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People, Skills & Talent

Why should businesses care about inclusive growth?

Inclusive growth seems to be a hot topic when speaking with businesses across Greater Manchester at the moment, but there is confusion as to what it means. As with most terms, the synonyms may have changed over the years but the meanings are the same.

The term ‘inclusive growth’ refers to the speed and sustainability at which an area’s economy can grow. Financial, mental, physical, environmental and social inequalities are all impacted by our workplaces, education, communities and social circles.

Around a quarter of Greater Manchester communities are among the 10% most deprived areas in the country in relation to skill levels, household income, health issues and life expectancy. The vicious circle then leaves those in poverty suffering with an inequality of health.

A specific example of this is fuel poverty. Fuel poverty is a huge factor which has a harmful effect on families across the region: it can lead to the need for alternative travel arrangements, which can lead to longer journey times, which can lead to raised anxiety or stress levels once arriving to work, which can lead to poor performance and/or decreased productivity. I am generalising, but you can see how the cycle can continue.

An example of supporting the reduction of fuel poverty could be; providing flexible working for staff (perhaps working from home or adjusting hours to miss heavily congested timeframes), health initiatives such as cycle to work schemes but also when recruiting new members of staff, looking locally using support from the local authority and utilising local training providers in the recruitment of apprentices. Flipped into a positive, this can increase productivity, well-being and retention of staff.

The ‘Inclusive Growth’ challenge is to bring opportunity to those deprived areas, and to bridge the gap in prosperity, through our main vehicle: local business growth. Businesses have the power to make a huge economic impact within not only their own business, but surrounding communities and the wider local authority. Over the coming months I will be adding further blogs that go into more detail on the below topics;

  • National Living Wage and the Real Living Wage
  • Reduction of zero-hour contracts
  • Productivity
  • Absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Health and wellbeing

All the above can have a significant impact on inclusive growth, and Business Growth Hub is continually working to support businesses in making those changes.

Equipping businesses with the knowledge and support framework to make this change happen is now our biggest challenge over the coming years, but already we are making huge strides.

My role as a Leadership and Workforce Development Advisor allows me to meet with business owners on a regular basis and the key contact point to begin the change conversation. Our team are able to speak with businesses on all of the above points and demonstrate the wider impact those changes can make on the short, medium and long-term growth plans for business.

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Find out how the Hub can help to promote inclusive growth in your business, Enquire & Grow today.

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Matthew Richardson

Matthew Richardson , Leadership and Workforce Development Advisor

Matt has over 10 years’ experience of working in both the health and charity sectors to improve systematic change in behaviour towards community and workforce development. Matt now works within the Leadership and Workforce Development Team, whilst supporting the Business Growth Hub and Combined Authorities Inclusive Growth agenda. Matt has experience of running nationwide health improvement programmes and in 2015 worked in partnership with the World Health Organisation to create the world’s first British Sign Language version of the Alcohol AUDIT screening tool.

Contact Matt at matthew.richardson@growthco.uk or via LinkedIn.