Your people are your competitive advantage. Through their personal growth, they can drive the growth of your business. Yet, many small business employees aren’t being given the opportunity to realise their potential, according to new research. Not only is this potentially stunting their progression, it could be hindering the growth of their respective organisations, too.
The research from SME HR software provider breatheHR reveals that almost a third (30%) of the UK’s small business workforce – or 4.7 million employees – never have meetings about their personal development outside of their annual appraisals.
On top of this, only one in five (19%) of the survey’s respondents said they get regular feedback every couple of months, while just 9% get a monthly response. It’s not through a lack of enthusiasm, though – three-quarters of employees said they deem personal development to be valuable.
When the personal development meeting finally comes round, you’d hope that the manager taking it will be suitably prepared – but more than one in ten (12%) small business employees don’t think their managers come well prepared for appraisals. As a result, a quarter of workers find the appraisal system to be a waste of time – in fact, just one in five (20%) find the process to be motivating.
What it all points to is a “big gap between what employees want from feedback and what employers are delivering”, says breatheHR’s CEO Jonathan Richards.
“It’s not enough to have a system in place: you’ve got to walk the walk and talk the talk. If you take a moment to Google ‘what employees want’ – the results will point to one similar area: they want feedback, they want a clear career progression, to develop, goals and most importantly – purpose,” he stressed.
However, many business owners still dismiss personal development as “the fluffy stuff”, Richards adds. The result? A chasm is formed between leadership and employees, and staff aren’t motivated to do all they can to push the business forward. Ultimately, everyone loses out.