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12.08.2020

Investors In People Accreditation

Investors in People (IIP) is a standard for people management, offering accreditation to organisations that adhere to the Investors in People Standard, and something we have been working towards pursuing here at APR for some time now.

We were really pleased to announce last month that following an assessment by Investors in People, we have been awarded a Standard Accreditation level by them. This is significant for us because it recognises the continuing effort we have put in to support and develop our staff over the whole lifetime of our business, but especially in the last few years. There have been lots of significant change at APR recently and it’s great to have some external validation that we’re doing things in a way that continues to focus on the development of our staff.

As part of the assessment process, IIP also helped us identify some areas for improvement so we’re really excited to have lots of new ideas that we can put in place in the near future. We always saw this was going to be a valuable part of the experience and we’re pleased to see that IIP have been able to help us direct our future plans.

Where did we do well?

We were delighted to see that IIP recognised and agreed with the strengths that we think are core to our business at APR! They particularly highlighted our investment in training our staff, which has long been something that we have felt is fundamental to our success. The staff surveys carried out as part of the accreditation process reinforced that staff really value that support, whether it’s during the intensive induction training programme for new graduates and school leavers, or via the individual budgets for qualified staff that can be spent on specialised training or attending conferences.

It was also great to see that we scored highly in the area of empowering our staff to take responsibility. An ideal that is central to the business is that all staff are able to get involved in work to develop APR’s business as well as their client roles, and with suitable guidance we encourage staff to take ownership of tasks and projects, regardless of seniority.

One other theme identified by IIP was that we have increased our emphasis on developing the future leaders of APR. It is certainly true that in the last couple of years, as we have almost doubled in size, the partners just don’t have the time to do everything anymore! Importantly for staff, this means we’ve been able to create more opportunities for career progression. Now some of our more senior staff have line management responsibility or have taken on leadership roles in areas including technical leadership, training new staff and managing graduate recruitment.

What have we learned from this experience?

We have lots of helpful suggestions from IIP about how to continue to grow APR in a way that is in line with our company ambitions.

One example of this is that we want to continue to help staff develop their leadership skills and take on new responsibilities.  Another is to create clearer pathways depending on how staff wish to develop their careers. We hope these initiatives  will help to make APR sustainable as we continue to expand, and IIP have been able to support us with ideas for how to make that happen.

IIP have also come up with ways that we can embed our newly defined APR Values. Articulating these has been an ongoing process over the last few months and IIP rightly pointed out how important it is for these to be incorporated into the day-to-day working lives of our staff.

Other areas to work on include: more communication, particularly on positive news stories; improving client feedback loops; and ensuring our reward and recognition systems continue to be appropriate as we grow in size.

We intend to incorporate lots of these recommendations so that we can aim even higher for our next assessment which will be in 2023. It would be great to think we could aspire to a Gold level award next time around.

Thank you to all our staff who took part in the surveys and interviews that formed part of this assessment. Thank you also to all our staff for making APR a great place to work!

Sammy Ford

August 2020

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