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FMB achieved the prestigious Investors in People award originally in 1999, and we were one of the first Financial Services Firms to be awarded the Standard in the North West. The reviews are carried out every 3 years by an independent assessor and we are due for our review on Wednesday 26th June 2013.

I was the “champion” for this back in 1999, and at first wondered what the benefits would be, as it initially involved a tremendous amount of work to get to the assessment stage.

I can honestly say, with hand on heart, it was one of the best development processes we have been through. It has helped our organisation grow, develop and compete. The standard is now imbedded in the culture of our business and we do not have to prepare for assessment because as far as we are concerned it is just following good practice.

So what is the Investors in People Standard?

Managers often assert that “our most valuable asset is our people”. The Investors in People Standard is a national UK framework to help organisations turn this rhetoric into reality.

It is a standard of good practice in developing people intended to be achievable by all organisations. It enables organisations to benchmark their own practices against a nationally recognised standard and look to continuously improve.

The standard rests on three principles: plan, do and review. A successful business develops strategies to improve its performance, it implements those strategies, and later it revisits and adjusts them according to the results.

While IIP counts giants such as McDonald’s and Sainsbury’s among its standard bearers, we believe it is important for companies of all sizes to adopt the right approach early, or struggle with it later. We were small enough when we thought about these things, so it became ingrained from the outset. As we grew, the systems were in place.

So what happens at assessment?

The assessor selects random members of our team for interviews. Following the interviews, the assessor provides feedback and decides whether or not we are still achieving the standard. If there are areas of improvement these are highlighted and re-evaluated at a later date.

Other benefits - Staff motivation and retention

We do believe that if you invest in your staff you will motivate them and have a higher retention rate. If an individual is not being recognised for the role they are doing and getting no job satisfaction they won’t stay in that role very long. Also, if you do not recognise that someone wants to progress within the company they will soon get bored and move on.

We have an amazing retention rate, and this gives us serious energy to grow and be successful.

I would recommend the Investors in People standard to any organisation whatever their size, it’s just “good practice”.

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