HR & Management

Nearly a third of UK workers in small businesses don't know the names of their colleagues

3 min read

13 May 2015

New research from gift provider intotheblue.co.uk has found that 32 per cent of employees don't remember all of their co-workers names.

It’s not surprising to think it’d be tricky, if not near impossible, to remember all the names of your colleagues if you worked in a huge corporation. It may be a little more unexpected to see that those in smaller companies aren’t faring much better, according to intotheblue’s study.

It asked 2,846 adults, who had all worked in a small company (less than 20 members of staff), for the past 12 months. Some 68 per cent can hold their heads high, with the confident assertion that they did indeed know all the names of their colleagues. For the remaining 32 per cent, the survey asked why it was they didn’t know.

The majority – 36 per cent, said they hadn’t actually been introduced to all staff members, which is a useful reminder for HR when taking on new joiners. 

Workers can’t place all the blame elsewhere, however – 28 per cent admitted they had forgotten the names. Despite working in a small company, a fifth said they worked in a different department to those whose name they didn’t know.

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Fear not, forgetful workers – there are suggestions to rectify this unfortunate situation. The survey’s respondents were encouraged to think what would help them to learn everyone’s names. A solid 47 per cent said regular team meetings would be useful, while 37 per cent thought socialising and team night outs were the way to go. In a similar vein, team building events were supported by 35 per cent of workers and a quarter thought company charity work would be a useful initiative.

Jim Maitland, managing director of intotheblue, said: “It’s rather surprising that those who work in such small companies do not know the names of all of their companies.” He added that team building days could be a useful way for businesses to address such problems. “We know from experience that, regardless of the type of event, these can prove to be so useful for smaller activities,” he added. 

“They offer employees a day away to solve problems together or generally just have fun, which are both important aspects of working in a small close-knit team.”

The most popular baby names of 2014 was recently published by the US government’s official Social Security website, revealing that Noah and Emma were the top picks for boys and girls. Another option to combat forgetfulness could be to rename everyone at work one of those two names – it may be a sure-fire way to total confusion, but at least no names would be forgotten.

Image: Shutterstock