The research was released at the CIPD HR in SMEs conference in London yesterday. The survey of over 1,000 CIPD members looks at the expected hiring activities of employers in the UK.
The proportion of SME employers who intend to increase their staff over those who intend to decrease the number of workers is +52. This is compared to +11 for large corporate employers.
Although this is good news for SMEs, the research suggests smaller employers are wary of expansion diluting their companies' values. Over three-quarters of respondents (77%) agreed they will actively need to focus on retaining their core values in the future for continued business success.
CIPD researcher Jill Miller, who was involved in putting together the data, urged SMEs to see growth as a chance to "reinforce their values, not undermine them".
"Keeping hold of 'what you're all about' over time requires constant attention," she said. "Culture, purpose and values will affect the standard and style of customer service delivered, the satisfaction, engagement and retention of your people and ultimately your organisation's performance."
SMEs see biggest growth since 2008
The news comes a week after a separate report by Bibby Financial Services, the Business Factors Index, showed SMEs saw the biggest year-on-year growth since 2008.
Based on financial indicators from over 4,000 employers, against a base point value of 100, SMEs financial raising grew to 94.1 in the first quarter of 2014. This is an increase of 14.2 for the same period in 2013.
David Postings, UK chief executive at Bibby Financial Services, told HR magazine the results showed SMEs "have learned from the past".
"They have adapted to the difficult trading conditions of the last five years and are stronger and more resilient as a result," he added.
Read HR magazine's report on HR in SMEs here.