HR · 19 April 2016

Micro business owners are giving corporate bosses a run for their money on good people management

high performance work systems
Micro firms provide staff with challenging, rewarding work
New academic research carried out by researchers Alex Bryson and Michael White at University College London has revealed Britain’s micro firm owners are regularly implementing sophisticated human resources practices previously thought to have been confined to big companies.

People management and job design that make the most of employees? skills and provide them with challenging, rewarding work dubbed high performance work systems? by academics were found to be both widespread and effective in micro businesses.

Analysing the data from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills? Workplace Employment Relations Study (WERS), the researchers found that 45 per cent of micro firm managers are implementing more than 15 high performance practices.

The authors of the paper argued that the collection of practices have positive effects on small firms by increasing the intrinsic motivation of work.

Once minimum threshold of performance-increasing measures were adopted, micro firms were found to benefit as much from the implementation of such practices as larger firms.

Family ownership which has previously been cited as a barrier to successful human resource management was found to have no impact on the success of such measures.

Small businesses are responsible for an increasing proportion of UK employment, with half of British private sector jobs in small firms in 2014.



Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics as well as running a tutoring company.