Productivity of employees

Your employees are often the lynchpin in your business. Without them, your life would be a lot harder, as you wouldn’t be able to handle all of the daily tasks of running your business alone. Not only is it important to hammer down the skills gap on your team, you’ll need to show you value them. If you’re ready to improve the performance of employees and get more out of your resources, give us a call at the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Growth Hub. For free, we’ll have a chat with you about what problems your facing, then point you in the right direct for funding.

Succession Planning

When you think of succession planning, you might associate it with retirement and stepping down from your business. Succession planning is exactly that, but it’s also about ensuring you can improve performance of employees. Without succession planning, you could face two big risks. The transition into your retirement won’t be smooth and you may face unnecessary stress. Plus, if you decide to leave your business to a family member, you’ll have to think about legal obligations and you want to get this right.

Succession planning could also be about filling a gap if an employee is promoted. For example, if you have someone in charge of the supply chain and they’re the only employee to have a relationship with the supplier, what will you do if they get promoted or leave your business? You might struggle to fill their space with someone who has the same knowledge and is able to handle their role. In this instance, an apprentice, intern of junior staff member may be useful. They can work side-by-side with your employee and pick up the relevant skills and knowledge along the way. Then if that employee is promoted, you have someone to fill their shoes and you’ll be able to run your business much smoother. There is funding available to cover the cost of apprentices if you’re based in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding area. Speak to us at the Growth Hub and we could provide you with information on the funding for apprenticeships.

Without a plan for the future, your business could be at stake, so there’s no harm in making arrangements now, rather than later. If you think of succession in terms of you leaving the business, you have a few options for your next steps. For example, handing the business over to a family member, selling or closing the business, or hiring outside management to run the business.

If you start planning your succession, you’ll see benefits, such as:

  • Create stability within your business: if you know who is going to fill your shoes, or a past employee’s, you can get that person trained up in advance, so efficiency levels don’t drop.
  • Sustain income: people won’t work for free and they’ll feel more confident in their role if they know that they’ll be paid and kept on after you step down.
  • Identify potential within employees: succession planning involves identifying skills within employees and promotion opportunities. You’ll also pick up on weaknesses and if your current team need further training. There’s lot of funding around skills support if you’re based in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding area. To find out more, get in touch with the Growth Hub.
  • Improved performance: training must be put into place to provide employees with knowledge and skills to fill vacancies. By training them, you’ll see an improvement in efficiency and time management.

For support on handling succession management, get in touch with the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Growth Hub. We can find out which will be the best funding support for your business. For example, the Manufacturing Growth Programme can help you access consultants to take you through succession management. Or, you might benefit from the wide range of skills funding that is available.

Communication of the strategy

Improving the performance of your employees will depend on how well you communicate your strategy. In theory, communication might seem fairly straightforward. However, some business owners often fall short and struggle to find where they went wrong.

To be effective with communication, you need to keep it simple. You don’t want to confuse your employees, so be direct about what your intentions are and don’t beat around the bush. If you make your instructions too long-winded, your employees may lose track or stop paying attention. But also try to make your story relatable. If you just present facts and figures, your staff won’t remember the details and may be unmotivated to try new challenges.

By considering the following, implementing your strategy should be more achievable:

  • Clarify your strategy – make sure your plan is accessible to everyone on the team, so they can fully understand what you want to achieve and can get behind it.
  • Communicate your strategy – communication is key. You’ll need to ensure that your strategic planning is passed onto everyone, as they’ll all need to know about the bigger picture.
  • Cascade your strategy – translate your strategy into manageable task, so explain to people what their role is and how that’ll impact your business’s goals. People need to have responsibility and a stake in the plan to feel committed to it.

These are relatively simple solutions you may have overlooked, but if you want some advice about how to progress, get in touch with the Growth Hub. Our advice is free, so give us a call and we’ll point you in the right direction for possible funding. For example, the Manufacturing Growth Programme can help you to access a consultant.

Assertiveness and personal effectiveness

To improve performance of employees, you should also be aware of the skills you have as an employer and make sure you aren’t hindering yourself. Being assertive and aware of personal effectiveness are key skills to running a successful business. If you’re effectively assertive, you could see an increase in employee motivation and efficiency.

There is a fine line between aggression and assertiveness. Being assertive means you are clear and direct with your staff – you know when to crack the whip and when to cut them some slack. It’s good to have a friendly relationship with your staff, but you need to find the balance and be able to confidently instruct them and offer constructive criticism. If you take this too far, your employees could see you as aggressive.

