CIPD urges government to drive SMEs 'from recession to resilience'

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has welcomed the announcement of £350 million extra support for skills training for SMEs, but warns that investment must be effectively targeted if it is to reap tangible benefits for the UK economy.

The CIPD has said that the best way to improve productivity in the workforce is to concentrate spend on training managers. CIPD research shows that UK people management capability is extremely poor. Only a third of employees believe their manager helps to improve their performance and poor people management remains one of the biggest causes of stress and conflict at work.

Further research estimates that management deficiencies account for 10-15 per cent of the productivity gap in the UK and the government’s own research confirms that management training further improves workforce skills development threefold. The management capability of SMEs in the UK is of particular concern but it is also an area where government spend could make a real impact.

 CIPD’s Learning Training and Development adviser, John McGurk said: “If government is serious about making a long-term impact on UK productivity and not just a knee-jerk response to the impending recession, then the people management skills of our workforce should be high on its agenda.” He went on to say that the opening up of funding beyond “the small pot government currently allocates to leadership and management is welcomed. However CIPD calls on government to allocate a dedicated proportion of the Train to Gain budget for management and leadership training to improve the long-term performance of UK plc, particularly in the SME sector, where manager-owners have little direct experience of managing others.”

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