People: the greatest asset

New research proves that employers who invest in their workforce really do better. By Roger Trapp

The principles behind the Investors in People (IIP) standard are so close to motherhood and apple pie that it is difficult to see why any business organisation should not espouse them. But several years after the standard was developed from a 1988 White Paper on employment, the vast majority of private-sector employers remain resistant to it, according to just-published research.

Those principles are: a public commitment from the top to develop all employees to achieve business objectives, a review of the training and development needs of all employees, action taken to train and develop all staff through their employment and evaluation of the effectiveness of that effort. So it is hardly surprising that those companies that have adopted it significantly outperform those that have not.

Using financial ratios to analyse and compare performance across 20 industrial and commercial sectors, the study by the Hambleden Group, a consultancy specialising in improving the performance of medium-sized businesses, claims to provide "compelling evidence that working towards the standard improves business performance".

The consultancy, which was one of 14 that in 1991 co-operated to pilot the standard, also says its research demonstrates that achieving recognition is a cost-effective investment that works for all types of company.

However, the report - The Hambleden Report (Report No 1: Investors in People Review) - warns that this strong business case is not getting through to the decision makers. The Institute of Chartered Accountants, which last month proclaimed itself the first professional accountancy body to achieve the status, is perhaps typical of the sort of organisation signing up for the standard. The Hambleden Group says only 20 per cent of those that have received recognition are "fully-fledged trading businesses filing public accounts". Many of the remaining 80 per cent are from the public sector and other non-profit-making organisations.

Despite their suitability for the standard, and the presence of such role models as the car-service group Kwik-Fit, wholesaling, retailing and transport are under-represented, though manufacturing and heavy industry are fairly represented.

Even though Training and Enterprise Councils figure strongly among those that attained the standard, their promotion of the concept is "fragmented and inconsistent". The study sees a vast discrepancy in performance between Gloucestershire TEC, with 157 recognitions, to four TECs that have only one each.

Duncan Collins, one of the authors of the report, says: "The successful TECs have a clear vision and see IIP as the key to achieving all their objectives. Others have been slow to take up the challenge, with some viewing IIP as an unwelcome distraction from the delivery of the original Employment Department programmes, which attract much higher levels of funding."

The report, which is based on detailed analysis of 2,314 organisations that have achieved the standard, goes on to say that - four years after marketing began - the enthusiasts for the concept have already achieved recognition and that perhaps only half of the more than 17,000 organisations that have made a commitment to the standard have any serious intention of achieving it. The remaining uncommitted employers - including many financial sector and corporate head offices, concentrated in London - are "impervious to the benefits". Many of these appear "abnormally resistant to new initiatives and are often not especially keen on developing people", it adds.

Mr Collins says: "There is a great deal to be done. But there is now positive proof that developing people pays."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

KS2 Teacher Cornwall

£21500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

KS2 supply teacher

£80 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting fo...

KS1 Supply Teacher

£80 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting fo...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London