Talent and skills are identified as key drivers of growth for the companies in this year’s Top Track 250 list. They have demonstrated the importance of attracting, retaining and developing staff in order to achieve their ambitious growth targets and business goals.
Talent management is a pressing concern for most companies in the mid market. Our research among 1000 mid market companies in the UK revealed that 94% of high growth businesses see identifying and recruiting new talent as vital for their future growth, yet three quarters find it challenging.
Addressing this challenge is something that all board members must wrestle with, but it is a full-time concern for the human resources director (HRD), who must take a strategic approach to ensuring the business is offering what the most in-demand talent wants now and in the future.
So what are the Top Track 250 companies offering and what can HRDs and CEOs learn from this?
A number of the Top Track 250 companies run apprenticeship schemes. Advanced apprenticeships in engineering, boat building and fabricating have helped luxury yacht builder Princess Yachts achieve impressive growth figures, with sales up 27% to £274.5 million. This year the firm has launched six new models, and expects sales to grow by more than 20%. Other Top Track 250 companies with apprenticeship schemes are construction contractor, Shaylor Group, and commercial vehicle body manufacturer, The Cartwright Group.
Apprenticeships are a great way to address one of the key challenges identified and discussed in our people power report, specifically ‘finding people with the mindset to drive growth now and in the future’. They allow firms to consider applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and to search out people with future potential rather than current skills.
The resulting diversity can help companies outperform their competitors, with more diverse businesses proving 75% more likely to have a marketable idea implemented and 70% more likely to capture a new market, according to The Center for Talent Innovation.
We changed the way that we recruit trainee talent in 2013 to provide equal access to our firm for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. We removed academic entry requirements and provided support throughout the recruitment process. In so doing, we created a process for recruiting the right people with the right potential to grow themselves and our business.
Finding people can be time-consuming and expensive. So once you have them, the next challenge becomes ‘keeping skills and talent in a rapid growth environment’. Skills and training is central to this, but it requires a targeted approach. This is certainly evidenced by companies in the Top Track 250 list. These include pharmaceuticals manufacturer Qualasept Pharmaxo, which has invested in a full-time trainer to develop its staff, and nurseries operator Busy Bees, which runs a Talent Exchange Programme, enabling staff from its international sites to share knowledge and best practice and gain personal and professional qualifications.
Talent and skills are key accelerators of growth, and therefore vital areas of investment for high-growth businesses. Our research found that 96% of high-growth companies in the mid market offered some kind of skills development training to their people. High-growth businesses, like the Top Track 250, know their future depends on developing and retaining their skills for sustainable business success.