New research has highlighted the East of England as one of the UK’s leading ‘local economies’ - demonstrating high employment rates and productivity. The report, ‘Ambition 2020: World Class Skills and Jobs for the UK’, shows the important role of local businesses in maintaining the UK’s competitiveness.
The East of England currently ranks third out of 12 in a productivity league table of the UK. It also has a higher than average employment rate – 76.1 per cent versus the UK average of 72.7 per cent.
Overall it ranks third in the Regional UK Competitiveness Index, and Cambridge has been named as the fifth most competitive city in the UK.
However, ‘Ambition 2020’ also warns that the UK is at risk of sliding down international productivity rankings – threatening the country’s competitiveness - unless its skills and employment systems are fundamentally improved.
Investors in People is urging local businesses to continue investing in the skills of their people to help keep their organisations on track and remain competitive in future.
Author of ‘Ambition 2020’ Mark Spilsbury commented: “In the current economic climate, it’s more important than ever that businesses are able to get the best out of their people.
“This means challenging and inspiring managers and employees at all levels to achieve their potential: employers have to be ambitious and act now to develop the skills they will need in future. This will improve their productivity and performance, benefitting them, their employees, and the country as a whole.”
Investors in People has developed the following five top tips for local businesses that want to benefit from improved skills and productivity:
Take a good, hard look at your business goals. Do you know exactly what you need to do to achieve them? Success will depend on breaking down your business ambitions into small, manageable steps.
Create a plan for up-skilling the business. It’s all too easy to overlook raw talent that can be developed into the stars of the future. Look beyond employees’ current roles to assess their full potential – and then help them achieve it.
Businesses which don't train their staff are two and a half times more likely to fail than those that do. Think creatively about how you do this. Formal training is only one method of encouraging skills development – there are many on-the-job techniques that can help employees keep growing. Mentoring, shadowing schemes and more regular feedback can all play a key part in unlocking an employee’s full potential and performance.
Keep talking. When planning your learning and development strategy, consult your employees on their ambitions, align these with the needs of the business and everyone will be a winner.
Bring people with you. By engaging your people in the company’s vision of future success, you will reap the rewards in terms of better motivation, productivity and performance.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: ‘Ambition 2020’ author, Mark Spilsbury