A new report published by insurance and pension provider Standard Life has revealed the key drivers of success for UK SMEs over the next five years.
Having polled both SME leaders and employees, the report highlights the fundamental trends of collaboration, empowerment and adaptability as central to growth.
SME leaders said the number one priority is to empower the workforce, by building an environment that encourages creativity and innovation.
Employees agreed, stating that the most desirable quality in a business leader is the ability to empower and trust their colleagues.
The report also found that the traditional five year business planning cycle is largely a thing of the past, with 82 per cent of SME leaders altering their strategy at least once a year and almost three fifths doing so at least every six months.
Meanwhile, 60 per cent of employees felt ‘adaptability’ is the most important attribute for professional success.
Stephen Ingledew, Standard Life Managing Director of Marketing, said: “SMEs are an important part of our client base, and we wanted to take a closer look at the behaviours these business leaders and their employees adopt to achieve success and fuel entrepreneurship.
“Our research shows that UK SMEs are strongly committed to building working environments that encourage and nurture flexibility and innovation.”
The report stated that business leaders believed that the most productive workforce can be achieved by offering employees flexible working conditions (41 per cent) and by investing in future potential (40 per cent), with training/upskilling the number one focus in the next half a decade.
The majority (69 per cent) of leaders also believe the role of CEO/MD will become more diverse and accessible to their workforce in the future, it is a position that is still seen as out of reach by many employees, with 56 per cent expecting promotion to CEO to become far more challenging over the next five years.
Stephen Ingledew added: “SMEs are generally very outward-looking and focused on retaining strong core values which help them attract and retain the best talent.
“The research indicates that they regard positive contributions to society as an important measure of success, and that they carefully consider how their decisions impact their broader industry, their people and their communities.”
Link: Standard Life Research