Where the number of employees is smaller, every single person makes a difference, much more than in multinational companies.

Defining an internal growth path is therefore crucial.

The advantage of SMEs is that they are less ‘tied up’ in processes and procedures than large companies and this can and should be used as an advantage.

Individual development paths can be created for each person, with training plans tailored to the needs of the individual.

A succession plan should not be overlooked – indeed it should be considered as crucial – especially for key figures in the company. Understand who will/could fill the position if the incumbent person leaves the company. Sometimes, it is possible to plan ahead if you are thinking of retirement, in other cases, the need to fill the position may arise extemporaneously (maternity, illness, resignation…).

If you have internal resources already trained and ready to take the step forward, this is certainly the best solution to implement – promote someone internally. If you find yourself “uncovered”, the company will have to find a Temporary Manager externally, if you do not want to impact on the company head count and want to keep costs down.

Alternatively, one can think of the solution of an external pro-tempore consultant (often with high costs), or start a selection process which is, however, subject to medium-long timeframes.

In order to improve and measure the company’s progress, performance management is an indispensable tool and one of the key incentives for HR and organisations to engage employees.

The new generations, entering the labour market, have radically transformed the relationship between company and employee.

Today it is necessary to review career plans with agile and shared methods, based on data collection and analysis.

There are two main tools available to HR and managers:

  1. Timely and continuous feedback to the employee
  2. A flexible and personalized approach

To build an effective process it is important to follow these four steps:

  1. Planning activities and setting objectives

Employees should receive clear communication about what activities they will be asked to carry out and what results should be achieved.

  1. Comparison and monitoring

The relationship between manager and employee will be used to analyze the results achieved and the expectations for the future. In this phase, suggestions will be made in a logic of continuous improvement.

  1. Coaching and employee evaluation

Employees constantly need to receive feedback on their work and indications on how they can evolve, enhancing their potential. There is no doubt that those who receive more learning and development opportunities will be more involved and engaged.

  1. Reviewing and sharing evaluations

The evaluation process has to be understood in a dynamic sense. Evaluation should therefore be used as a tool for growth and success.

The introduction of digitalized performance management systems enables HR to support people in their development and, consequently, in achieving business goals. It enables employees to have the right skills from the onboarding stage. It enables talent retention by giving them appropriate attention and highlighting development prospects.

The most comprehensive digital solutions, thanks to continuous feedback, guarantee a transparent and real-time exchange between managers and employees. 360° Feedback can support daily exchange as well as six-monthly and annual reviews.

Today this is even more important because people often work with remote teams. The ability to manage employees and make them grow in a “remote world” is in fact one of the most sought-after soft skills, which has become almost indispensable.

In the current era, the importance of Human Resources is enhanced by digital assessment systems.

Reiterating that these technologies bring advantages not only to multinationals and large groups, but also and above all to SMEs, I would like to quote a maxim of a great 20th century innovator, Henry Ford:

“There is real progress when the benefits of technology become available to all.”

Giovanna Benedettelli

HR Business Advisor