According to latest research, improving management capability by just 0.1% can increase productivity by nearly 10%.

Productivity through People is a bespoke 12-month national programme designed for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by Aston Business School and Be the Business.

The programme is dedicated to transforming leadership and management capability in forward-looking SMEs owners and senior management leaders in order to develop modern, high-performance workplace practices.

About the Programme | Programme Elements | Benefits for you and your business | Eligibility | Cost | Apply | Case studies


About the Programme

Productivity through People is a programme for individual owners or small teams of senior leaders, sharing critical insights for success through effective leadership, communication, innovation and people management. 

The programme:

  • Gives a framework to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of your business
  • Provides an unparalleled opportunity to understand the processes and practices behind award-winning private sector organisations where excellence in productivity lies at the heart of business. For example, you will benefit from exclusive visits to highly competitive businesses like The Goodfish Group and EY
  • Enables you to work with leading experts and like-minded business owners in an exclusive peer network achieved through a collaboration of leading private sector organisations and a world-class business school
  • Emphasises how you can improve your workplace strategies and practices as well as enhancing greater employee engagement.

Programme Elements

The programme begins with an induction day dedicated to establishing the peer network, understanding action learning and benchmarking your business to find out how good it really is. This is followed by five masterclasses, three industrial visits and four review webinars. An industrial visit will involve you spending the day with an award-winning organisation like EY as well as other businesses in the region with exceptional examples of transformation and productivity gains. Examples of Masterclass topics include Innovation, Employee Engagement, Internationalisation and IP.

Benefits for you and your business

Productivity through People participants benefit from:

  • Specialist coaching from highly experienced small and medium-sized enterprise experts and academics
  • Assistance with creating business strategies and models that can have a direct impact on your business’ bottom-line and accelerate growth
  • Develop a support network of other SME owners and managers to build a more productive future together
  • Exposure to award-winning manufacturing and professional service environments, which will enable you to formulate high-performance workplace strategies
  • Easily accessible programme delivery in central Birmingham along with visits to live case business around the Midlands.
  • Productivity through People helps bridge the gap between leaders and staff, empowering the front-line workforce to improve efficiency and competitiveness by directly solving business and customer problems.


  • SMEs with between 10 and 249 employees
  • SME owners or members of an organisation’s senior management team
  • Any industry sector
  • Organisation must have been trading for more than twelve months.


We are delighted to offer this programme at a cost of £2,500 per person. The programme is valued at £6,000 per person, however, contributions from our industry partners and sponsors such as the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Growth Hub and Rolls-Royce has enabled us to reduce the cost of the programme for participants. This programme is highly competitive and therefore spaces are limited to 24 participants.


To apply, you will need to complete the online application form below:

Want more information?

To discover more about the Productivity Through People programme, and how it could transform your organisation, please complete your details to express your interest or book a phone call

Case Studies

“Engaging employees in the mission and purpose of the company, and really empowering them to do the job as effectively as possible lies at the heart of successful organisations and, as importantly, is at the heart of sustainable business success.”

Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director, BAE Systems

Play Video

Mark Hart: Deputy Director of the Enterprise Research Centre

Productivity through People: What do you gain?