Of the thousands of Investors in People organisations in the UK, about three percent are Gold; almost all of these have been working with the Standard for many years.
The fast-growing specialist recruitment firm already had a high-profile in the Bristol business community. The founding directors, Jeff Leng and Ben McCarthy, had featured in the local media for their ambitious and skilled entrepreneurship. When I was invited in, it was already a successful business, a great place to work, with phenomenal levels of professional ethics, customer service and team motivation.
When we discussed Investors in People, the original intention had been to gain accreditation against the basic Standard, firstly to gain the “badge” as a marketing tool, and secondly to support the ambitious plans for continued expansion. When I spoke to the people that worked there, it soon became obvious that there was a great deal more in place than the core Standard seeks evidence for. There was therefore every reason to suppose that the firm could match up to the rigour of Investors in People Gold. We decided to go for it.
Not everything was perfect: The team were rather vague on what the top-level business objectives were, more could be done to promote the learning culture Jeff and Ben were seeking to create, and team managers’ skills needed further development.
We worked together to design a series of management skills workshops based around the contents of their operational manual. I delivered these in bite-sized sessions with lots of practical tools to help make the models in the manual come alive. We did some serious thinking about how strategy was communicated and the link between training and business targets strengthened, and I gave them tools to help. I would go to see Jeff and Ben every 3 or 4 weeks, and at every meeting they had always completed the actions agreed at the previous meeting.
When the award assessor came in to Rise, he had no hesitation in awarding Investors in People Gold at the first time of asking, only 9 months after our initial meeting. The score out of 10 achieved for being a great place to work was between 9 and 10.
The sense of pride in the team has risen even higher than it was. As their adviser, I too am proud of what they have achieved. Major credit goes to Jeff and Ben for their positive, responsive and enlightened attitude. They are quick and effective in implementing improvements, crystal clear on the business benefits of Investors in People, and are well set to be the fastest-growing independently-owned firm in their sector.