As Rishi Sunak’s ‘Help to Grow’ scheme continues to roll out across the UK, a new study exploring the growth priorities of UK business leaders has revealed that only a third of UK business decision makers have heard about ‘Help to Grow’ and know what it entails.
The research, which was commissioned by business agility transformation consultancy Agility in Mind and polled senior decision makers in UK businesses in conjunction with Censuswide, found that a quarter know nothing or very little about the ‘Help to Grow’ scheme, with a further 39% saying despite having heard about it, know nothing about the details.
Having kicked off in June, the “Help to Grow” scheme is a 12 week-programme available to business leaders via leading business schools across the UK. Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, it was announced as part of the budget in March 2021, with the Chancellor stating that it would “help over a hundred thousand businesses become more innovative, more competitive and more profitable.”
However, the government’s desire for financial growth on the back of the scheme was not found to be a top priority for UK business leaders this year. The results of Agility in Mind’s research revealed that ‘new skills development’ and ‘productivity within teams’ top UK business leaders’ list of priorities for growth over the coming 12 months, cited as key factors by 36% and 35% respectively.
These priorities were noted over the growth the bottom line, which was highlighted by under a third (31%).In addition, having explained the premise of the scheme to respondents, UK business decision makers believed that the most important goal of a government scheme like ‘Help to Grow’ should be to grow productivity among teams and staff, with 35% proposing this as a desired outcome from such a scheme, compared to 31% citing profit growth and sales.
Andrew Jones, CEO at Agility in Mind said: “Where the scheme is called ‘Help to Grow’, the question is what does it help to grow? The very nature of Rishi Sunak’s role as Chancellor will mean his goal for the initiative is likely centred around growing the economy. However, to achieve that, there are a number of other factors UK business leaders want to prioritise before they can start to think about profit, as our data shows. Top of that list is a desire to find new ways to make the team more productive and increase their skillsets.”
Thinking about the benefit of a programme like ‘Help to Grow’, UK business decision makers did not deem ‘leadership’ or ‘innovation and product development’ in the top seven areas they need support with.
Jones continued: “Where UK business leaders would welcome guidance on how to boost productivity among teams and staff, it’s interesting to note that they don’t place as much value on how to improve leadership or innovate their offering. If improving workforce productivity is something they want to enhance, this won’t be achieved by simply telling staff to ‘be more productive’.
“New ideas and a collaborative approache to people management are better first stepping stones to achieving that – you are then in a position to capture the hearts and minds of the team, inspire them by involving them in the company mission and drive better performance throughout the organisation to meet communal goals.”