The businesses were all involved in the UK Futures Programme, an £8.8 million co-investment programme between public and private sectors to address workplace productivity.
Businesses, universities, local authorities and other partners collaborated in 32 projects to address skills and productivity problems and make improvements to how businesses are run.
The projects were based around a series of productivity challenges such as developing leadership and entrepreneurship skills in small firms, addressing skill deficiencies and improving leadership and managerial skills.
Big businesses were joined by smaller firms and other organisations all concerned to improve workplace productivity.
Organisations present included the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, which developed a vision of what good management looks like in their sector, Robert Woodhead Ltd, which tried out new ways to improve management skills amongst their supply chain, and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall restaurant and partners which tested toolkits to change how jobs are designed to make them better for staff and for business.
Scott Waddington, chief executive of SA Brain & Co Ltd and UKCES Commissioner says, I’d like to thank all those businesses that took calculated risks to find new ways to improving business productivity – a really vital issue for all our well-being.’
Productivity in practice
Simon Schnieders, founder of SEO agency Blue Array, says employee morale is incredibly important for a growing business to achieve the most from its staff. The company ensures it has a clear focus on staff wellbeing and health by offering a free gym membership and healthy supply of fresh fruit to help boost workplace productivity.
‘Our team works relatively low hours compared to many agencies at just 33 hours. This is to help them maintain a better work/life balance which I believe is hugely important to keep staff happy and motivated,’ Schneiders says.
A key way to keep employees happy and productive is to make them feel valued,’ he adds. ‘We offer monthly one-to-one reviews to ensure clear career progression and track their general wellbeing in the office. We will also soon start offering employees share options where we’ll be ring fencing 10 per cent of the business to give them a real stake in the success of the business.’
Browser Media, is focusing on staff’s wellbeing this summer, with its managing director having arranged therapies such as meditation, reiki and massage. ‘It’s in an effort to make sure we’re all feeling our best so we can produce our best work, but also to ensure we take time out to enjoy a moment away from our PCs; a few minutes out just to relax,’ says employee Libby Bearman.