Being effective links into communication and delegation as well – it’s all about that balance again. If you take on too much, you’ll put yourself under pressure and may miss deadlines, but equally handing jobs off to everyone else won’t get you far.

For advice on finding that balance with assertiveness, get in touch with the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Growth Hub and we direct you to the best funding support.

Presenting with impact

Presenting with impact can really benefit your business. By presenting clearly and effectively, you’ll be able to get your message or opinion across and possibly persuade people to support your cause. It’s definitely worth brushing up on your presentation skills

Impactful presentations usually happen when:

  • You’ve fully prepared. Whatever your subject, make sure you do all the necessary research or have collected any figures that could support your statements. Don’t just wing it.
  • You stay on topic and focused. If you’re nervous, there is probably a temptation to go off on a tangent or ramble. But, doing this would make you lose the attention of your audience and they may even forget what the whole purpose of your presentation was.
  • You’re passionate about what you’re discussing. Your audience will feel more engaged if you’re enthusiastic and confident about your subject.

If you want to develop you or your staff’s skills in presentations, get in touch with the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Growth Hub. However you feel about presentations, we’re happy to help and direct you towards relevant funding.


Self-awareness is important in terms of leadership, motivation and empathy – all skills that would benefit your work life. The SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) is often used to analyse a new market or a potential business strategy. It can also be applied to building up self-awareness to improve the development of your business. For example, a strength for you might be that your confident and self-assured (great qualities of a leader), but your weakness is that you find it hard to delegate. So, you’ll need to acknowledge that flaw and work out sharing the workload. Otherwise, you could put too much stress on yourself and not get jobs completed, or end up with high quantities but low quality.

You could also encourage your staff to work on their self-awareness, which could lead to them learning how to be more motivated and productive. By continuing to explore and examine yourself will not just give you a better understanding and appreciation of yourself, but also assist your business to grow and develop too.

If you’d like to become more self-aware, give the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Growth Hub a call. We’re not here to sell, just offer solutions. So, you want to find a consultant to talk you through your self-assessment? We can put you in touch with the Manufacturing Growth Programme which will help you to fund a consultant.

Prioritising Time

The success of a business relies on a range of factors, including being able to make proper use of time. Ineffective use of time could impact on your profits (e.g. if you’re not manufacturing your products at an appropriate pace, then your consumers might seek your goods from elsewhere to save time) and result in dissatisfaction for yourself or those working with you. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors and retain loyal customers, you need to use your time wisely.

Prioritising time might feel like a juggling act of your work and home life, so it’s important you find that balance. By prioritising your tasks and improving your time management, you’ll feel less need to let your home become overridden with business talk. Some simple changes can make a big difference:

  • Keep a to-do list: if you rank tasks according to importance you’ll know where most of your time needs to be spent. If it’s something urgent vs an ongoing, minor task, the urgent one should obviously hold your attention first. Set realistic deadlines on your to-do list and stick to it.
  • Review your workload regularly: make sure important tasks haven’t been overlooked. You don’t want to realise close to the deadline that you’ve forgotten a job for an important customer and left yourself no time. Your customer would be less than impressed and worst case, they might take their business elsewhere.
  • Delegate work: if you know you’re running out of time, then focus on the tasks that rely on your skills and position. Then, when possible, ask for a helping hand from someone who possibly has some time to spare.

The success of a business might seem like a distance thought if you feel like you don’t even have a spare moment to catch your breath. If this sounds like a familiar position, give us a call (it can be quick, so you won’t lose precious time) at the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Growth Hub and we’ll make sure you get the support you need.

Talent Management

Basically, talent management is exactly what it sounds like and can impact the success of a business. It’s about finding employees who are particularly suited to your business needs and developing their skills, whilst also ensuring that they want to stay working with you. By managing talent, you’ll be less likely to have a skills gap problem and a shortage of staff. This should definitely be at the top of the list for HR.

A few processes that are part of talent management include:

  • Job description development: be clear about what you want from future employees. If you don’t mention a required skill, you can’t expect them to possess it immediately once they start working for you. By clarifying specifically what you want, you can ensure that only people with those skills apply for the job
  • On-the-job training: you’ve managed to bag yourself some ideal employees, but your work doesn’t end there. Keep them incentivised and motivated with on-the-job training, otherwise they may become bored with routine and search for a job elsewhere.
  • Feedback and support: to continuously develop your staff, having 1 to 1s and feedback sessions can be useful. Listen to your staff’s opinion and they’ll feel more valued, but also give them constructive criticism to ensure they’ve constantly developing. If you’re short on time, don’t worry, these meet-ups don’t have to be weekly – just don’t completely neglect them.

