In 2014, the business was 6 years old and we knew we were doing well, but we felt an increasing need to try and bench mark ourselves against other high achieving organisations. As the Jim Collins book “Good to Great” states: good is the enemy of great, so we were trying to understand what is it that great companies are doing, that we don’t.
A good indicator of a great business, was the “investor in People” (IIP) accreditation. Now most people will be familiar with this accreditation, or the logo, but embarking on this journey was much more than just acquiring a badge of honour. So why bother? Well for us, there were two main reasons….
Reason number 1:
Talent sourcing – can being an Investor in People Business help us attract better people?
Well we believe the answer is yes. After all we are a recruitment business , we make it our job to know how to find the best people in the market, what they are looking for, before matching them to great opportunities.
In order to be a fantastic recruitment business, we need to employ fantastic people and we felt being recognised as an Investor in People would help us to attract the best talent possible. Now it’s one thing identifying or finding great talent, it’s another convincing that talent to join you.
So being officially recognised and endorsed as an Investor in People business could only be a positive thing right?
A clear sign to prospective employees that it’s not just the managers that think we are a great company to work for, but so do all our people, and it’s been endorsed as such.
It’s the small things that often make the big differences when deciding who to work for.
Reason number 2:
Benchmarking – how do we measure up against the best? What does great actually look like?
We also saw a major benefit in understanding what are great businesses doing that we don’t and why are we not?
A popular phrase is that “You don’t know what you don’t know”, i.e. you need to be asking the right questions and challenging the status quo to learn. Well again it seemed obvious to us, we could have a go and try to figure it all out ourselves, OR, we invite experts in who can help us to understand what great looks like.
So inviting an IIP assessor in to review our business, processes, our people etc could allow us to benchmark ourselves against the best in industry and learn about what more we could be doing.
The process begins
So with the motivation to do this clearly established we made the call to IIP, and I’ve got to say, the process is really efficient and not as onerous as I thought it would be .
After contacting IIP it was arranged for an Assessor to come out and see us, but before that, our assessor called and explained how the it would all work and what kind of information they would be looking for.
In short there is a set of criteria you need to meet in order to be an IIP business. There are different levels of award that you can achieve, from the most basic “Investor in People Business”, then onto bronze award, Silver and finally the “Gold Award” being the highest accolade you can achieve. The higher you score the higher the award you get.
The assessment is largely based on one to one meetings with the “Senior Management team”, then representatives from the “Management Team” and obviously a big focus on “the staff themselves”.
The idea being it’s a full 360 appraisal, it’s not just what the owners or directors think or say, it’s how it is viewed at all levels i.e. there is no faking it, or being well rehearsed on the day. Now we employ 45 people, so our assessor was with us for 3 days.
Long story short, we concluded the assessment process and after the report was filed and approved, Genesis have been confirmed as an Investor in People business achieving a Gold Award.
But perhaps most importantly; we are now a better business for having gone through this process. Yes we 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.
Well it comes down to your personal choice and views on this. But for what its worth, my view would be that if you haven’t considered doing this already, or even if you have, I would strongly recommend you go ahead and make it happen.
The benefits are obvious and enormous, and you will learn a lot about your business, people and leadership and how they are really viewed. Perhaps you wont learn anything new, or perhaps what you learn could make your business great!
For more information visit iipnorth.investorsinpeople.co.uk