Between The Lines: Role of reaping what you sow

Treating people fairly is a basic principle, says Bell. Picture: contributed.
Treating people fairly is a basic principle, says Bell. Picture: contributed.
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I believe that investing in people is one of the most crucial aspects of running a successful business.

Developing a strong team and truly involving them in the growth of the business will enable an organisation of any size to move forward, which is critically important in the ever-evolving world we live in. Companies who fail to invest in their people will stand still, and stagnation will never lead to excellence.

The Investors in People (IIP) framework aligns perfectly with the values of treating people fairly, striving for excellence, and making a difference. Treating people fairly is a basic principle, and so important. The Scottish Government is currently working to raise the profile of the Fair Work Convention’s Fair Work Framework in Scotland. That defines fair work as offering “effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect”. All companies should be committed to these principles as a matter of course. Treating all people fairly will lead to happier staff and, ultimately, a more sustainable business.

Having a robust continuous improvement framework is also critical. In many ways, continuous improvement is a mindset, a culture that must be embedded into the business. Team days allow people to collaborate with a view to developing and progressing the company. Some questions to consider during such days may be what is your unique selling point (USP), where do you want to be in five years, and what more can you do for your clients. By involving the whole team, everyone’s perspectives are taken into account, and innovation opportunities maximised.

It occurred to me recently that it is our team that makes us unique. We want to retain and develop our people, so that together we can collectively grow and achieve excellence.

Having a clear vision and culture is also fundamental. Everyone in an organisation needs to understand what the business is trying to achieve and why it exists. Again, these may seem simple concepts, but many organisations overlook them. If you and your team understand who your company is, why you exist, and protect your culture, then everyone can pull together in the same direction, to achieve shared goals and aspirations.

Achieving IIP Platinum accreditation is something that we are extremely proud of, and I would strongly recommend the IIP framework to other companies. We have worked hard to reach this level since we started our IIP journey in 2014, but the rewards are huge.

My top tip to employers who are working towards IIP accreditation is to implement the recommendations that are made to you, assuming they align with your company objectives. It is hard work, but it is worth the commitment. To me it makes perfect business sense to do the right thing – I guess you could say I’m a strong believer in karma.

Catherine Bell is MD of Mearns & Company.