Conference aims to inspire SME growth

4 April 2014 By Northern Lights

Conference aims to inspire SME growth image

Conor MossWith research showing that a third of SMEs are expecting to grow 10 per cent this year, Sheffield Business School has joined forces with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to help business leaders achieve their goals.

The two organisations are staging a major summit in Sheffield on May 20. The HR in SMEs Conference will provide practical advice and tips on delivering effective leadership, engaging and recruiting the right staff and introducing people management processes aligned to the business strategy.

The CIPD has partnered up with Sheffield Business School in recognition of its continuing work to improve leadership and demonstrate the value of HR through its research and ongoing programmes.

Research by CIPD shows that people management practices (including formal HR) have a vital role to play in driving long-term performance in SMEs. A recent survey by Bibby Financial Services showed confidence is growing among SMEs, with more than a quarter saying investment in staff development was a priority, as they gain confidence in the future of their business.

Dr Jill Miller, author of the CIPD research on SMEs and chair of the HR in SMEs Conference, says: “SMEs are vital to the UK economy for growth, jobs and innovation, but with limited material and financial resources their people are their business.

“Good people management is fundamental to unlock the creativity and commitment among staff to ensure sustainable performance and growth.”

Dr Miller’s new research, published on May 12 at the HR in SMEs’ sister conference in London, looks at how SMEs can develop a great people approach by keeping culture, purpose and values as the bedrock of their organisation.

Management of people is vital for the success of any business, however, SMEs may need more support in understanding how to maximise the performance of their staff and where to go for advice. The conference held at Sheffield Hallam University’s Stoddart Building will provide business owners with the skills and knowledge they need to deliver growth.

Key seminar topics at the event include developing effective leadership skills at the top of the organisations, delivering great people management aligned to achieving your business goals, activating your middle managers, and attracting and retaining the right talent.

Crucially, the event will also identify the barriers to effective leadership and people management in SMEs and CIPD research associate Ksenia Zheltoukhova will present her latest research findings in this area.

Conor Moss, principal lecturer and business engagement fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, and one of the speakers at the summit, says: “Leaders deliver success in business and it is absolutely vital that they know how to inspire their people and then support them to reach their potential.

“HR plays a crucial role in making sure your staff are engaged and are all working hard towards the common goal of business success. This conference will provide valuable insights and tips to make sure you can provide the leadership your business needs while also demonstrating the importance of HR to your organisation.”

Other speakers at the event include a number of local business leaders, including Keith Jackson of JRI Orthopaedics, Martin Ferguson of MJF Cleaning Services, Clare Pearson of Yorkshire Wildlife Park and Anabela Yourell of Just Eat.

For more information about the one-day HR in SMEs Conferences in Sheffield and London, visit

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Written by Northern Lights

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