Investor in People

In view of the fact that Investor in People is a voluntarist initiative, means there reasons for recognition, it is appropriate to investigate the reasons why organisations become involved with IiP. Alberga et al. , (1997) stated that one possible explanation concerns how it has been promoted as a tool for improving organisational performance or increasing employee motivation. Taylor and Thackwray, (1996) mentioned that a further claim made by promoters of the Standard is that it will help in the development of a learning organisation.

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In the course of these claims, IiP has come to be viewed as a tool for business improvement that is complementary and used in both public and private sectors. However, Bell et al. (2001)and Down and Smith, (1998) offer further reasons why organisations seek IiP accreditation, several of which are not necessarily related to the development of a highly skilled workforce through improvements in training activity.

In other words, the decision to seek IiP accreditation may be as much about internal organisational politics rather than its purpose, therefore this essay would focus on the issue that says IiP is more promoted among the public sectors than the private sectors (looking mainly at small businesses) and also issues within the IiP training activity. Facts will be stated concerning these issues and suggestions will be made in order for all sectors to be equal in acquiring this recognition

One of the issues involved in IiP is the fact that while large minorities of workplaces have secured IiP accreditation according to Cully et al. , (1999), with thirty-two per cent of workplaces with 10 or more employees having accreditation, there is evidence that the take-up of the Standard across different sectors of the economy is uneven. According to Alberga et al. , (1997) this is despite the fact that the Standard was initially founded on the assumption that a single definition of good training and development practice would be applicable across industrial sector and organisational size categories.

As mentioned by Ram, (2000), research carried out in the 1990s indicated that some employers were not engaging with the Standard because of the reputation it had acquired as an overly bureaucratic and paper-based system. This was most seen in relation to the small business sector, where accreditation rates were lower than in companies employing more than 50 people. Ashton and Felstead, (2001) agreed to the facts that it is generally accepted that small companies are less likely to offer workplace training.

The low rate of accreditation in small businesses therefore calls into question the value of the initivies. Therefore increasing the amount of smaller organisations will became a key objective of IiP. Several reasons have been put forward as to why accreditation rates are lower in small businesses. For example, Hill and Stewart (1999) argue that training activity in small businesses is reactive and unplanned rather than planned and formalised, meaning that IiP is not necessarily appropriate.

These authors also found small businesses non involvement in the accreditation because of time pressure, cost implications, lack of clarity as to its essential nature and lack of expertise in terms of being able to introduce it. Curran and Blackburn, (2000) mentioned that the Training and Enterprise Councils (TEC) funding from central government in the early 1990s became increasingly based on outputs, resulting in a ‘payment by results’ type system.

This method of performance management, within which funding was in part dependent on the number of IiP recognitions achieved, encouraged TECs to focus on companies that were most likely to be able to secure accreditation. According to Mawson, (1996), by the mid-1990s, it was being suggested that TECs were ‘cherry picking’ employers deliberately targeting larger companies that already had a substantial number of the policies and procedures in place that were necessary to secure accreditation.

In this respect, according to Bell et al. , (2001) recognition as an Investor in People merely encapsulated what ‘good’ employers were already doing, rather than encouraging the introduction of better practice. In addition, the initial focus on companies where training procedures were better established meant that the companies most in need of help or guidance which were the small and medium sized companies in particular were in particular the ones that received the least encouragement to engage with the Standard.

There is also evidence in the take-up of IiP by industry. IiP UK’s own statistics demonstrate that the combined figure for commitment and recognitions is higher in the electricity, gas and water supply industry, transport and communication and public administration, the wholesale and retail trade, hotels and catering and financial intermediation.

According to Hoque, (2003), this is largely supported by analysis of the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey, which shows that, public sector workplaces are more likely to have secured accreditation than private sector workplaces. The importance of customer service within these sectors may have resulted in an appreciation of the importance of initiatives such as IiP. That’s why it may be easier for workplaces within these sectors to demonstrate that they meet the requirements of the Standard.