How high-growth businesses harness the power of their people

4 min read

Our Trailblazers study demonstrates a huge gap between high-growth and lower-growth businesses in terms of the approach they take to staff training and development, as well as to recruitment, retention and succession planning.

How high-growth businesses harness the power of their people

Britain’s high-growth companies display a clear understanding of the value their people can add to their businesses. As a result, they are far more likely to create working environments that are supportive, inspiring and engaging – and they reap significant rewards as a result.


Investors in people

For example, 70% of the high-growth businesses identified by the Trailblazers survey said they had invested more in staff training and development over the past three years in comparison with just 40% of lower-growth firms.

The difference is even more stark when it comes to future plans: high-growth companies are twice as likely (73%) to plan to increase training and development spending over the next three years than their lower-growth counterparts (37%). Similarly, 73% of high-growth businesses say they are committed to developing their people, as opposed to 57% of lower-growth firms.


Tackling the skills challenge

However, these businesses refuse to sit back and accept skills shortages as a fact of life: almost three-quarters of high-growth firms (72%) say they have strategies in place to improve their performance in recruiting and retaining the right staff. At lower-growth businesses, the proportion is less than half (49%). And high-growth businesses are on the right track to attracting and retaining staff: 36% of them strongly believe their staff are engaged and committed, compared with 16% of lower-growth companies.

Taken as a whole, these statistics strongly suggest that higher-growth firms are managing to create a virtuous circle as far as their skills strategies are concerned. By ensuring that employees are engaged and feel valued – for example as a result of a strong programme of training and development – these businesses are able to ensure they are highly desirable places to work.

In turn, this is likely to increase their chances of recruiting the more talented members of the workforce, who are then able to make a significant contribution to the business’s continued growth – whether through innovation and product and service development, or through expansion into new markets.

High-growth businesses recognise their people are not simply another type of resource to be managed and exploited: by investing in their workforces, they are also making a long-term commitment to the success of the enterprise.

Finally, this long-termism is also demonstrated by an increased propensity to consider how the business will be run in years ahead: the Trailblazers study found 78% of high-growth companies say that succession and talent planning are on the agenda of their senior management, compared with just 57% of lower-growth businesses.

Meet the Trailblazers: Our research into Britain’s high-growth companies