Staff development in SME’s

Do any of these small business HR challenges sound familiar to you?
  • Too busy recruiting to be strategic
  • Quality of induction varies on how much time you have (usually not much!)
  • No tools to analyse staff development so training is ad hoc or there is no budget so it is non-existent
  • Managers have had little or no training in people management

If any of these challenges apply, these 3 steps will help free up time. What’s more, we could help you to achieve these by upskilling your managers.

Step 1: Induct people well and ensure they understand how they fit now and in future

The quality of your staff induction can have a direct impact on your staff turnover. Yet ironically, particularly in fast-growing companies, the money is put towards recruitment rather than onboarding which can be hit and miss.

One client of ours, a fast-growing international business, has recruited 20% of their workforce over the previous 12 months. As the HRD’s heads spin recruitment virtually non-stop. This then leads to neglect where onboarding is concerned, resulting in above-average attrition rates,

It is proven that an individual’s first weeks in an organisation correlates directly with how long they stay. This means that managers need to take responsibility for this by introducing them to key stakeholders, giving them clarity of role, and offering support and guidance.

Step 2: Help people realise how much they are developing – on the job

When we work with small businesses they often take the view that it is a waste of time talking about development or career aspirations. This is because they just don’t think they are big enough to provide a career path. However, we believe that the opportunities for staff development within an SME can often be far greater than in a large company.

If you think about it – in a large company, you may be responsible for marketing or a specific part of marketing, even just managing the company Twitter feed. That could be all you do, day in day out. Yes, you become an expert – but how much breadth of knowledge do you have to take forward?

In an SME, the same role could include social media, content development, campaigns, PR, brand messaging and even sales. If you have someone who can succeed in all these areas their options both within and outside your business are huge. Of course, the impact of losing a key member of staff in a small business is all the greater as is the cost of replacement in time and money – so it is essential that you know the secret to manage them well.

Step 3: Talk to them about where they want to go – be delighted if they want your job!

Talk to people about their career aspirations, don’t be threatened, be delighted if they want your job as this means you can develop them to take on your responsibilities, freeing you up to further grow the business and develop your own career.

Career development and talent management aren’t just about the next job – it is about helping people to realise that they are developing their skills, taking on new challenges and moving forward. In a Small Business, you can sometimes create a role to fit someone’s skills or aspirations and make it work for both parties.

The mistake to avoid is not talking about the future at all because you are scared you can’t give the individual the job or money that they want tomorrow. 80% of the value here is actually having the conversation and getting underneath what makes someone tick. What you actually need to do is understand the motivators for a key member of staff (don’t assume you know as they may change!) e.g. Flexibility, Recognition or Challenge and consider how you can meet them. When you consider drivers like this, any sized business can meet them if they want to.

If you are a small business and are looking for more guidance then why not get in touch? Actus Software offers performance appraisal software packages for SME’s.

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