The study, conducted by Agility in Mind, revealed only a third of UK business decision makers have heard about the scheme and what it entails
Rishi Sunak’s ‘Help To Grow’ scheme was launched to support small UK businesses by offering high-class management style training with plans to spur innovation and growth in the workforce. According to a study by Agility Mind, only a third of UK business decision makers have heard about the scheme and what it entails ‘ and a quarter of UK business decision-makers know little to nothing about the scheme.
The Chancellor announced the £520 million scheme in March, offering 130,000 SMEs the chance of MBA-style management training by providing access to some of the UK’s top schools. The 12-week programme kicked off in June this year, with Mr Sunak stating that the scheme would help over a hundred thousand businesses become more innovative, more competitive and more profitable. However, new research by business agility transformation consultancy Agility in Mind polled senior decision-makers in UK businesses in conjunction with Censuswide, and found that a quarter of UK businesses know nothing or very little about the ‘Help to Grow’ scheme, and a further 39% said that despite being aware of it, know nothing about the details. 500 senior decision makers in UK businesses, excluding sole traders, took part in the poll which was conducted between 30th July and 4th August 2021.
According to the study, UK business decision-makers were more concerned about increasing productivity in their workforce, rather than improving their leadership and spurring innovation in a post-pandemic world. Business leaders did not list leadership or innovation as top priorities when it comes to growing their firms in the next year, the research showed. Listing key factors that were fundamental to growth, 36% of UK business leaders rated ‘new skills development’ as important while 35% rated ‘productivity within teams’ top UK business leaders’ as essential for growing their business in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 35% of UK business decision-makers believed that the most important goal of a government scheme like ‘Help to Grow’ should be to increase productivity among teams and staff, while 31% said profit growth and sales were most important.
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, Andrew Jones, CEO of Agility in Mind said. 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.
He added: 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 approach 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.