Scottish Enterprise Helps Companies to Raise the Bar

Entrepreneurs / 12th August 2016

Scottish Enterprise (SE) has exceeded its targets by providing almost 700 companies with support for leadership development this past year, demonstrating a growing understanding from businesses of the key role which leaders play in driving enhanced performance.

Business leaders which Scottish Enterprise works with often acknowledge that their workforce is their biggest competitive advantage. SE’s support focuses on helping them to develop themselves and be able to better leverage the power of their people in order to drive enhanced productivity. Participants often attribute increased performance to improving leadership approaches. 

SE set a target of providing 600-650 new entrants to SE’s leadership and organisational support programmes for the year ending April 2016. These attracted a cross-section of 686 total businesses from a diverse range of industries including energy, food & drink, and the construction sectors.* 

This year has also seen an increased focus on supporting businesses in the north east, including a series of resilience events, master classes, leadership programmes and productivity workshops for oil and gas businesses through the Scottish Government’s Energy Jobs Taskforce.

Adrian Gillespie, Managing Director, Growth Companies, Innovation & Infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise said: “We know from companies we’ve worked with that a strong focus on leadership development has a significant and positive impact on business performance. EPP and Sercon are two great examples of this. Great leadership brings out the best in people, enabling and empowering them to fulfil their potential and help their company succeed.”

EPP Ltd in Penicuik is a specialist analytical and development services firm for chemical, life and environmental science companies. It has grown from 23 to 32 employees in the past 12 months, with turnover up by approximately 40 per cent. Managing director, James Stuart, attributes this to the organisational development and leadership training the company has undertaken.

EPP Ltd managing director James Stuart said: “We’ve worked quite intensively with Scottish Enterprise to develop our leadership across the company, with three of our key people having gone through the Leadership for Growth and Managing People for Growth programmes, and three more signed up for it. We’ve also benefited from in-depth assistance on organisational development, supported by focused workshops, which has helped us to align the way we lead and structure the company with our business goals.

“This has changed the face of the business by restructuring our recruitment and team management processes which in turn has led to exciting fresh talent, an evolving and more energised new company culture, and a positive shift in client relationships as they have responded to our happier and more engaged team.”

Lorraine Murray, MBE, CEO of national multi-service facilities management provider Sercon Services in Irvine attributes a 6 per cent increase in its turnover, as well as a renewed strategic focus, to the leadership support it has received. Sercon has also diversified its services and attracted additional talent to the business as a direct result of the leadership training and mentoring it has been exposed to.

Lorraine Murray, MBE, said: “We’ve seen huge and tangible benefits to our business from the leadership training we’ve undertaken with Scottish Enterprise. With more focus on where we are going and how to get there, turnover continues to increase and staff retention is excellent.

“Personally I’ve benefited from one-on-one leadership coaching offered to us by SE, which has given me refreshed vision and confidence on steering our business. I also attended a learning journey to the USA, which I would highly recommend to any company, no matter the size. Targeted support like this can really make a difference to your daily work as well as the company’s bottom line.”

SE’s experience has shown that leadership development is most effective when it extends traditional training methods to be more personalised. This is illustrated by the high percentage of individuals accessing mentoring (67 per cent) and as a result SE places peer-to-peer learning at the heart of its support.

In 2016/17, SE aims to engage an additional 675-850 growing businesses in leadership development and a further 725-1,000 in 2017/18.

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