If you’re looking to make some employment changes or upscale your current staff, it’s worth looking into talent management. For more information, get in touch with the Growth Hub and we’ll put you in touch with the right funding programme. There’s lots of support around skills training, such as the Skills Support for the Workforce which will cover the full costs of your chosen course.

Getting the best from your team

Making the most of your business isn’t just about having the best machinery. To stand out from your competitors, you’ll need to look at a core part of your business – the performance of your employees. Even if you think you have the dream team on board, there’s always room for improvement and chances to get more out of your team. Plus, if you’re interested in implementing new systems (e.g. lean manufacturing, six sigma) then you’ll need to help your staff through the transition so that they are still performing at a high level.

Hammering down the skills gap could provide lots of opportunities for your business. Training staff on various technology will improve their flexibility for handling different machinery and could lead to improved quality on your goods. This is why it’s important to keep their skills updated and you should promote learning and development. Training can also be a useful tool to boost staff morale.

There is support available for skills training if you’re worried about the costs of teaching your staff. Give the Growth Hub a call, let us know what you want and we’ll find out what support is available that could benefit you.

Roles and Responsibilities

Clearly defining employees’ roles and responsibilities is something managers and recruiters often overlook, even though it can strongly impact the performance of employees. You’ll be surprised by the amount of employees that don’t fully understand the definition of their role. Without this clarification, your staff may lack direction and motivation, and even skip jobs, believing the responsibility of someone else. By stating your expectations, you should see an improvement in efficiency levels.

So, make sure you have a position description that includes: a clear job description (e.g. what is your employee responsible for), the required skills of the job (this should help you to hire the right staff), experience and educational requirements and performance management (how the employee will be evaluated). These a few simple tasks which could lead you to hiring the right people for the job and improved effectiveness and efficiency.

Need help defining the roles and responsibilities? Give us a call at the Growth Hub. We’re all about finding you the solutions, without any of the sales pitch. We can point you in the right direction for funding to help you manage roles and responsibilities within your business. For example, the Manufacturing Growth Programme can help fund the payment for a consultant.

Giving effective feedback

Giving your employees regular feedback can be great for improving the performance of employees. You can explain what’s not working and keep them on the right track, so that efficiency doesn’t suffer in your business. What’s important is to remember to be constructive. Some people take criticism better than others and see it as a chance to grow, whilst some employees may take the feedback as a personal insult.

Being effective doesn’t have to cost you anything, or take much effort. For example, make sure your employee is comfortable when you give the feedback. Having an informal chat with them personally definitely beats discussing their weaknesses in front of a big team. If they feel safe, they’ll likely be more open to taking your comments on board.

Be positive and keep a balance between the good and the bad, otherwise they may feel like you’re being unnecessarily harsh and become disheartened. Feedback shouldn’t be a battle – you’re on their side and want them to continuously develop.

Give specific details about how they can progress. There’s no point making vague comments such as ‘you’re too quiet in meetings’. Give them action plans, such as you’d like to hear them give a least one comment in meetings, as you appreciate their opinion. This way they know what’s expected of them and will feel valued as you’ve been positive.

There will be alternative methods you can use to increase effectiveness, but this is a good starting point. For more information, give the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Growth Hub a call. It’s worth improving your feedback sessions with staff, as you could see improvements to their performance, retention and employee loyalty.

Resource planning

It can be difficult to accurately guess your future requirements and a bad understanding of this can lead to financial troubles. For example, if you don’t accurately understand your financial resources and you invest too much money in new machinery, you could face serious instability. However, if you’ve worked out that you need more cash early on, you could look at increase that resource through financial support. The process of identifying what resources you may be lacking is called resource planning. This includes the resources you already have and those that you will need to acquire – whether that’s more money, more employees or new equipment.

If you need help with resource planning then get in touch with the Growth Hub. Whether you’re interested in expert advice or funding support, we can point you in the right direction and save you wasting time searching for this yourself.


Creating the best team for your business takes more than just hiring the right people. You should look at continuously developing your employees through feedback and training, so don’t get complacent. It’s also important to think about how you impact your business by being more self-aware. You shouldn’t preach ‘do as I say, not as I do’. If you and your staff are both constantly adapting and looking to improve, then you’re more likely to see business success. Give the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Growth Hub a call if you need some support with finding appropriate funding.

If your interested in finding our more then you can get in touch at support@howsbusiness.org



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