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Les Beavis (front right) collecting one of FMB's first IIP Awards
Caption: Les Beavis (front right) collecting one of FMB's first IIP Awards
Director, Gill Forrester and Practice Manager, Karen Dickinson, with FMB's new Silver awards (2016)
Caption: Director, Gill Forrester and Practice Manager, Karen Dickinson, with FMB's new Silver awards (2016)

Ahead of Our Game…

In 1996, FMB’s MD, Les Beavis, read an article about the relatively new Investors in People framework. As his PA, he nominated me to be the “champion” and find out more about what we needed to do to achieve the award, and whether it was worth our time and effort.

I attended a couple of seminars and found that the standard reflected the best practices in high-performance working and was recognised worldwide. It was evident that this was something FMB could benefit significantly from and so, we decided to enquire further.

We eventually met with a trainer/assessor who helped us complete a “gap analysis” which was essentially a self-diagnostic on where we believed we compared against the standard. The results from this formed the baseline for our assessment.

The next stage required us to produce a portfolio of evidence, which at the time was extremely time-consuming, but it was greatly beneficial as it made us analyse the business from many different perspectives.

The final stage of the process was the actual assessment where our assessor reviewed our business, processes and our people. The assessor selected several members of staff and management to interview and also evaluated the evidence we had collected as well as other materials we had within the workplace. The idea being it’s a full 360 appraisal; it’s not just what the directors think or say, it’s how it is viewed at all levels so there is no faking it and isn't down to just being well-rehearsed on the day. We were elated to be accredited on our first attempt making us one of the first IFA's in the North-West to achieve the award, and we wore the IIP badge with pride!

2016's Success…

Investors in People believe that times have changed, and with this, they felt the need to reassess the standard. In September last year they launched the Sixth Generation Standard which comprises of a four stage performance model, and nine new indicators based on the features of organisations that consistently outperform industry norms - leading, supporting, improving and organisation ambition. They also introduced new levels of accreditation; Standard, Bronze, Silver and Gold.

As with all other IIP accredited firms, we have to be reassessed every three years. This year, we were assessed in line with the new standard, and we are ecstatic to have achieved the Silver accreditation on our first attempt - and we were even close to achieving Gold! Amazingly, 2016 is also our 20th year of holding the IIP accreditation. We remain one of only 15,000 IIP accredited organisations across 75 countries worldwide.

Investing in our staff’s training and development is essential for us to provide our clients with the best service possible. We believe that our IIP accreditation indicates to our clients that we are constantly looking at ways to better ourselves to, in turn, better their experience. IIP also highlights to prospective employees that it’s not just the Directors and managers that think we are a great company to work for, but so do all our people, and that's why it’s been endorsed as such.

We are now a better business for having gone through this process. Yes we have learnt that we do a lot of things really well, and that was pleasing to see, but the real value was because we learnt a lot about what we could better, and already we are making even more positive changes in our business.

For other businesses, I cannot recommend Investors in People strongly enough. The benefits are tremendous; we have learnt a lot about our business, our people and leadership and also how they are perceived by others. Perhaps you won’t learn anything new, or perhaps what you learn could make your business great!

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