Having extensive experience of having worked in a corporate environment for 15 years and of consulting to small and medium sized businesses for 13 years, one of the key things I have learned as an experienced grey-beard HR practitioner is that small and medium sized business want a non-corporatised HR offering.
What does this mean in practical terms? At the heart of this statement is the fact that small and medium sized businesses want HR practitioners and providers who can apply a solution to fit their problem or situation in a responsive and agile way.
They require practitioners who demonstrate an understanding of their organisational problems and situations, who have a great business acumen, who show flexibility and who go out of their way to tailor-make solutions for the organisation all the while considering that whatever must be done should be done cost effectively and quickly and effectively.
Organisational leaders and business owners in the small and medium sized industry are opposed to practitioners who throw rigid and inflexible policies and procedures at them which do not present solutions to their problems and which are suitable for their situations and environments and which are impractical.
They are also opposed to practitioners who are not willing to compromise and show some degree of flexibility in how policies, procedures and the principles are applied.
This is not to say that there is ever an excuse in any industry anywhere for an HR practitioner to act in a manner which is illegal or non-compliant with country legislation and corporate governance standards.
Quite the opposite is true.
The HR practitioner and provider in small and medium sized businesses are expected to know the legislative and other regulatory requirements extremely well so that they know the exact areas in which they can be flexible and the areas where they have to apply the laws and regulations stringently.
This is the current nature of the HR requirements in small and medium sized enterprises.