ISO management systems help you meet the challenges of employee development and training. This article gives you 3 reasons to invest in people. A critical hotspot for businesses to address in today's competitive environment is the ability to recruit and retain people.
A CIPD report higlighted that UK employers spent an average of £200 (euro equivalent) less per employee on training in 2010 than their european competitors. £200 might not seem a large number but let’s equate that to wages; at 2010 rates, the average weekly wage was £501 per week. Roughly speaking, £200 is equivalent to 2.5 day's work. That means, every worker across the channel was getting 2.5 days a year more training than our people in the UK. Add that up over time, and it starts to show; a 38 year old worker, who has been working since they were 18 is 50 days less well educated than their European counterpart. That’s 10 short courses in a University! Imagine how much better you could be with those under your belt!
Untrained people are more likely to leave
In general, people leave their jobs because they don’t like their boss, or they don’t see opportunities for growth, or get offered more money (HBR 2017). You can’t change the boss bit, but you can change how someone feels about personal growth with training and development. When you give people ownership of their development, they see their own value and the opportunity to grow into their career. In due course, an employee with greater value will earn greater rewards.
People that leave take knowledge with them
Studies show that even untrained people will take skills and knowledge about the business with them, but more importantly, they take Organisational Knowledge, which is developed over time and by all the team in such a way that benefits the organisation (Wiley 2001). In some cases, that could be critical Intellectual Property (IP) that only your organisation has. If the employee leaves, that IP is on the market and potentially walking into your competitors' business.
The cost of replacing people is expensive
If people leave, you've got no-one doing the job for a few weeks. That is a cost in itself but you then have to spend more resources, in the form of time and money getting someone else into the business. Once they have started, you have to spend time getting up to the levels of competency you need. Average recruitment costs in the UK are £4500 (Monster 2017), but that pales into insignificance when you add all the management time you’ll spend.
The ISO standards (whether it's 9001, 14001, 27001 or 22301) require that organisations recognise the value of people working in the organisation and engage with them. Previous versions of standards required that organisations identify competency requirements and then set training in place; wheras the newer 2015 standards require that people are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training and experience. In our experience, there are some organisations that take the attitude of ‘sink or swim’; in other words, if the individual proves themselves successful, they can stay in the job. If not, they are out. Consider then, the benefits to adopting a process of competency development. If we lay out this process in three simple steps, it might look like this:
The benefits start to show at every step;
Step 1: By identifying the requirements, an organisation will be able to clarify exactly what 'good' looks like. In fact, they can go beyond 'good' and define what 'excellent' looks like. With these criteria, the plan for the training becomes clearer for both parties.
Step 2: Training the individual to a set of clearly defined criteria will be quicker and more thorough than against some vague set of definitions. Furthermore, the individual will gain more ownership if they fully understand the rationale and purpose of the work.
Step 3: Providing feedback is a crucial part of the process. It's when both parties can review themselves against the defined criteria. The individual will be assured about their own abilities and potentially be able to train others. Furthermore, they will have accepted a level of performance that they seek to achieve. On the flip side, the organisation will have gained prima-facie evidence that the individual knows the requirements of the job. In the event of a claim against the organisation for stress or injury, the organisation will be able to use this evidence as mitigation.
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Adam has been working on Quality and Environmental management systems for most of his career in small, medium and corporate organisations. A keen advocate of the ISO approach as a platform for improvement, Adam ensures that systems are practical and useful for Managers and Staff to use.
Following a number of years working on software development projects, Adam has diversified into Information Security and Business Continuity management. Keen to formalise his industry experience, he is currently undertaking a Diploma in Business Continuity Management at Buckingham University.
Adam has a PhD from Cranfield University and now supports the MSc Environmental Management programmes through the advisory panel and visiting lectures.
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