| Primary purpose
Who can use the tool?
What resources are needed?
Development, ownership and support
Third sector examples
Further sources of information
Investors in People Standard
The Investors in People Standard is a business improvement tool designed to advance an organisation’s performance through its employees. It helps organisations to improve performance and realise objectives through the management and development of their people.1 It has three principles to which an organisation must subscribe and key indicators to work towards. An external assessor will look for evidence that these principles and indicators have been implemented throughout the organisation.
Investors in People (IIP) provides a flexible framework, which any organisation can use. It mirrors the business planning cycle (plan, do, review) making it clear for organisations to follow and implement in their own planning cycle.
The framework is based on three main principles:
Organisations pursuing the Standard then prepare their work against these criteria with support from a recognised Investors in People Adviser and guidance from detailed evidence requirements.2 External assessment is subsequently carried out to ensure the organisation has met these principles and underpinning criteria. The organisation can request an assessment at any time once it has decided to work towards the Standard. Supporting evidence for the assessment is gathered from a range of sources and is not necessarily paper based. Evidence may include verbal and observed feedback, for example, through one-to-one interviews with employees or staff appraisal. As long as the criteria are adhered to, there is complete flexibility in how the organisation seeks to improve its staff development.
Once the organisation has been recognised as an ‘Investor in People’ it is subject to regular reviews no more than three years apart. An organisation can be assessed on a more regular basis if it so wishes.
IIP also offers a free online business support tool called IIP Interactive. 3 It is designed to guide the user through development activities and help transform the performance of their organisation. Built into the tool is a diagnostic that provides a snapshot of the organisation’s current performance in relation to achieving the Investors in People Standard.
Any organisation with two or more employees that wants to improve the skills of its workforce and encourage their commitment to become part of its vision can undertake the Investors in People Standard. Over 37,000 organisations have achieved it, many in the voluntary and third sector. Although co-operative organisations have successfully implemented the Investors in People Standard, they will need to be aware of its management approach to an organisation’s employees.
An individual or team can lead with the Investors in People Standard, though it will need support from management and all staff involved.
Proficiencies or skills
No specialist skills are required to pursue the Investors in People Standard. An assessor will gather evidence, mainly through confidential one-to-one interviews with a staff sample. The organisation may choose to conduct a self-assessment in order to plan what it needs to do. This might involve social research methods such as surveys and interviews. An adviser may be able to help with self-assessment as part of the support package.
Costs may be involved in implementing the Investors in People Standard. To ensure a consistent approach, IIP UK has set a maximum daily rate for assessment work. This rate is £750 per day. However, there may be regional variances.
Assessment for organisations with up to 20 people usually takes 1.75 days. Larger organisations are assessed based on a percentage or sample of people. As a guide, an organisation with 50–100 people should need between three and four assessor days, depending on the number of locations.
The amount of time taken to become an Investor in People will depend upon what kinds of changes need to be made and the degree of management commitment. It is realistic to suggest that an organisation could achieve the Investors in People Standard within a year, but it may take up to two years. Timeframes are fairly flexible as the organisation itself determines when it is ready to be assessed. Whilst it is management led, it will require all staff to be involved in some capacity, for example in staff appraisals. For an organisation to maintain the IIP mark , the Standard is reviewed every three years.
Courses, support, and information
Initial support in the form of workshops and training is available to organisations through the Learning and Skills Councils and Business Links in England, Education and Learning in Wales, Local Enterprise Company in Scotland or the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland and is usually free.
The IIP UK website - www.investorsinpeople.co.uk is comprehensive and includes case studies of organisations working with IIP.
IIP UK has awarded ‘Champion’ status to a number of exemplar organisations that have been ‘outstanding’ in promoting its values and principles and who have led by example in the way they manage and develop people. 4 These organisations provide a mentoring service and host site visits to learn more about getting the most from the Investors in People Standard.
The Investors in People Standard was developed in 1990 by the UK National Training Task Force in partnership with leading national, business, personnel, professional and employee organisations such as The Confederation of British Industry and The Trade Union Congress. The Investors in People Standard is promoted, developed and quality assured by IIP UK – a non-departmental public body (NDPB) led by the UK Government’s Department for Education and Skills. From its inception the Investors in People Standard has been reviewed every three years.
A non-printable pdf of the Investors in People Standard is available at www.investorsinpeople.co.uk. A hard copy can be ordered for around £8 plus postage and packaging. Guidance is available to run through it yourself, but advisers are available and external assessment is needed to obtain the Investors in People Standard.
Third sector organisations that have used Investors in People:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7467 1900
Send an email with ‘information pack’ in the subject header for a starter pack
How to become an investor in people: A guide for the Voluntary Sector is available at http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/
Paton R (2003) Managing and measuring social enterprises. (London: Sage). This provides an exploration of Investors in People and performance improvement.
1 For Investors in People, this is anyone who helps the organisation to achieve its objectives – whatever role they play, including part-time workers and voluntary workers. It would also include self-employed people who do a lot of work for the organisation or people on renewable short-term contracts and regular casual employees.
2 An Adviser helps organisations put in place the practices and processes they need in order to gain the maximum benefit from the Standard in a cost-effective way. The Adviser provides client-focused feedback on an on-going basis and works with the Assessor to help customers plan their assessments and reviews. Advisers are licensed practitioners and have to keep up to date with good practice. They must follow a programme of continuous professional development.
4 For further details visit www.investorsinpeoplechampions.co.uk
“Because we were already engaged in social accounting, we had already given significant attention to issues covered by Investors in People and put relevant systems in place so Investors in People was much easier to manage.”
– Community Enterprise Unit Ltd