Major trial to boost UK productivity seeks companies to take part

Notion Ltd teams up with Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub Business Solutions in new training initiative to equip SME’s with necessary skills to succeed in business

SMEs across all sectors in the West Midlands are being invited to take part in a trial of a world-class management training package that could transform their businesses without the need for managers to leave work to attend courses.

With the growing pressures on businesses, many owners falter because they do not have – and have not acquired – the right mix of skills to energise and lead their teams which is one of the biggest challenges faced by SMEs.

More than 150 companies and 1500 managers from throughout the Midlands region are being invited to test the innovative STAR® Manager programme developed by Leamington-based global coaching company Notion.

The Government is backing the trial through Innovate UK with a £315,000 grant under the second round of the Business Basics Fund that explores ways to boost the UK economy.

Results will be analysed by the London School of Economics to assess whether STAR® Manager works as well for SMEs as it has already done for larger enterprises.

Notion and the LSE teamed up with Business Solutions, the commercial arm of the Growth Hub at Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) to form a consortium to run the project and secure funding.

They are seeking companies with between 10 and 250 employees, a turnover of less than £25 million and assets below £12 million to take part in the trials.

STAR® Manager is designed to embed transformational change across an organisation without taking managers out of the business for training. Instead, managers follow a blend of 18 different activities that will instil new habits while at work.

The six-month programme can be completed with a commitment of less than one hour a week and leads to improved performance, productivity, creativity and employee engagement as well as reduced costs.

Companies are already reporting impressive results from the STAR® Manager programme: 63% of managers report that their team has shown increased problem-solving skills, 60% say their personal productivity has increased and 47% that their teams have become more engaged.

Dominic Ashley-Timms, Managing Director of Notion, said: “This is a really exciting project and we are delighted to offer SMEs the opportunity to embrace changes that will really drive the productivity and creativity of their businesses forward.

“STAR® Manager is a unique programme that focuses on building behavioural change. It goes far beyond a simple e-learning course, supporting managers to adopt new habits that will add value to the business.

“Activities include workplace missions, quizzes, reflective reviews and access to expert tutors. The programme is fun, dynamic and focused and the results are positive and long-lasting.”

Phil Peak, Operations Director of Business Solutions said: “SMEs contribute nearly half of the revenue of the UK economy so boosting productivity in this sector is important for the future success of the country.

“STAR® Manager is already delivering fantastic results and it will be interesting to see just how much of a boost it will give to SMEs taking part in the project.

“The beauty of STAR® Manager for SMEs is that it is cost-effective and does not require managers to be taken away from their regular duties, which can sometimes be difficult for smaller companies.

“We are delighted to be part of the consortium that will drive forward growth in this area.”

Companies wishing to participate will be offered STAR® Manager at a reduced cost of £350 plus VAT per person. Applications should be made via the website: