Support


Connections are crucial to the success of any business. Visit our latest news to keep up to date with the latest business news from across the region.

Connect. Support. Grow.
 
Chamber Services


Connections are crucial to the success of any business. Visit our latest news to keep up to date with the latest business news from across the region.

Connect. Support. Grow.
 
Connect


Connections are crucial to the success of any business. Visit our latest news to keep up to date with the latest business news from across the region.

Connect. Support. Grow.
 
Connect. Support. Grow.


Become a Chamber member today and access a range of benefits to connect, support and grow your business

Connect. Support. Grow.
 
Connect


Connections are crucial to the success of any business. Visit our latest news to keep up to date with the latest business news from across the region.

Connect. Support. Grow.
 

Uncertain world order is making leadership and people management more important than ever

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

This blog post is part of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s 2019 Growth Through People campaign. Growth Through People is the annual Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity through improved leadership and people management skills. Delivered by the GBCC with a range of partners, it includes free training sessions, workshops and events alongside research and thought leadership content. This year, the campaign ran from 25th February – 22nd March 2019. 500 delegates attended 16 free events. Click here to find out more and don’t forget to join the conversation on social media with #GTP19.

In Short:

Bolstering leadership and people management skills within business should be considered a key part of mitigating the impact of a potentially disorderly Brexit on businesses, especially given increasing constraints on budgets for training.

In Full:

More important than ever?

Bolstering leadership and people management skills within business should be considered a key part of mitigating the impact of a potentially disorderly Brexit on businesses.

As former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, “There are known knowns… known unknowns…[and]… unknown unknowns.” Brexit, it seems, offers us both of the latter, though very little – if any – of those known knowns.

Uncertainty is a huge challenge for business leaders – as Chamber member and author Jude Jennison (Founder of Leaders By Nature) explained during the campaign, ‘the current uncertainty in business and increasing workloads exacerbates emotional disconnections.’

Those attending campaign events agreed. 49% of survey respondents expect that in light of Brexit, investment in leadership and people management skills will become more important (with 38% anticipating the importance of this investment remaining the same, 2% expecting it to become less important and 11% answering ‘don’t know’).

So we train people up… what’s the issue?

More businesses are already facing a (perceived) lack of budget for training, and budgets are expected to stay the same or decrease in light of Brexit.

46% of businesses perceived a lack of budget for training as a barrier to increasing investment in leadership and/or people management skills and training - making it the most frequently cited barrier.

This barrier – a lack of budget for training - was identified by 31% of organisations in 2018.

This jump of 15 percentage points reflects the results of the GBCC’s Quarterly Business Report (QBR), which showed business investment falling at the start of this year, in the face of ongoing political uncertainty. An increasing number of firms reported cutting their training spend over the three months to March 2019 (20% as opposed to 8% in Q4 2018) and nationally, overall business investment fell between Q2 and Q3 of 2018 – the third consecutive drop in activity between quarters.

Meanwhile, Growth Through People surveying indicated that training budgets are expected to remain stagnant or decrease - just 6% of respondents believe budgets for investment in leadership and people management skills are likely to increase. 40% expect them to remain the same and 30% anticipate budgets decreasing.

What can stakeholders do?

Bolstering leadership and people management skills within business should be considered a key part of mitigating the impact of a potentially disorderly Brexit on businesses.

CMI estimate that “the UK currently has an estimated 2.4m accidental and unskilled managers, promoted into leadership roles because of their functional expertise but left to sink or swim when it comes to management.” (Leadership for Change, 2017)

Stagnating or decreasing budgets for training these managers to deal with unprecedented and extended periods of uncertainty poses a danger that in times of such economic ambiguity, leaders are not fully trained to ensure their organisation effectively ‘weathers the storm.’

Allowing greater flexibility on investing apprenticeship levy funds in other areas of workplace training may be a part of effective interventions. 22% of those surveyed during Growth Through People this year responded that greater flexibility on investing apprenticeship levy funds in other areas of workplace training would incentivise their organisation to invest more in leadership and/or people management related skills and training. This 22% included 29% of those citing a lack of budget for training as a barrier to investment in leadership and/or people management skills and training.

Aside from this, following further analysis of data collected during Growth Through People 2019, I have also proposed developing existing business support to offer independent and reliable information on types of training and available providers, and harnessing existing best practice in the local business community to encourage widespread increases in productivity (see Growth Through People Blogs: The skills landscape is too confusing; and Almost every business faces leadership and people management challenges).

Emily Stubbs
Policy and Patron Advisor
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce