No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Interview of the month: Ruth Spellman, CEO, Investors in People


Investers In PeopleWith the Investors in People Standard celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2002, TrainingZONE spoke to Investors in People UK CEO Ruth Spellman about some of the latest developments around the Standard, and put some of your questions to her too.

TrainingZONE Investors in People is well-established in the eyes of our members, who are often dealing with practical issues of implementing the Standard. Can you describe the support network for organisations briefly?

Ruth Spellman There is a network of professional advisors and assessors, we now have 1650 of them based around the UK regionally, and they report into regional quality centres. Business Managers of the LSC's and Small Business Service are responsible for brokering relationships with clients. All advisors and assessors are also enrolled in a development programme.

The right starting point for organisations looking to get involved is related to that particular organisation - some might start with a specific model, e.g. the Recruitment Model, which can be ideal to introduce people to the Standard. It's all about what issues are affecting your organisation and planning together, and identifying who are the key people buying into the decision to go for the Standard.

We aim to make the process accessible and visible, we're putting as much information as possible onto the Web, for example with LaurelOnline, a tool which allows people to pretty much assess themselves. We're also in the process of looking at establishing a virtual learning network for those involved in IiP.

TrainingZONE Are SME's a special case, do they need a different type of support?

Ruth Spellman All research shows that SME's decision to go down the IiP route is determined by cost - there is also still a perception that there's a lot of bureaucracy involved, but since the relaunch of the Standard there's much more of an emphasis now on producing your own evidence, the assessor will come and assess in situ and the organisation doesn't need to produce a portfolio unless it wants to. We don't expect organisations to do things which don't add value - IiP is very much a business tool.

SMEsThe government recently invested £30 million to help small businesses work towards the Standard - the majority of the money will go towards addressing cost barriers, providing a subsidy of £1,250 per company. We'll be launching the SME scheme at the end of January next year.

TrainingZONE We've had feedback from a number of TrainingZONE members about difficulties with culture change - "it's just a badge" is an often-heard argument...

Ruth Spellman We do know it's had an impact but we will never prove it's the one thing that makes the change - there are too many variables involved. We have a 90% retention rate - you have to ask, why are they coming back to do it again? It's because their profit line is benefiting from the Standard. We're all familiar with the 'stop-go' approach to training - budgets are cut when times are difficult - and it's important to sustain a message to people about long term gains. For example, BT in the 1990's had massive and successful organisational change. You don't have to be a philanthropist, it's about productivity improvements.

Over this year, we've seen an increasing perception of what IiP can do for organisations - we've been starting to form different partnerships with public sector organisations, working to establish ambassadors who can relate their understanding of IiP to others. I think the way we do things is changing, The days where we go it alone are definitely over. What companies want is simplicity, clear advice and frameworks.

TrainingZONE How do you support organisations between accreditation?

Ruth Spellman It's all about client management and establishing consulting relationships. IiP's success is down to quality of this relationships and how good the quality of advice is. There's also a developmental aspect - lots of companies go for a review before their annual audits -and we try and encourage companies to ring up and get assessment. The advice they receive is subsidised, but we often get feedback that "the assessor was terrific" - most assessors now have a real confidence in what they do, which is in part down to the development of feedback skills.

Supporting organisations is down to offering encouragement and giving people a strong sense of performance management - looking at long term issues, for example, how well is the organisation managing people, is there a proper HR plan. In addition, the framework should invite buy-in and we have worked strongly with the unions.

IiP provides an excellent framework for small businesses - if you talk to CEO's in small businesses, they will be able to tell you exactly why they've done it. There isn't another initiative like this out there.

TrainingZONE There have been several new models established in the last year, including Recruitment & Selection for organisations to work towards - are there any more planned?

Ruth Spellman The two key areas of focus are now Work-life Balance and Leadership & Management. There is lots of private sector involvement in this already, for example, Lloyds TSB got 500 companies to sign up to their work-life balance initiative. It also gives organisations a way of challenging themselves, IiP will offer encouragement and support. We work on the basis that it's good to mirror success. IiP have been involved in a working party with the DTI - making sure we link up with initiatives.

TrainingZONE As the Investors in People Standard has now celebrated its 10th year, what are the key interests for you personally in the future?

Ruth Spellman I'm really excited by the Leadership and Management initiative - the question is all about how you grow good management and leaders. In the UK there's a disposable attitude - go and recruit these from elsewhere, but people should look at their own organisation - our model is about helping organisations to grow managers and leaders from inside.

I'm also very interested in progressing the Work-Life Balance initiative - if you make people stressed, it doesn't make for a proactive economy. According to latest research, stress at work is costing up to 10% of GDP. The solution to the problem is not to extend the working week - that's obviously not working in the UK. There needs to be a better revelation of hours of work - flexibility in the 2000's needs to go the employee's way, not the employers. Young people these days aren't looking for high flying jobs, they don't want to work as hard as their parents. Companies need to show people the way to go, we're relying on peer pressure to establish the culture change that's needed.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!