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Development should be embedded into SMEs says CIPD

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SMEs should focus on ensuring development is embedded within their organisations, according to a report from the CIPD and JP Morgan.

Recruiting and developing talented people for SME growth assessed 13 small- and medium-sized organisations before making recommendations on how they could improve. The case studies went on to adopt various strategies, for example allowing junior employees to shadow long-serving colleagues to ensure vital skills are passed on, and providing on-the-job training.

Other recommendations in the report include finding the right recruitment processes and developing management capability.

Former business minister Jo Swinson told HR magazine that it can be hard for small businesses to invest in their workforce. She said: "People are one of the best resources you have to drive your business forwards, and they should be managed with skill and care.”

Guy Nicholson, councillor and cabinet member for regeneration, said that his "great task" is to ensure that the success of small businesses in his ward of Hackney for example, stimulates wider economic growth.

He added: "Connecting with young people is important. But we must also connect with older people, who can become entrepreneurs [as well]."

Martin Ferguson, managing director of one of the report’s case study organisations MJF Facilities Management, reports that his company now has plans to take staff development a step further.

“We’d like to create some mock-up stations, real environment sort of stuff,” he said. “For example, to mock up situations we’ll encounter when we go in to clean a new build ready to hand over to the client; plaster all over the place, paint on the floors.”

Ferguson hopes to set up a training facility for his staff. “They’d get a day of intensive training on what products we use, what it is used for, how we use it, so when we go on to site they’re prepared,” he explained.