The first day o…

The first day of this month didn’t seem the best date to debut a new blog – with more and more companies vying for coverage with their pranks.

What risk then that the announcements that we wanted to make about the new approach to Investors in People might be interpreted as an April Fool ? Based on recent conversations with a number of senior HR folk, then very possibly.

In the latest Business Superbrands index, Investors in People sits at 173, nestling between Ogilvy and Mather and British Gas Business. The quality and profile of the brands in the Top 500 is a reflection on how far Investors in People as become an established part of the business environment. Indeed it’s the only “Superbrand” to have emerged from government policy.

And yet, when we tell most people who think they know about IIP about what we do now, there’s a very consistent response – “I had no idea you did that”.

Let me get one thing straight. We’re really proud of the track record of Investors in People. Over 20 years we have helped thousands of organisations in different ways. One of IIP’s great features has been our ability to continually develop and evolve our approach. Just as we have tried to encourage an ethos of continuous improvement in organisations, so we have applied that philosophy ourselves. What was right in 1992, was different to what was right for 2002 and what is right for 2012. The challenge is that many people still think we’re operating with the 1992 version!

So what have we learnt in 20 years, which have helped shape our thinking as we launch our new approach

  • that process and paperwork are flawed as measures of whether an organisation invests in its people – nevertheless many HR / OD “strategies” are focussed on process not outcome
  • that training and developing skills is vital to organisation success, but only if it is accompanied by an equal commitment to using those skills through effective leadership and management
  • that a lot of HR and people plans are driven by an objective relating to being a good employer rather than delivering the business plan
  • that one size most definitely does not fit all – and benchmarking practices should be undertaken with great caution
  • that staff satisfaction surveys – which are now re-labelled engagement surveys are an effective means of understanding what’s happening “out there” but necessarily about why things are happening.

These are all factors which have helped shape our thinking. These are the reasons why when we explain the way in which we work with organisations, the surprise is often tangible, and it’s why launching our latest development on 1st April could be a risk. These are the principles which underpin that approach and which will be the subject or further blogs in the very near future.

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