People Management in SMEs: Be a Racing Boat

Jun 30, 2017
Blog - Be a Racing Boat

In our professional practice, my team and I often talk with decision makers in SMEs who are impressed by large corporations’ people management strategies and their use of the newest instruments but wonder whether their own organizations may be ‘too small’ to utilize these strategies and methods.


In such conversations we emphasize the strengths of SMEs as they excel among other at: 

  • Speed of decisions and of their implementation
  • Flexibility and ability to adapt quickly to new situations
  • An entrepreneurial environment that nurtures innovation

Based on these advantages we generally recommend to SMEs

  • Evaluate new instruments of people management on an ongoing basis, ensure that decision makers responsible for people management are aware of options: knowledge is power
  • Do not copy paste best practices from large corporations: some instruments may scale down well to a smaller company size, but others may need to be adapted to make optimal use of a SME’s strengths
  • Use SME innovative potential and flexible structure to develop and optimize new customized approaches

In a nutshell, our advice is:
do not try to be a smaller version of a large ship, be a racing boat!

This article is the introduction to a series: in the following installments we will have a closer look at each of the areas of people management and how SMEs can leverage their particular strengths in these areas.