SME Guide to CIPD’s Profession Map

A spotlight on the Profession Map

This guide shines a spotlight on the areas of the Map that are most relevant to people who have responsibility for delivering great people management in SMEs. We highlight the key knowledge and behaviours that you need to develop to best support your business. It has been designed for those with responsibility for people management practices within an SME and also for consultants whose remit is people management advice and support for SMEs.

CIPD research identifies how all SMEs are different. However, what is clear from our research is that good people management is essential to support achievement of business goals, whether you’re striving for growth, great customer service, innovation or increased productivity, to name just a few.

At various stages of development of the organisation, the role and potential contribution of those responsible for people practices and approaches will be different. Sometimes these activities will be undertaken by non-specialists at the heart of the organisation, supplemented by external experts/advisers and/or under the close direction of the owner/manager. As the organisation evolves, more can be done in-house and developing people management expertise and confidence means that a professional business-partner relationship with the owner/founder and other managers is achieved.

This guide will help you to:

  • work out what people management practices your business needs and how to develop them.
  • identify areas of the organisation for development.
  • focus on behaviours which the business needs for success.
  • identify the HR skills that you need to focus on for maximum effect when delivering HR activities.
  • make a case for adopting new practices to support growth and build sustainable performance.
  • influence business leaders in order to grow effective people management activities.

This guide draws on our SME research, highlighting the most relevant areas for you in CIPD’s Profession Map. Our research has revealed four stages of organisation growth, maturity or transition, each associated with different people management practices and approaches.

How to use this guide:

  1. Choose from the links below which of the four stages your organisation is currently at or is aspiring to be at. 

    If you need information about each stage and help in identifying which stage your organisation is at we have put together a short diagnostic tool.

    Achieving sustainable organisation performance through HR in SMEs

  2. You will be directed to a summary document which states the areas of priority, knowledge and capability that you need to focus on to support your business most effectively.

Start up/Entrepreneurial Edge (477 KB)   |   Emerging Enterprise (301 KB)

Consolidating Organisation (285 KB)  |   Established Organisation (359 KB)

Resources relevant to those working in SMEs

Achieving sustainable organisation performance through HR in SMEs. (2012) CIPD Research Report

Achieving sustainable organisation performance through HR in SMEs. (2012) CIPD Practical Tool

Maintaining employee engagement through SME growth. CIPD Podcast

Business savvy: giving HR the edge. (2012) CIPD Research Report

Approaches to change: building capability and confidence. (2010) CIPD Practical tool