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Investors in People: Does it still matter in 2016?

As long-time holders of Investors in People (IIP), it can be easy to forget the great work it rewards. In fact, it can soon be taken for granted. So when our review came up earlier this year, we wondered if the application process was worth the effort. A few years ago, we were awarded Investors in People Silver status. It’s not an easy thing to achieve and taking time to notice all those things you’ve accepted as ‘normal’ is, rightly, a detailed job.

Six years on from that IIP Silver status, we also questioned whether the award still meant the same thing. Does it still carry the same prestige? This is in no way an attempt to discredit Investors in People: we simply asked a question we knew others were asking too.

What is Investors in People?

Today, it feels like IIP often isn’t as well recognised as it was 10, 15 or 20 years ago. For many of the younger members of the EMS team, Investors in People meant little. Most had heard the term, either with us or in previous workplaces, but it had never become a central part of their career.

IIP is a global standard that recognises “what it takes to lead, support and manage people well for sustainable results”. In short, it assesses how well your business provides an environment in which staff can progress and flourish. And this summer we found the process of completing our review hugely beneficial.

EMS reaccredited with IIP Silver status

EMS Staff celebrating

After completing our review, we’re delighted to have been reaccredited with Investors in People Silver status. It’s a fantastic recognition of some of our biggest strengths, and we’re thrilled to have maintained our silver status.

But is it still relevant? Yes – and here’s why.

Investors in People challenges a business to put in place principles and foundations that are probably more important than ever.

What did we learn?

Completing the Investors in People submission was a great reminder of so many of the things we do. And they were highlighted as things that bring genuine value. They add a significant amount to EMS and our team, whatever challenges we face.

For a business that isn’t huge, we’ve got lots going on that would give much larger organisations plenty of reasons to be proud. These include:

  • Continuous improvement: at EMS, our open environment is built on all members of the team receiving regular feedback from managers. Equally, everyone has a voice that is listened to. So everyone knows they work in a team built on respect and mutual understanding.
  • Website We Create SmilesTeam events: to build and strengthen the relationships in our team, we hold summer challenges each year. These events involve the whole company and see teams formed that include staff from different areas and different levels of the company.
  • Democracy: all staff are able to put forward ideas for our team events. Each employee then gets to vote on the proposed suggestions and the winning proposal takes place. Our previous team events have included trips to Amsterdam and Chicago, as well as travelling across the Welsh coast filming our own tributes to classic movies like Greece, Indiana Jones and Brokeback Mountain.

  • Development: like any company, we’re only as good as our people. That’s why we invest so much in our staff through personal development plans that are created in conversation with line managers. These can include external or internal training, and they’re always tailored to the individual staff member’s goals and ambitions.

  • Fun and respect: we listen to and respect each other. We also make sure we have fun together. Together, those attributes help us to create great work for our clients, and grow both the business and our people.

Our Investors in People review allowed us to clearly see the above traits. And when they’re listed on paper alongside the other details of our application, each member of the EMS team saw the benefits they bring. It’s a source of genuine pride that a business like EMS has so many things in place to help grow peoples’ careers, communicate what’s going on, and understand and share the vision of the business.

Investors in People might be viewed by some as ‘old school’, but it’s ensured EMS is ready for all the challenges coming our way. We’ll wear our Silver status with pride.