Staying true to who we are

CIPD research with smaller businesses starting soon!

As a small business grows it's easy to lose sight of where you've come from - how do you retain the connection with your roots and entrepreneurial drive as you grow?  

How to maintain your founding culture and values over time was one of the key challenges that emerged from the first piece of research I did with small businesses back in 2012. In the meantime I've been all around the country, testing out the insights from that initial piece of work and getting your views on what's most valuable to those working in or with SMEs. Culture and values have been a constant topic of discussion at these events.

So now I'm now planning a new research project focused on how SMEs have kept these alive in practice! For me this is another exciting chance to work with more inspiring companies and draw on their insights, tips and experiences of those what works and what doesn't in their context, and share the findings with the SME community.

So far we have 8 small organisations signed up to be case studies from different sectors and of different sizes to share their experiences. Some have a HR professional on board, and others have a people-focused owner-founder or an office manager who takes the helm.

With them I'll be exploring how we retain the 'what we're all about' as the business grows and changes, for example with a change of owner/leadership, opening additional sites, hiring managers externally, not seeing all your people on a day-to-day basis as was possible in the early days. All will be featured in the practical research report to be launched in May, and some of the companies will also bring their stories alive at our CIPD SME conferences in both London and Sheffield.

If you work in an SME (less than 250 employees) and would like to be a case study to share your business' journey, or work with smaller organisations and would like to share your insights and experiences, please do get in touch! You can email me j.miller@cipd.co.uk or tweet me @MillerJillC

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  • This sounds like a fascinating project, especially as a very high percentage of British industry is made up of small businesses. I have been in business since 1992, at times as a limited company but now as a sole trader. I will be interested to see how the research progresses.

    Regards, Nick

    Nick Hands MCIPD