Solving Britain’s productivity puzzle: UK growth companies have the answer

10/09/2018
Read Time: 3 Min
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ECI’s 2018 Growth Survey

ECI’s 2018 Growth Survey, the only annual survey in the UK focused solely on high growth companies, polls business sentiment and analyses productivity gains. This year’s report shows that growth companies are achieving significant productivity gains (13.5% over the last year) by investing in people skills, technology and social media:

  • 71% of growth companies are investing in new IT, rising to 95% in the North West, to speed up processes and increase efficiencies;
  • 70% are training staff in new skills, rising to 77% in TMT companies, as they seek to boost employee output;
  • 54% of companies are leveraging social media for marketing, sales and other processes. This isn’t limited to consumer companies (71% of firms) but also business services (48%) and financial services firms (42%);
  • Companies are also embracing automation in service delivery and warehousing to drive improvement

ECI’s own portfolio has experienced a 12% CAGR in productivity growth since date of investment and over the same time period increased annual investment by 39% and created 1,356 new jobs.

Philip Shaw, Chief Economist at Investec, said: 

The Government has identified boosting productivity as a key priority for the UK economy: ECI’s Growth Survey shows us just how growth companies are delivering on this front where Britain’s wider corporate landscape is struggling. It’s time to sit up, take notice and learn how they are delivering such stellar results. This isn’t rocket science: investment in technology and skills are key to solving Britain’s productivity puzzle.

Philip Shaw 

Chief Economist at Investec

Growth companies are the biggest creators of jobs and wealth in this country, so what they say and do have enormous importance for the wider UK economy, especially as we enter a period of uncertainty around Brexit. While our economy continues to languish with poor productivity it is enormously heartening to see growth companies bucking the trend – and how! Wider UK plc should take a leaf out of their book.

Suzanne Pike

at ECI

You can achieve great productivity by hiring and unlocking people who may feel constrained in bigger companies. They often have amazing training and skills, but can get frustrated by the speed of decision making and overall bureaucracy in these environments. We like to think that as a growing SME we can offer people greater overall freedom, broader ‘access all areas’ exposure and plenty of opportunities to grow without the full blown risks of starting one’s own business and not being sure if a pay cheque is arriving each month.”

Mark Palmer

 Co-Founder at soft drinks maker Cawston Press

We have made significant productivity gains by building technology in house and with open source solutions. The tools we have developed drive efficiency, particularly within our own data research centre in Cardiff. From a standing start last year, we now have 35 people there, focused entirely on researching the asset management and institutional investor space

Charlie Ker 

CEO of Pageant Media

We motivate our people to deliver quality work. We use bonuses, look at Net Promoter Scores and match this to the profitability of accounts. We also encourage collaboration between offices; we don’t want them operating in silos.

Nick Corrie 

Founder of telematics firm Trak Global Group

We give our developers three hours a week for independent learning, to drive their personal development. We also take the team out of the day-to-day and host hackathons, looking at the problems we’re trying to solve as a business. New ideas ultimately drive productivity gains.

Mick Crosthwaite 

Executive Chairman of HAS Technology Group

We are dedicated to boosting customer productivity. A customer can ask us to tweak a feature and often our IT department will make the change on the same day.

Ann Chapman 

Co-founder of Minesoft

What are the character traits and motivations of growth CEOs?

View ECI's Growth Characteristics 2021

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