Is L&D a luxury or a necessity for Small and Medium Enterprises?

August 25, 2017 | Activate Learning, What's Hot | 3 min read


I have spent the past 16 years working with small and medium enterprises (SME’s), learning the nuances, the challenges and the drawbacks inherent in such organizations.

And I’ll be honest, these organisations do face some unique and tough tests. One of the biggest areas of concern is that too often employees are asked to wear many hats, hats that can be ill fitting and consequently lead to damaged bottom lines. Or, another big issue is that you find managerial roles falling to unsuitable candidates simply due to lack of alternatives, which in turn negatively impacts employees and the overall work experience.

Furthermore, while they do not have the same budget or resources as larger organisations, SME’s are held to the same laws, the same rules and regulations. Even adhering and complying to all the many government mandates is itself is an undertaking that is a behemoth task, and one that involves labour, time, and knowledge from other, more profitable arenas. So it isn’t hard to see how for SME’s it’s a bit of a nightmare, and a considerable dent in their already limited resources.

This all makes me think that while big organisations do not have it easy, SME’s actually have it harder and face more difficulties. This was made even clearer to me recently when some of my clients expressed their growing fears over talent shortages. Yes, the skill gap challenge is effecting everyone, but enticing sought-after talent to smaller, perhaps less well known, opportunities presents its own challenges. Then compound this with the reality that all too often, SME’s see their top talent lured to competitors or large organisations whose very size offers benefits and perks not possible or feasible in smaller organisations.

This means the skills gap, and the war for talent, is hitting SME’s harder. It is a very real and costly dilemma for all concerned.

However, rather than dwelling on these problems, I look for solutions. And I believe that despite the myriad of hurdles SME’s face, I have the answer…

Learning And Development.

Why do I believe L&D holds the key?

My team, which over the last three years has seen year on year growth, and is now three times the size it was when I first joined Skillsoft in 2011, specializes in SME’s and related products. We know, and have put all our valuable insight and knowledge into creating a whitepaper - How SMEs can utilise L&D to gain competitive advantage, a comprehensive and useful examination of the crucial function eLearning performs in keeping SME’s competitive and successful.

What exactly are these benefits?

There are too many to get into them all, but one such benefit, which I think is huge and only going to grow in relevance and significance, is that L&D is a massive draw for both potential employees and for retaining current top talent. This fact alone justifies any investment in L&D and demonstrates that workplace learning is not optional, but rather a necessity in today’s skill shortage market.

That is just one reason, one benefit. To discover the others and to gain a better understanding of all the ways eLearning can work to accomplish the seemingly impossible, click here.

Happy as always to hear what you think. So if there is anything else we missed, please let us know!

Jamie MacDonald is the Director of UK Inside Sales for Skillsoft.