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The success of large businesses, such as O2, is increasingly being recognised as coming from “people power”: using smart HR strategies and inclusive cultures to drive business performance. How can small businesses compete?

There are many things that big businesses do well and on which small businesses can improve easily. Here are a few:


In retail or hospitality, as a consumer, you can detect good training the moment you enter the premises. And it makes a difference to profit. Behind customer-facing roles, good training keeps employees in pace with technology, motivates them and embeds them in your culture.


If the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing; well… Good communication is crucial to a large enterprise, but it applies in smaller ones too. Internal digital platforms such as Yammer, Slack, and Trello can transform a business. They make it possible to take advantage of the knowledge held by all your employees, not just those with whom you may have immediate contact. Even in a small business, that is a vast resource and it helps you to define your culture.

Communicating with millennials


“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much” (Walter Lippmann). Getting people from different backgrounds expands opportunities, avoids “groupthink” and gives access to talent that others might pass over.

Addressing diversity

Employer branding

Looking on the employee in the much the same way as one looks on a customer, energises the enterprise. An employee will use your treatment of them as a guide to treating your customers. Furthermore, whether it is Glassdoor or Indeed, employer-reviews matter if you are to attract and retain talent.

Clear aims

If employees buy into what you seek to achieve, they can work enthusiastically on your behalf. “Mission statements” may be a fad of the past, but a strong purposeful culture should galvanise your people and grasp opportunities that might otherwise be missed.

Why your company culture matters

If you would like to re-charge your batteries and tap in to “people power”, please get in touch.

Malcolm Martin FCIPD

Author Human Resource Practice

Blogs are for general guidance and are not an authoritative statement of the law.