Growing Business Awards 2010: People and Performance shortlist

The People and Performance Award at our Real Business/CBI Growing Business Awards recognises companies introducing modern people management practices to transform commercial performance. Many SMEs live a hand-to-mouth existence when it comes to people management and performance management; the day-to-day focus is on getting the job done. However, increasing numbers of smaller businesses do seem to realise that time spent on top-notch people management can transform commercial fortunes.

Past winners of this award include Scottish water firm Business Stream and training consultancy BEcause. This year, the shortlist ranges from engineering to enzymes to IT. It’s an extraordinary group of businesses that can, as you’ll see below, make a clear link between investment in people and commercial outcome.

This is the first of our in-depth looks at this year’s Growing Business Awards shortlists. Congratulations to this group. Next week, we’ll be bringing you more.

  • Festo is a privately owned manufacturing and engineering firm established in the UK in 1968. This is a really inspirational first company on our shortlists. The company imports and sells pneumatic/fluid power and technology based products, as well as providing training and consultancy services. Festo has grown market share in a market that has declined significantly in recent years, through an incredible coaching culture. Testament to its success is the high percentage of staff that have served with the firm for more than 20 years. The financials don’t look bad either: the latest publicly available figures show ?500,000-plus profits on a ?22m turnover.
  • Originally an MBO from Grand Met, Biocatalysts is an ?5m-turnover Industrial Biotechnology Company that manufactures enzymes primarily for the food processing industry and over 90 per cent of business is exported globally. The Welsh business has an innovative Pay and Reward process that is linked to rewarding performance, culture and behaviours.  Interestingly, the company also holds its own, internal ?Innovation Awards Ceremony?. This year (to September 2010) the company is looking at 25 per cent sales growth and a 20 per cent hike in profits.
  • Higgidy is one of the UK?s most innovative food businesses, running just shy of ?10m turnover and set to be the largest employer in Shoreham on Sea. Entrepreneur-founded, the business sells its pies and quiches into many multiples and is developing a range of niche, branded meals for the multiples. Unlike many in the food sector, it relies totally on full-time labour and pays well above the minimum wage. This is definitely a food brand to watch! Aims to be a ?30m business in five years.
  • Our next candidate has its own ?chief happiness officer?, but don?t cringe; IT Lab is a very serious business making ?500k profits on a ?5m turnover. The fast-growing firm has offices in the UK, New Zealand and South Africa. IT Lab?s mission is to transform IT from a drudging cost into a genuine competitive advantage for all clients. The company has developed its own ?service obsession? programme, part of which offers clients 24/7 IT infrastructure monitoring.
  • Originally an MBO, CBS Butler is a ?35m-turnover, ?600k-net profits multi-award winning company specialising in technical appointments for both the UK and overseas employment markets. Seventy per cent of business is with bluechip or major companies affording very high levels of customer loyalty with an average tenure of key accounts six years plus.  In 2010, the Recruiter Magazine recognised CBSbutler as the ‘Best Technical Recruitment Agency’ and ‘Agency of the Year’, together with being highly commended for ‘Best Customer Service’ and ‘Best Employer’. Notably, for these awards, the business has a very innovative ?Good boss? programme designed to improve management performance.
The Growing Business Awards are held on November 25 at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square, in the company of many of Britain’s finest business leaders and entrepreneurs. All booking details are at the Growing Business Awards website.

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