Investors in People recently launched a new, more tailored approach to delivering the Investors in People Standard. Chief executive Simon Jones (pictured below) talks about the changes, and explains what organisations who work with Investors in People need to know.
Q Let’s recap: what does Investors in People do?
A Investors in People is a business improvement partner for organisations of all sectors and sizes. Launched in 1991, it has helped thousands of employers to develop and enhance their performance. Our flagship product, the Investors in People Standard, helps improve performance through a planned approach to setting and communicating business objectives and developing people to deliver them.
Q You have existed for 18 years – why change now?
A We regularly review and update the framework and our services. This new approach was developed following discussions with customers, who told us they were seeking more flexible and tailored support based around their specific needs. Our new approach will deliver just that, helping employers navigate the challenges they face now and in the future.
Q What does this mean for organisations that work with Investors in People?
A Investors in People customers will receive a more flexible, tailored programme of practical support to help them meet their goals. Their Investors in People assessor and/or adviser will work with each organisation to identify and understand its business priorities and to help build a tailored development path. For example, if one organisation understands it has a need to focus on succession planning and another on senior leadership, they will be able to receive more detailed feedback and guidance on those specific issues/areas.
Alongside this new approach, we have introduced new forms of recognition – bronze, silver and gold – to celebrate achievement and signpost a path for further development. These new forms of recognition will help employers celebrate success beyond the Standard, but also identify steps for continuous improvement.
Q The Investors in People Standard is a recognised brand. Why change it?
A We are not changing the Standard. The core level of good practice will remain, but we are providing organisations with more flexibility through a service geared towards their particular needs. It’s simply a more flexible approach, supported by a more comprehensive framework, from which customers can draw according to their needs.
Q Are you surprised that organisations remain as interested in schemes such as Investors in People in the current economic environment?
A The 35,000 employers we work with realise that effective people management becomes even more vital during an economic downturn. These are forward-thinking organisations that understand their people are the key to overcoming difficult periods, and making the most of the upturn when it comes. We are seeing renewed interest in how managing people can be improved, to reduce costs and drive performance.
Q Are you changing the role of the Investors in People assessors and advisers?
A Investors in People assessors and advisers have always helped customers get the most from the framework and assessment process, providing comprehensive feedback on strengths and areas for development. Under the new approach, they will add even more value by linking the assessment to business priorities and highlighting the most relevant parts of the extended framework. As such, the Investors in People journey will be linked more explicitly to business needs, offering personal, flexible and tailored support.
Q Is this change an attempt to revitalise Investors in People?
A No, this new approach is a response to customer demand. We regularly review our products and services, and feedback from customers suggested that a more personal and tailored approach would be valuable to them. We developed it for and in conjunction with them.
Q Who did you consult regarding this development?
A We consulted more than 1,000 organisations of different types and sizes to assess their needs and understand how we can best meet them. We piloted the new approach in three regions across the UK (West Midlands, Scotland and parts of the East of England) to make sure the approach would deliver the envisaged benefits.
Q Why introduce bronze, silver and gold recognition?
A The extended Investors in People framework provides much greater breadth and depth of business improvement guidance. Introducing the extra recognition gives our customers greater scope to celebrate the progress they make within this framework, and also to signpost the path for further development.
Q Why introduce a long-service award?
A We wanted to recognise the organisations that have been working with Investors in People for 10 years or more, celebrating their commitment to business improvement through people and the benefits they have reaped for their organisations as a result.
Q Will organisations still be assessed every three years?
A While organisations can choose to be assessed every three years, there are significant benefits from embedding the principals of Investors in People into your organisation’s culture – research shows that the more you do this, the bigger the benefits. An increasing number of organisations are choosing annual assessments to help them to remain focused on their business priorities and continually develop their approaches.