SMEs Come Out On Top Of Employee Development Study

Small Firms Rank Highly For Development Opportunities


Small businesses are well-placed to lead the way when it comes to inspiring and developing their employees, according to a new report from the UK Commission for Employment Skills (UKCES).

The report, Growth Through People: Evidence and Analysis, placed SME directors into one of seven categories according to their company's performance in planning, organisation, skills, rewards and autonomy.

Factors such as bonus schemes, performance-related pay, flexible working, variety of tasks and identification of talent were considered when ranking directors.

Nearly a quarter of SME directors were classed as "organisers" and "developers", the top two categories – making SMEs the highest-scoring type of business overall.

However, the research also revealed a large gap between the best- and worst-performing SMEs. One-third were identified as giving very little autonomy to employees, and the lowest-performing SMEs tended to be in the retail and wholesale sectors.

"This research shows big differences in the ways businesses of all sizes make use of the skills of their staff," said Lesley Giles, deputy director at UKCES.

"These findings do raise concerns over the gulf between those nurturing and developing their staff to boost productivity, and those that aren't."

Expert Opinion
Research of this nature demonstrates that while small businesses are vital to the economy, they also play an important role in developing the top talent of the future.

"SMEs of course have less resources than larger competitors, which is why it is important they have the right talent at their disposal which will help them to grow. As such, they need to seek advice and support on recruitment and HR to ensure not only that they get the right staff in, but also then are able to nurture their abilities.

"Smaller firms should speak to legal advisors to ensure they have the correct policies for their workforce."
Fergal Dowling, Partner