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Getting the keys to employee engagement - IIP turns 21

Published 11th December 2013 by IIP North of England

Investors in People turned 21 this year and ever since its launch, supporting employee engagement has been at its centre. 

Employee engagement is all about building a strong relationship between an organisation and its people – inspiring, challenging and supporting employees at all levels so they can deliver what the business needs now and in the future. It is a fundamental part of putting people at the heart of a business. 

Working with the Investors in People framework, organisations can drive actions that empower team members to take initiative and serve collective interests, without having to micro-manage.

In other words, Investors in People can offer the opportunity to engage people in the workplace so that they are able to participate in decision-making and therefore take responsibility for organisational success. 

At a time when the British economy needs a return to a successful, highly skilled manufacturing base, Ford Aerospace – based in the North East – is a model example of what can be achieved by engaging people with business strategy. 

With its roots in the aerospace, defence and high technology sector, Ford Aerospace had suffered, like so many others, from the impact of the financial crisis. As recently as a couple of years ago it was losing money and struggling to survive. 

But then Mark Podmore arrived as the new managing director with a stack of new ideas for the company. As well as investing in developing leading edge technology, Mark saw that it was critical to get his workforce on side and much more actively engaged in the direction and progress of the business. 

This involved a big culture change in the way the organisation operated. Fortunately Mark rapidly gained the trust of people at all levels of the business and the overwhelming majority bought into the new approach. 

“Investors in People gave us a framework to wrap up everything that we were doing and to recognise that we were going in the right direction,” says Mark. 

And the results are clear to see in the firm’s rapid progress. Within months of the new approach, business started to improve and the company is now thriving. It exports about a quarter of its output to countries like China and Brazil and is poised to increase its headcount from about 100 to 120. The company also won a ‘Culture for Success’ award last year.