The chief executive officer of Investors in People explains the importance of employee development.
Some employers feel hesitant when it comes to addressing the "softer" areas of business, such as staff development and training. This is because they often don't see, or choose to ignore, how the relationship an organisation has with its employees can directly affect commercial success.
The Investors in People standard encourages organisations to continuously evaluate, refine and improve their people development strategies in order to maximise the potential of their staff.
People-focused strategies can bring wider business benefits, not least that individuals themselves are happier, more motivated and therefore more productive.
One key to organisational success is enthusing the entire workforce. Everyone should feel involved and that they are important to the organisation.
If staff feel isolated, it is likely to reduce productivity, morale and commitment to the success of the business. Unfortunately, these areas are often overlooked.
A clear, dedicated focus on people development can improve workplace efficiency, motivation, staff retention and customer service. But what about the all-important issue of productivity and financial performance? After all, organisations are unlikely to devote time and effort to something unless return on investment can be clearly demonstrated.
An organisation that involves and develops all employees, making them feel enthused about the direction of the business, is one that is more likely to experience improved productivity. Various pieces of research help to demonstrate the link between people and profit:
- Companies with Investors in People accreditation achieved eightfold improvements in sales and profits compared with firms without accreditation (source: Hammond Research)
- Ninety four per cent of staff in Investors in People companies said they were satisfied in their jobs, compared to 37% in businesses lacking the standard (source: Planet Research)
- More than 70% of employers observed a positive impact on productivity directly from their involvement with Investors in People (source: NOP World).
This research, while only a snapshot, shows that if you commit to your staff, productivity and profits will improve.
Looking to the future, I believe the working environment will gradually become synonymous with the learning environment.
At Investors in People, we recognise the challenges for workplace development, and now more than ever, we are championing new developments and initiatives, continuing to support the UK's changing workplace.
Our Recruitment and Selection and Leadership and Management models are already available. Recruitment and Selection provides a guide to best practice in terms of recruiting suitable individuals, while Leadership and Management encourages organisations to create an environment in which the best managers can develop. It also tackles the important area of succession planning.
Later this year, we will be launching another model, this time addressing the important issue of work-life balance.
Ruth Spellman is chief executive of Investors in People