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Cranmore Park Blog

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have recorded the highest hiring growth since 1998, according to new findings.

Research published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) revealed that 34 per cent of those polled increased their headcount in the three months leading up to July.

Now that the summer is fast approaching, offices up and down the UK will be facing the same challenge: keeping the workforce cool and comfortable.

Hot, stuffy working environments are not only counterproductive, but they can also have a negative effect on an employee’s health and wellbeing.

If you're planning a conference for the first time, you might not realise what a big job you've undertaken. Even if it's going to be a relatively manageable event in terms of numbers on the day, or over the period of the event, there's still an awful lot of preparation to be done in advance.

You want to make the best possible impression with everyone who attends, in order to build a strong reputation which will stand you and your organisation in good stead in the future. In order to achieve this, you've got to hire great facilities, organise high-quality events, book the right speakers and ensure everyone's needs are met.

Conferences and trade shows can offer a multitude of opportunities from a networking perspective. If you're willing and able to put yourself about, and track down the important people in the room, you can add some valuable names to your address book. It could be the leaders of another business involved in your industry, or somebody you'd like to invest in your enterprise. It might be a thought leader, whose insight can add value to your business and help you take it to the next level.

But what you have to remember is that important people also tend to be busy people. You won't, by any means, be the only person who wants to network with them. As such, if you do manage to pin such individuals down for a conversation, you've got to make it count. And this means making a great first impression.

At the next conference you attend, you will almost certainly be given a notepad or something similar to write on. These aren't just for doodling in the margins; note-taking is an important part of every conference. Without it, you will struggle to retain the information you learn and end up with only a vague memory of what was said.

If you want to be able to take the skills and knowledge you learn at your next conference back with you, you need to find the method of note-taking that works best for you. There are plenty of different options; here is a short guide to a few of the most common.

Working out the costs of trade show marketing is crucial for any business, one industry figure has claimed.

Charles Beshears, the president of National Trade Show Displays, told TSNN that these events "can be a very positive and lucrative experience" for many companies.

If you're advertising at a trade show or exhibition, you may come across many different types of customer - or potential customer - over the course of the day.

What works for one individual may not for another, meaning your organisation needs to adopt a flexible approach to consumer engagement.

Leadership development is now the number one priority for HR professionals and senior leaders in the UK, according to a new report which suggests that business cycles and training cycles must be aligned for maximum effectiveness.

In a Right Management study entitled 'Talent Management: Accelerating Business Performance' more than than 2,200 HR professionals and SME owners were polled, with 46 per cent identifying leadership development as the top priority for 2014, rising to 54 per cent in the UK.

Undergraduate students are, in many ways, the future of most businesses. The young people studying now will be the people employed in entry-level positions in a few years, while probably also being the people moving up the corporate ladder after that. As such, it is important for companies not to disregard this important demographic.

Students are almost a commodity at the moment. When people graduate each summer, companies will end up competing for the best and brightest who will add significant value to a business. If you have not made any effort to court these potential employees, they will go to your competitors instead.

The UK events industry is in an excellent place at the moment. Conferences, trade shows and other gatherings are being successfully held all around the country thanks to dedicated planning and the use of great venues. However, the government wants to push even harder to make the UK the best country in the world for business conferences.

This bold statement was made by Sajid Jarvid - the secretary of state for culture, media and sport - in a speech he made at the opening day of the World Travel Market on November 3rd. He told attendees of the event that the government will be joining up with the UK events sector.

Trade shows can be a hard slog at times. You work for a full day, most of which will be spent on your feet, meeting anything from a few dozen to hundreds of people. You will be expected not only to be polite to all of them, but to give your best sales pitch as well. It is no surprise that most people find themselves collapsing on the sofa for a well-deserved rest afterwards!

However, the end of a trade show does not mean you can put it out of your mind. All of the contacts you've made and leads you have acquired will need to be followed up on, which can be hard work; sometimes it's an even tougher job than the original exhibition!

Happy and motivated workforces are critical to business success, with a more happy and enthusiastic workforce translating into an increasing number of staff who are loyal and productive.

As such, the way that leaders manage their employees will have a great bearing on the direction of the company and future profits - something that is particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who will often have a lower number of staff compared to the bigger firms.

The key is to pick your sessions carefully. You can't just go to whatever you feel like, choosing sessions at random, unless you want to have a fruitless conference. Instead, you should carefully select the seminars you want to attend based on how much you will get out of them.

Sometimes, this might involve doing a bit of research. For example, look up the people taking each session. They might just be people who know a bit about the topic they're talking about, or they might be published authors and experts in the field. Often this information will be included in the agenda.

If you're taking time out to attend a conference, it's important that you make the most of the experience. There's always things that need doing in the workplace, so if you're sacrificing those man-hours to attend an industry event, it's important to gain value from your attendance.

According to speaker and author Michele Lawson, approaching conferences with the right attitude is all-important. Writing for the Huffington Post, she claimed there are two things that can hinder an individual's conference experience. These are the preconceived notion of experience and expectation".

Have you ever looked over your conference notes? Every time you attend a panel or seminar, you will almost certainly be covering page after page with text, trying to sum up what each speaker is saying. However, these are no good if you don't go over them afterwards.

You will struggle to retain much information if you do not use your notes to jog your memory. However, the main problem many people have at this stage is time. In a busy week, can you spare an hour or two to go over your notes and revise what you learnt at your last conference?

Every business owner knows that keeping your employees happy with their careers is key to ensuring you have the best people working for you at all times. If you have an unmotivated workforce full of people who are convinced they are stuck in a dead-end job, you will soon end up losing them.

This is rarely a good thing. A high staff turnover looks bad for your company, discouraging the most talented people from applying for a job there. When you employ somebody with the potential to have a huge positive effect on your firm, you want to ensure they stick around rather than jetting off to another business.