• Tackling untapped potential


    It's often said that people are the greatest business asset. But as JEREMY ANDERSON, Skills Commissioner, UK Commission for Employment & Skills, argues, businesses must take steps to realise the full potential of their workforces.

    With 64% of respondents to a recent survey indicating that they have more skills and talent to offer than their role currently demands, and research showing that only around a fifth of employers implement policies and practices specifically to get high performance from their team,  it is clear that the average UK workforce has a potentially significant unrealised skills resource.1 


    “If we want a thriving economy and good, sustainable jobs for talented people, then as a nation we must be competitive on a global scale,” asserts Jeremy Anderson. “And to accomplish that we need to ensure that we not only have the right skills in our workforce, but also that we’re utilising those skills to the maximum effect.


    “In Scotland, for example, there’s been tremendous progress in individual qualifications, but we’re not necessarily seeing the productivity rise that should go hand in hand with that – that’s a clear sign of untapped potential.”


    Jeremy points to the empirical evidence of a correlation between those businesses that train and invest in their people and are successful, as opposed to those that don’t, which are, he states, “more likely to go out of business”.


    The UK Commission for Employment & Skills (UKCES) focus on High-Performance Working (HPW) is designed to create awareness of workforce potential amongst businesses of all sizes, and also to clearly show the real business benefits of decisive action.


    “Our aim is to give people the facts and figures to demonstrate that if they invest in these areas their business performance would improve, they’d be more competitive and that in turn would lead to growth. HPW, for me, means looking at what can be done to unlock the existing talent within organisations to help people perform to their maximum effect.”


    HPW also needs to be benchmarked against the UK’s global competitors to be truly effective he adds.


    “We’re not in a world that’s standing still. We cannot focus solely on the UK when evaluating our skills sets, our productivity and our performance – we need to be looking at where our global competitors are in comparison. There’s a real thirst and hunger in other parts of the world to increase their skills, their qualifications and to drive competitiveness. If we’re not accelerating improvements in productivity, innovation and business agility, we’re not going to remain at the top of the game.”


    Creating a culture that drives HPW is crucial, Jeremy says. The UKCES can provide the evidence and encourage a proactive response, but the real key is to create a culture shift through strong and embedded leadership.


    “Networking is crucial in getting the message across,” he remarks. “It’s a real opportunity to develop understanding of what other organisations have been doing, the difference it has made to them and, from a practical point of view, how they started on that journey.


    “Businesses need to look at whether the levels of performance they have today are sufficient to deliver the achievements they are striving for in five years’ time,” he explains. “Consider what is holding performance back and engage with employees to start the journey towards driving performance improvements now.”


    To find out more about UKCES evidence on High-Performance Working visit www.ukces.org.uk 


    1.    Statistics from www.ukces.org.uk/ourwork/outcome-one/mind-your-own-business 

12/3/2020 8:10:58 AM