“Having delivered outsourced HR advice and support to SMEs around the UK and Ireland since 2003, we are better placed than most to recognise the huge value that face-to-face and telephone support offers businesses at the smaller end of the spectrum. As such we are unsurprised by the results of the CIPD People Skills pilot and welcome their recommendations.
“It is patently true that lack of awareness of the critical importance of HR to the success of small businesses has hampered growth in the sector for many years. Only a fraction of the 1.3 million SMEs in this country which employ between one and 49 people access high quality local HR services to support their business ambition.
“While the principles of good HR may be universal, every business is different and online, generic or call centre model services can never produce the same results as highly qualified expert support.
“The myth that such support requires unrealistic investment needs to be dispelled, urgently. Successful SMEs are the backbone of our economy and their people are their most valuable asset but for businesses to grow they need to realise that cost-effective investment into developing and managing their people is both feasible and essential. As such, programmes that both raise the profile of the value of HR and also support micro businesses with a finite level of introductory HR resource can only be a good thing.
“Given our nationwide coverage and experience with SMEs The HR Dept would be well placed and delighted to support the roll out of this programme should it receive the Government support recommended by the CIPD. We would also recommend that this be rolled out across the UK, not solely in England and Wales.
“However we would not want to see duplication of existing workplace support initiatives and resources. What will make the most difference is some form of Government-led communication and education programme, a campaign which enforces the concept of the people in a business being a major asset and one worth treating properly.
“Any national campaign needs to be marketed direct to SME owners through various, effective, means. Initiatives often fail to reach their targets as, while the concept may have merit, the delivery often lets the campaign down.”
From Gemma Tumelty, managing director, The HR Dept
Notes to editors:
- The HR Dept is a national business, with a network of over 65 franchisees providing HR services to more than 6,000 SMEs in 90 territories in the UK, Ireland and Australia. For more information visit hrdept.co.uk.