What Leaders in Smaller Organisations Should Learn from the People Profession

Monday, 29th October 2018

Guest blog by Anton Riolo, Conference Production Manager of CIPD Events

Good people management can still be ‘patchy’ but there is light at the end of the tunnel

People are what will make or break a business – this is 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 able to drive the success of our businesses. Yet, while widely recognised, the value of good people management does not always translate into good practice. Too many examples of bad leadership are glorified, while most people can recount more experiences of ‘toxic environments’ and ‘bad bosses’ than of being 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 by championing better people practices, good people management and more ethical decisions. What happens in smaller organisations which can’t always afford to employ a people team or can’t rely on the expertise of people specialists? In many cases, people management becomes solely dependant on one or a small group of leaders who, despite the good intentions, may not be supported or equipped with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to develop people, solve conflict and create positive environments for employees to thrive and drive business success.

Leaders in smaller organisations are also more likely to be facing strong commercial pressure – one bad business decision, a missed contract or an unhappy client might make the difference between bankruptcy and survival. It’s not entirely surprising that some leaders may lose sight of the difference that good people management makes – in Sir Richard Branson’s own words “The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers”.

Smaller organisations are the backbone of the UK economy, employing more than 16 million people or 60% of all UK workers. While this does not mean that over half of UK employees cannot rely on a supportive manager or on a positive work environment, it’s not a secret that good people management and people practices are still ‘patchy’ at best. Leaders shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a happy and engaged workforce and should exploit every opportunity to learn how they can create the conditions for their employees to thrive. There is much to be learnt from the people profession – from those who specialise in the depths of occupational and employee behaviour and can advise on how to best 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 unique 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.

Conference Session that you shouldn’t miss:

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