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Investors in People Why Bother?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Investors in People Why Bother? As part of my work with Investors in People (IIP) I have been asked to prepare a paper on the motivations for organisations pursuing IIP status. I intend to cover the background to the standards, developments during their history and an examination of the benefits of becoming an acknowledged Investor in People. At the same time I will draw upon the concerns of those who say 'IIP, Why Bother?' and consider what next for the laurel-leafed standard. The IIP process arose out of repeated reports which demonstrated that, compared to our competitors, Britain's workforce held fewer qualifications. Although an estimated �18 billion per annum was spent on training, according to the Training Agency of the Department of Employment, this was far less than our competitors and worryingly the gap was widening. In 1988 a Government White Paper, 'Employment for the 1990s', launched the National Training Task Force (NTTF) which was given the responsibility to 'promote to employers the necessity of their investing in the skills of the working population.' As Sir Brian Wolfson Chairman of the Task Force put it, 'Investment in equipment depreciates whilst investment in people appreciates' and it was against this background that the standards were born. At the same time the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) established a task force to look at similar issues and the report 'Towards a Skills Revolution' came up with the concept of an 'Investor in Training' which contained 10 guiding principles. The eventual standard was based upon the inputs of a range of different employers and represented best practice amongst British industry. The name was finalised as Investors In People and employers fears were allayed that the process of meeting the standard would be unduly bureaucratic and would add value to organisations. Ironically, these concerns have never failed to completely vanish. Although IIP commenced life as a pilot operation in 1991 it did not achieve a formal status until Investors In People UK was established in July 1993. ...read more.

Middle

As Ruth Spellman, writing in the foreword to Taylor and Thackwray (1999), makes clear, 'However, it is important to remember that Investors In People accreditation is the start of the process, not the finish. Working with the Standard is about continuous improvement: continuing to maintain the Standard and reap the ... benefits that the Standard delivers.' Working with this less bureaucratic regime and with the support of our local LSC we scaled down our Project Team commitment from 12 to 6 months prior to reaccreditation. In consultation with the IIP assessor it was agreed that most evidence would be gathered verbally, the IIP Practitioner Handbook 2001 - 2002 (p3.27) confirms that 'There is no requirement whatsoever for the client to prepare a portfolio of evidence or a 'storyboard'. Although some clients may prefer these methods, the assessor should always let the client make an informed choice.' Other than brief written details at outset therefore, verbal evidence alone was to be collected; the Handbook goes on to point out that, '...verbal evidence is the cornerstone of the evidence gathering activity. ...it confirms or otherwise, that the client organisation has a 'people culture' as much as the client organisation is 'doing the right things'. (p3.26) In essence, success would depend upon the perceptions of the staff interviewed by the assessor. This IIP Review in autumn 2001 proved positive and the organisation took a more relaxed approach to the impending assessment. Communication at all levels was improved and much more focused than had been the case in 1999 and there was a genuine understanding of what IIP stood for in relation to AEGON UK Services. The feedback provided by the IIP assessor has added worthwhile business information to the organisation, including the review of the newly-added indicator of Equal Opportunities, Management Development and instances of staff attending training courses without a specific identified business need, a process known in the industry as 'sheepdipping'. ...read more.

Conclusion

and to empower the individuals in those organisations to achieve their full potential.' As Gilliland (1999:148) sums IIP up, 'Investors In People is about training and development.' AEGON UK Services can be rightly proud of its achievements in providing not only focused on-job and in-house training that adds value to the business but also a broad range of development opportunities for its employees. Through our learning partnership with the Trade Union UNIFI and the local college we are able to offer our staff access to the European Computer Driving Licence and the Learndirect programme, broadening employees' skills whilst simultaneously satisfying business; surely the essence of Investors In People? Such is my personal commitment to the IIP Standard that I put myself forward as a potential Investors In People Panel Member in early 2002. I was delighted to be accepted into the role and am now able to provide external input to the recognition process and ensure that the Standard is maintained and interpreted consistently. One final key part of my role, and the driver for all organisations to work with the Standard, is to ensure through the assessment process that the client organisation always receives added value from the feedback report. Finally, Gilliland (1999:140) tells a story which sums up my proposed approach to the IIP framework. Some years ago when working as a consultant with a small company, the Managing Director approached him and asked if he knew about a thing called Investors In People. When asked for his feelings about it, he replied that it was probably just one of those management fads. He was surprised when told that his company '... had been working with Investors In People for nearly nine months.' That is the real essence of the IIP framework; AEGON UK Services has already successfully used the Standard as a development tool prior to our first formal assessment and thereafter adding value to the business. Maintenance of our position in a more relaxed and less mechanical manner will continue to support our business goals into the future. ...read more.

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