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The role and significance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Nigerian economy have received considerable attention, particularly during the 1990s. Historically, SMEs have been recognized as the backbone and industrial hub of country creation. What are the business’s short-, medium-, and long-term objectives for boosting its growth, survival, and development? This study examined the effect of Manpower training on selected Enugu SME’s. The purpose of the study was to determine how Manpower training programs and practices have benefited SME’s. The researcher gathered information through in-depth interviews. Respondents were forced to answer a variety of questions presented by the researcher in order to elicit the most pertinent responses. The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises do not have manpower training strategies and programs to assure their growth and survival, according to the research. Again, managers of SME’s operate as a one-man show, with the owner or management making all critical business decisions. As such, the owner determines when and who receives training and development at his or her discretion. Therefore, the study suggests that training and development programs, such as short and frequent courses, workshops, and other advanced learning courses, are required for the various categories of SME businesses.



Context of the Study
It is commonly stated that a company is only as good as its employees. At least one thing is shared by organizations of all shapes and sizes, including schools, retail businesses, government offices, restaurants, and manufacturers. In other words, all organizations require human resources (human capital) to function. To ensure the growth and survival of the organization, it is consequently obligatory for all of them (organizations) to hire skilled and motivated individuals. As enterprises struggle with the problems posed by a fast-paced, highly dynamic, and increasingly global economy, this demand has grown even stronger.

The significance of the role that Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) play in economic development is becoming increasingly apparent. They are frequently referred to as effective and prolific job producers, the seeds of large corporations, and the fuel for national economic engines. Even in sophisticated industrial economies, the SME sector, not multinational corporations, is the main employer of labor (Mullineux, 1997). Governments at all levels have implemented programs to encourage the expansion of SME’s. Regardless of the size of an economy, SME’s play a key part in economic development. It generates employment, expands the production base, and supports large-scale businesses. After the East Asian crises of the 1990s and the global financial crises of 2009, policymakers have been compelled to focus on strengthening local markets led by SMEs. Smaller businesses have responded well to the deregulatory and liberalizing trade and investment regimes. A 2004 survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicated that approximately 90 percent of OECD enterprises are small and medium-sized businesses. Another survey based on 670 Asian firms says that fifty percent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) anticipate significant growth in the future because they can adapt and innovate more quickly and maintain closer customer relationships. The role of the SME sector is to absorb more labor-intensive production processes. Consequently, they are viewed as contributing more to the socioeconomic progress through reducing unemployment. It is a well-established fact that SMEs have facilitated the shift from an economy based on agriculture to one based on industry and services, thereby creating an environment in which small and large enterprises are integrated, attract more foreign investment, and provide stable terms of trade (Bhattacharyya, 2006).

The SME sector in the European Union (EU) employs two-thirds of the overall labor force. The determining factor for employment in the EU. Recently, the SMBs have embraced advanced Manpower training tactics for improved performance over the medium to long term (Hayton, 2003). The importance of human capital and knowledge as intangible assets for SMEs in making future investment decisions is growing, and according to the diagnostic method developed by Milkovich and Boudreau (2000), the HRD process is divided into the following four phases:

Clarity of company goals

Considering the external environment

Selecting training programs with lasting results

Considering the results of regulation

The earliest initiatives in HRD were primarily concerned with the relationship between employee behavior and business strategy, with a primary emphasis on fostering firm-strategy-delivering behaviors (Snell, et al, 2001). In order to remain competitive in the market, corporations have changed their attention to training and inventive skills, indicating that as the competitive environment evolves, firms reevaluate their tactics to strengthen their existing and future positions. Under the most recent themes in management, reward and motivation plans, the acquisition of new technology, and skill development are linchpins for achieving the firm’s objectives. The owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) always strive for an efficient and well-organized enterprise that achieves a high profit rating but does not necessarily motivate its employees (Scheduler and Jackson, 1989).

In addition, the newly developed value of intellectual capital assets, skills, creativity, and information offer a corporation with a market advantage. The quality of personnel has been acknowledged as the most essential factor in an enterprise’s long-term viability. Therefore, SMEs should provide a highly-motivated, highly-trained workforce, which must serve as the backbone of any prospective enterprise or business. No other source of competitive advantage exists. “Others can copy our investment, technology, and scale, but not the quality of our (employees) people,” says Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electrics, in an interview with Fortune. “We spend all our time on our (employees) people…. the day we screw up the (employees) people thing, this company is done” (Fortune, 21 June, 1999).

In pursuit of cost-cutting strategies, many businesses and organizations are too ready to shrink or “right size.” Other strategic decisions, like as mergers and acquisitions, may pose a challenge to a culture that included personnel training among its fundamental competencies. Nonetheless, the overwhelming data suggests that businesses do not comprehend the tactics of institutions that engage in Manpower training. Researchers and practitioners in the field of public policy are becoming increasingly intrigued by the demand for multidimensional talent. Important homegrown research on attracting and managing people is required since small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly in developing nations, lack the expertise and infrastructure to maximize their human talents and, as a result, have average levels of labor productivity (Brown et al, 2001).

In any burgeoning industry, employee training is a critical requirement (SMEs). SME obstacles include inadequate internal training, a lack of internal capacities for formalized learning, insufficient understanding of external training possibilities, a need for short-term outcomes, budgetary limits, a restricted number of trainees, and the absence of local peer groups. The contribution of human resource development (HRD) methods to the development of small and medium-sized businesses (SME) has been fruitful. Johnson and Devins (2003) explored the potential of sustained HRD practice for SMEs in the UK’s workforce and concluded that it has significantly contributed to firm development and that there is still significant room for improvement in terms of increasing the supply of multiple skills, which in turn can bring manifold benefits to the firm’s structure and, more importantly, influence the firm’s long-term performance. There is a correlation between SME HRD initiatives and their contribution to enterprises’ competitive advantage. Regular capacity building initiatives result in greater long-term gains for the organization, which are realized through innovation and diversification brought about by the employees’ new ideas.

