People are a business’s most valuable asset. Worth £17.61 trillion in 2013, that’s more than twice as much as machinery or buildings.
A business’s employees are key to helping it to grow and compete. And because 90% of today’s workforce will still be in the jobs market in the next decade, businesses need to make sure they are getting the most out of all their employees to keep growing.
Undoubtedly businesses want to do more: 90% say that building employee capabilities are among their top priorities for their organisations. It’s hard to measure, but the impact of training can lift annual budgets by up to 2–3%, paying back the training programme’s cost several times.
Businesses are already working hard to ensure that they are investing in their employees significantly by spending over £40 billion on training and development for their employees every year. But even when businesses know what the returns can be, actually managing employee development throws up its own challenges. For example, smaller enterprises might lack the capacity to run large programmes, or certain businesses might be typically male dominated or some firms might just not know the best place to start.
And even when firms get started, it doesn’t mean the challenges are over. Complex situations which some businesses do not feel equipped to manage include embedding a culture where progression is a key focus from the boardroom right throughout the business, being able to front the initial cost before the rewards can be seen and engaging and supporting employees who are not on well-defined talent development programmes. Guidance, lessons learned and helpful tips are what’s needed to support businesses in their efforts to help staff progress.
And that’s why we’re focusing on these issues via the Great Business Debate. Many of the CBI’s members are already running programmes of leadership development and talent management; offering training and development courses across a range of topics from management, to technical expertise, to workplace behaviours; running apprenticeship schemes that bring young talent up through the company.
So we’ve collated a few clear examples to demonstrate how businesses are boosting the development of their people and business productivity.
 Building Organisational Capabilities, McKinsey Survey Results, Forbes report 2010