This week’s letter

IIP is well worth the investment

Your article on Investors in People ‘A worthwhile investment?’ could hardly
be more topical (Features, 18 March). We have spent many fruitful hours over
the past two years working towards the IIP award. We received confirmation of
our success on 19 March.

If the reasons for gaining IIP status are merely to get the gong, to print
new headed notepaper and to bask in the glory, I would say ‘no way’.

However, from the perspective of an employee development adviser in a highly
technical industry, working towards it has greatly assisted us in getting the
thorny subjects of leadership, management, employee engagement with the
business, and compliance with good processes firmly onto a crowded agenda.

Opening your business to external assessment is both a sobering and
rewarding experience – if you are prepared to listen.

The considerable strides forward in all of the above areas were fully
evident when I read the employee quotes contained in the report from the

It is for these reasons that I recommend IIP to any progressive management
team. Future commitment to re-assessment will force us to keep the soft issues
in sharp focus.

It is excellent as a business improvement driver and great value for money.

Peter Clark MCIPD
HR adviser, GlaxoSmithKline

Stuff the nonsense start making sense

I agree with the points Stephen Overell made about nonsensical talk (Off
Message, 18 March).

At Derby City Council, we have had a plain English initiative since 1989.
It’s a concerted effort to say what we mean, backed up with a plain English
standard and training.

All our personnel policies avoid ‘personnel-speak’. We negotiate them with
trade unions, who support plain English as it makes their job easier when
they’re explaining policy implications to their members – our employees. They
know we’re not trying to bamboozle them.

We ban Latin abbreviations and only allow acronyms if they are essential and
explained in full the first time. Overell’s article would fail here as he uses
‘HR’ and presumes all readers understand this.

We have gathered our policies into a personnel handbook, known colloquially
as ‘Adrian’s yellow bible’ named after its author and colour. And we’ve just
completed a matching employee handbook summarising the policies into even
plainer English – it has a ‘back of a fag-packet’ style.

We’re told we lead the country in plain English in local government and
happily share our advice, guidance, policies and training with councils and
other organisations as good practice.

Julia Buckland
Corporate communications adviser, Derby City Council

Good leadership is ultimate motivator

The news story, ‘Happier staff to boost profits for big four banks’ (News, 4
March), makes an important link between committed employees and improved
financial results.

It suggests the average high street bank could increase sales by £65m per
year if employee satisfaction were improved by just 10 per cent. It shows how
important good leadership, a healthy culture and training opportunities are.
Leadership is the ultimate motivator.

Employees will not go the ‘extra mile’ if they believe their organisation’s
leadership is second rate. To win commitment, leaders must provide clarity
about where the organisation is going, what its values are and how the work of
individuals and teams helps deliver this.

Our own research on leadership reveals that up to 70 per cent of
organisational climate is influenced by styles of leadership and, by the same
token, climate can account for up to 30 per cent of variance in business

We are increasingly seeing employers with skills shortages improve retention
and gain competitive advantage as they learn what it takes to become an
’employer of choice’.

Upping the salary isn’t enough any more; creating a climate where employees
genuinely feel engaged is far more likely to have a positive impact on
discretionary effort and, therefore, performance.

Jonathan Cormack
Senior consultant, Hay Group

Comments are closed.