Talent and productivity gap: Solving the challenges for scale up businesses

If you are a scale up business, you know the challenges of aligning the development of talent and productivity.

The Scale Up Institute lists access to talent as one of the key “significant pain points and barriers to scale further”. To resolve the issue they focus on the education system in lobbying the Government.  Without a doubt, scaling and recruitment go hand in hand and in a competitive environment you need first rate employment practices to persuade first rate people to “throw their lot in with you” and many obvious opportunities can be missed by businesses.

Beyond that, common issues facing scale up clients tend to be:

  • Re-engineering teams: Organisational design and redefining the touch points to ensure different skills or capabilities are harnessed while retaining an outward-facing focus. For example, creative agency teams often struggle to align new business development, account management and delivery teams. Overcoming these challenges can require restructuring that can in itself, be a key challenge for a business culture used to growth if not planned, implemented and adopted effectively.
  • Focus: Maintaining across the business the strategic focus, core proposition and productivity which can get lost as broader skills are needed, new people come on board, management structures develop or managers become fearful of an acceptable level of staff turnover.  This often goes hand in hand with (re) creating the business culture to cope with the challenges of scaling. 
  • Energising engagement: Employee engagement, which can be strong at first with enthusiastic new starts and small teams will cyclically peak and become more complex as a greater variety of preferences and managerial styles are engaged. Reassessing employee engagement issues is difficult without the context and objectivity that can be difficult to find from within.

Drawing on scale up and high growth experience from venture boards to listed companies, we provide integrated strategic support. We work with clients to help understand their challenges and opportunities. Our experience is that a deeper and objective understanding frequently leads to a better understanding of causality so that more effective interventions can be introduced to help teams thrive. If you would like a confidential conversation to understand how we might help you, you can contact us on hello@linkstoneadvisory.com for one of our specialists to get back to you.

Are you a high growth business? 

If you are wondering what a scale up business is, it’s a fair point and is defined by the Scale Up Institute as businesses surpassing the £10m turnover level or with assets of more than £5.1m and sales growth of 15%-20%. The threshold mirrors current financial reporting thresholds that mean this is the first opportunity for those businesses to be visible and in reality, there are many more scale ups – fast growing businesses of substance that fall below these limits but are nonetheless experiencing similar growth challenges. It also means that these are proven businesses who have gone far beyond the MVP and market validation challenges of earlier stage businesses. To see an overview of the top challenges facing scale up businesses, see our article Top five challenges for scaling businesses”

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