News & insights

SF Recruitment advise at Family Business Conference

By Ellie Smith
SF Advise at Family Business Conference

Participating in The Family Business Conference on November 23rd was an enlightening experience for our team at SF Recruitment. As Business Development Director here at SF and with almost two decades of recruitment expertise; it was a unique opportunity to delve into the distinct dynamics of family businesses within the Midlands economy.

The interactive nature of the conference allowed for engaging discussions, with panel sessions and roundtable forums shaping conversation from the intricacies of succession planning and integrating external talent, through to achieving a work-life balance in the context of family businesses. The event also addressed the critical role family businesses play in driving the sustainability agenda and explored the integration of digital technologies, including artificial intelligence.

An eye-opening revelation from the conference was the key role trust plays in the success of family businesses. Occupying 50% of the SME ecosystem in the UK, family businesses are perceived as more trustworthy by both employees and clients. This inherent trust - we discovered - serves as a unique selling point for SME family businesses, making them stand out in a competitive market.

Impostor syndrome emerged as a significant topic, particularly among next-generation family business owners. The feeling of inadequacy or not being perceived as worthy of senior roles, whether within the family or when joining from external avenues, highlighted the need for a supportive culture. Participants found that family businesses, in general, fostered a sense of unity, making employees feel like an extension of the family.

The conference also shed light on the natural approach family businesses take towards CSR and sustainability. Family businesses often contribute to their communities as an inherent part of their identity, without using as an opportunity for overt PR campaigns. This commitment to sustainability, such as adopting solar panels, reflects their concern for legacy and ties to their local environment.

Recruitment barriers were acknowledged, with the smaller scale of family businesses posing some unique challenges. The absence of a dedicated HR role in many family SME’s emphasised the importance of working closely with recruitment consultants. However, a cautionary note was sounded about potential issues arising from informal promotions within family businesses, leading to undefined job roles which can lead to future complications.

Our participation in The Business Desk’s Midlands Family Business Conference provided invaluable insights into the challenges and benefits unique to family business SMEs. The event highlighted the significance of trust, the supportive culture within family businesses, and their commitment to sustainable practices, making it a worthwhile endeavour for any business vested in this sector.

If you would like to hear about how SF Recruitment has helped and advised family businesses to solve employability, external branding, attraction and retention or growth strategies, please get in contact with Ellie Smith on for more information.

Ellie Smith
Ellie Smith
Business Development Manager