employees. We want to see this reflected in our working environments where connected tech is an important way to appeal to the best and brightest.”
When it comes to connected technology usage among SMEs, nearly one in five (17%) already use it in some form in their business, and just under a third (29%) are interested in doing so in the future.
SMEs in the US were more likely to cite employee retention as an issue their business faces than those in the UK, 45% versus 35% respectively. Also, those in the US appear to have more trouble motivating their employees, with two in five (40%) saying employee motivation is a problem, compared with less than a third in the UK (28%).
Dr Craig Knight, Chartered Psychologist, Honorary Research Fellow (Exon), Director of Identity Realization, agreed on the importance of lighting at work, saying: “Light can have astonishing effects within the workplace. It has been shown to be at once invigorating, calming and sculptural (think theatre style lighting). Yet too many businesses pay scant attention to light, offering cheap rather than effective solutions. Science suggests that poor lighting strategies put wellbeing, happiness and productivity in jeopardy.”
The benefits of smart lighting could go beyond improved employee wellbeing and engagement. Of the SMEs that have areas that customers or clients visit, over a third (36%) thought that smart lighting would improve the customer or client experience.
Employees are even more positive about the effects though, with more than three in five (61%) believing that smart lighting would give customers and clients a more favorable opinion of a business.
Earlier this month Signify launched Interact Pro, a smart lighting system and software specially developed for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).