Staff development ‘neglected’ by UK SMEs

/ Posted By - Bradleys Accountants / Categories - Business start-ups

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK should make staff development a greater priority, as new research reveals many are neglecting training and progression support.

The survey released by breatheHR and carried out by OnePoll found that 48 per cent of respondents believe their boss does not take their personal development seriously. Meanwhile, 28 per cent say their superiors have never talked about training or progression with them.

A further 66 per cent have received no long-term development plan, leaving staff working day-to-day without any focus where they will be months or even years down the line.

This neglect could be attributed to the impacts of the economic recession, which will have ensured priorities are elsewhere and restricted funds available for staff development. Now, with the recovery slowly improving conditions, businesses should put new focus into this area of their operation or else face an unmotivated workforce, leading to low productivity and morale.

Levels of employer engagement with personal development differ regionally across the UK, with staff in Scotland feeling most engaged with their work. There, 62 per cent of respondents said that they feel their boss takes their personal development seriously.

In East Anglia, for example, this figure is much lower at just 45 per cent, while London and the south-east also both lagged behind the majority of the UK with 47 per cent.

What’s more, Britain’s smallest businesses with less than ten employees discuss their personal development more frequently and feel more engaged in their workplace, despite staff at firms with 51 to 250 employees being 16 per cent more likely to have a development plan.

“The results clearly show a fantastic opportunity for small to medium-sized businesses to gain competitive advantage by spending time developing employees,” said Jonathan Richards, chief executive and founder of breatheHR.

"The good news is that it needn't cost a fortune and with relatively little effort they will increase productivity and reduce costs."

When seeking business startup advice, new companies should ensure that staff development plays an integral part to improve their chances of success.

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