In addition to the introduction of new products, services, or procedures, organizations may also establish internal operational mechanisms to promote technological awareness as part of their creative efforts. SMEs that analyze their business environment critically and aim to comprehend their industry and competitive situations are more likely to employ the most appropriate HRD practices. The SMBs that concurrently address the competitive environment and human resource strategy are more likely to endure the test of time. The success of a company is dependent on its short- and long-term goals, which strive to promote a culture of learning within an integrated organizational structure, cutting-edge technology, high-quality inputs, and, most crucially, a responsive human resource. In light of this, HRD is crucial for the firm’s long-term strategic development (Juani, et al, 2008).

Clearly, the actual activities of the HRD function extend much beyond the fundamental tasks of staff development to include Public Relations, Marketing, and Financing the HRD function. This comprises senior management anticipating the expectations and attitudes of all employees, from the highest to the lowest level. The HRD department must be mindful of the fact that training and education are among the first company operations to be curtailed when times are tough and budgets are reviewed (Donnison, 1993). There is little evidence that SME Owners are particularly interested in training, either for themselves or for their employees, and several have claimed that such training is frequently neither cost-effective nor has the desired effects. Some believe that this is due to the owner-managers’ lack of education, inward focus, and lack of perspective, as well as their individualism, emphasis on personal independence, and need for control (Stanworth and Gary, 1991; Storey 1994).

Numerous results indicate that the SME sector in Nigeria is very substantial and appears to be expanding rapidly, accounting for between one-third and three-quarters of all employment. A major section of the urban labor population is employed by micro, small, and medium-sized businesses, which contribute significantly to the Nigerian economy (Aryeetey et al., 1994; Registrar General’s report, 1994). If SME’s play such an important part in the economy and are supposed to be the engine of economic growth in Nigeria, then why do so many businesses open and close annually? This thesis examines the processes and programs available to ensure the growth and survival of SME’s through the appropriate development of their human resources. This study investigates the Manpower training of chosen SMEs in Enugu, and evaluates the loyalty and motivation of employees’ available training opportunities and skill development, with the goal of enhancing the growth and survival of SMEs.

The role and significance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Nigerian economy have received considerable attention, particularly during the 1990s. One of the several reasons for this focus is the conviction that the health and vitality of the SME sector is critical to the performance of the economy, and can thus be viewed as a growth engine and a synonym for economic success in the Nigerian economy. Small and medium-sized businesses have been recognized as the backbone and industrial hub of national development (Stokes and Wilson; 2010). At any period of the year, a big number of new businesses are launched, but a nearly equal number of businesses close or perish. 50% of new businesses fail or discontinue operations during the first three years, while between 15% and 20% fail within the first year alone, according to research. (Barclays Bank Small business Bulletin, 2000; Stokes and Wilson citation) What causes this unpleasant occurrence? Then, would SME’s be able to effectively promote national development? What is the relationship between the rate of business failure (Business churn) and the training of its workforce? What is the business’s short-, medium-, and long-term strategy for assuring its growth, survival, and development?

The primary objectives of the study are twofold. There are both General and Specific aims.

This study aims to evaluate and address the impact of Enugu’s Manpower training needs on the performance of selected SMEs.

The following are the precise aims of the study:

Determine whether manpower training is conducted in selected Enugu SME.
Determine how manpower training is implemented in chosen Enugu-based SMEs.
Determine how human resource policies and actions are linked with the business objectives of chosen Enugu SME’s.
To give recommendations for enhancing human resource training and activities in selected Enugu SME’s.
In regard to the research objectives, the following are the research questions to be asked.

How is human resource development conducted in selected Enugu SME?
How is manpower training implemented in selected Enugu SMBs?
How are human resource training policies and practices connected with the success of selected small and medium-sized enterprises in Enugu?
How can human resource training policies and activities in chosen Enugu SME’s be enhanced?
1.4 Importance of the Research
People are unquestionably the most important resource for a corporation, as they plan and control all other assets, create, develop, and operate systems, and raise the funds required to implement plans and achieve corporate objectives. Yet in bad circumstances, when it seems imperative to reduce resources, personnel training items such as training and development are among the first to be eliminated, rather than gaining more attention from both managers and academicians.

In order to reduce the worrisome rate of business churn in Enugu, it is vital to assess the effect of internal training on the workforce and to discover more effective means of ensuring their survival, growth, and development.

This study’s primary audience was a cross-section of selected small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Enugu’s informal sector. The survey had 135 respondents, consisting of 15 SME’s from each of the three company sectors of Manufacturing, Retail, and Services. The research employed a

Major obstacles included the difficulty of obtaining interviews with top-tier business gurus and entrepreneurs and the refusal of potential respondents to fill out the surveys. As a result, the majority of small-scale businesses, managers, and employees in the informal sectors were semi-literate or illiterate and could not comprehend the purpose of the study. They believed the study may be utilized for other objectives, such as taxation, particularly when there is so much media noise about the closure of unregistered enterprises and the prospect of prosecution against employers who fail to pay their employees’ social security contributions. Other obstacles include limited financial resources and the need to go to institutions and sectors for consultations, guidance, and expert knowledge, particularly those that do not have offices in Enugu north and Enugu south.




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