People are what will make or break a business. It’s as true in large digital multinationals as it is in the family-run coffee shop around the corner.

Engaged and motivated employees are more productive, creative, and can drive the success of our businesses. Yet, while widely recognised, the value of good people management doesn’t always translate into good practice.

Too many examples of bad leadership are glorified, and people can recount more experiences of toxic environments and bad bosses than they can of feeling truly valued, developed and enabled to give their best at work.

The people profession—human resources, learning & development, and organisation development—is increasingly becoming the moral compass of organisations. It champions better people practices, good people management, and more ethical decisions.

How do smaller organisations do it?

But what happens when smaller organisations can’t afford to employ a ‘people team’ or can’t rely on the expertise of ‘people specialists’?

In many cases, one leader (or a small group) becomes the sole person responsible for it. And despite good intentions, this leader may not have the support nor the knowledge and skills to develop people—through no fault of their own.

If it’s not your specialism, then it’s hard to solve conflicts and create positive environments for employees to thrive and drive business success.

One eye on the bottom line

Leaders in smaller organisations are also more likely to face strong commercial pressure. One bad business decision, a missed contract or an unhappy client might make the difference between bankruptcy and survival.

It’s no surprise to know that some leaders may lose sight of the difference that good people management makes. Sir Richard Branson says it best:

“The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers.”

Support for small organisations

Smaller organisations are the backbone of the UK economy, employing more than 16 million people (60% of UK workers). While this does not mean that over half of UK employees can’t rely on a supportive manager or a positive work environment, it’s no secret that good people management and practices are still patchy at best.

Leaders shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a happy and engaged workforce. They should exploit every opportunity to learn how to create the conditions that let their employees thrive.

There is much to learn from the people profession. And those who specialise in occupational and employee behaviour will show you how to create a happier, healthier and more productive workplace.

Anton Riolo, Conference Production Manager for CIPD Events at Haymarket Media Group

The CIPD Annual Conference & Exhibition, taking place in Manchester Central on 7-8 November 2018, is a great opportunity for small organisations and leaders to connect with the people profession, to learn from the people and organisational experts that can help them manage their employees more effectively, and create a happier and more successful organisation.

Unmissable CIPD conference

7 November 2018
● Opening Keynote – The new era of trust and why it is key for success
● A4 Case Studies – Creating a culture of self-directed learning for continuous skill development
● W1 Workshop – Developing purposeful leaders through a four-fold strategy
● C1 ACE Talk – Back to human – creating connections in the age of isolation

8 November 2018
● D1 ACE Talk – The ethics of people management – from resources to human beings
● E1 ACE Talk – The reputational risks of data security and employee digital presence
● F1 ACE Talk – Managing organisational complexity – smart simplicity for an agile organisation
● Closing Keynote – Demanding more diversity and true inclusion