By Alexandra Thompson, HR Manager, Harvey Water Softeners

A small and medium-sized enterprise’s (SME) sustained growth must be supported by its adherence to a company vision and its desire to be the best employer for its employees.

  1. Keeping the company spirit at heart.
Sustained growth is achieved when a company changes and develops in line with its key principles and traditions that have proven successful in the past. As a company begins to grow, it should take time to decide what values are important to the business and create a HR strategy around them. If a firm prides itself on trust and passion then these qualities must be sustained throughout the period of growth and be influential in the making of every HR decision.

When faced with a new opportunity or a HR issue, your company should be asking itself the following questions:

Is this the type of business we want to be? Is this appropriate for our family run/ SME/ start-up business? Is this the company way?

  1. Top-down trust and respect
In order to maintain a firm’s working culture throughout a period of growth, an example must be set by those in influential positions. Directors and managers should emanate qualities such as trust and respect in their working practices to encourage their employees to follow their lead and continue these practices. If the management allows autonomy and flexibility to its employees, it can expect support in return; this exchange is crucial in periods of growth and should be fostered.
  1. Gathering as one.
A period of growth is an exciting time for a company, but there’s always the risk that certain employees could be left behind or out of the loop. It’s vital that the whole company is aware of changes and developments taking place across the business where possible and this can be achieved by holding regular social events that promote informal yet informative conversations between staff that may not cross paths on an everyday basis.

These events, such as a BBQ hosted for employees and their families or an annual Christmas meal, are equally important occasions for recognising the work of employees and thanking them for the contribution that they have made to the company’s growth.

  1. Training for growth
Sustained growth begins as planned growth. In HR terms, this means that the company must not only be prepared to recruit new staff, but to offer training to existing staff to allow them to move with the growth and take on new challenges.

By investing time in planning forward-thinking training programmes from the start of the growth period, HR departments can ensure that personnel have the skills necessary to implement the next stage of growth. The following question should be continuously asked by directors and managers: “Do our staff have the ability to carry out our vision?”

Periods of growth are also great periods of change for a company and its staff. It’s therefore crucial that employees have a forum to raise their concerns and suggest further training that they feel would benefit them in their changing roles. The outcome of such a conversation could be increased skills based learning or the introduction of an e-learning programme.

  1. Essential paperwork only!
To grow successfully and sustainably, a business requires regulation and structure...but only where necessary! By carefully considering internal systems and processes, a firm can spot the suffocating systems that could be preventing growth. The time and effort saved on bureaucratic tasks can then be used to promote further growth instead.