Businesses that have gained the Investors in People Standard are more likely to have a flexible workforce able to adapt to change and survive the downturn in the economy.

Research carried out by the Cranfield School of Management for Investors in People UK, the body that works with organisations to improve performance, reveals companies that have have carried out IiP are more likely to have staff able to adapt to cope with changing workplace conditions or practices.

Trish Fraser, managing director of Quality South East, the Investors in People Centre for the region, said: “Our research has shown that employees in organisations with Investors in People have a greater willingness to gain new skills, do different jobs and adapt to new ways of working.

“Times are tough at the moment and there is no sign of improvement in the near future. Having a flexible workforce could be the key to surviving the current downturn.”

The research also demonstrated Investors in People accredited organisations are more likely to have high levels of product and service innovation.

Ms Fraser added: “Companies must differentiate themselves in order to win new business and stay ahead of their competitors.

“The ability to be innovative and creative in delivering products and services is a great way of doing this. Having a flexible workforce is vital to adapt to the challenging and constantly changing business climate.”

According to the research, adopting IiP principles sets off a chain reaction which results in better financial performance.

Companies working towards IiP will adapt their policies, which leads to greater levels of trust, co-operation and engagement in employees.

Businesses were also found to perform better when employees have clear goals and are supported by human resources practices.

Ms Fraser said: “Organisations should be doing all they can to ensure their survival and look after their staff at the moment. Investing in employees really does pay off and when the marketplace improves, those staff will be needed to take on new work and help the company thrive.”

Banbury law firm Brethertons has recently been awarded IiP status to mark its commitment to training and development and best practice.

Senior partnerRichard Pell said: “The IiP status confirms the company’s strategy of putting people at the forefront in its business is good for employees, clients and business.

“It recognises the work we have done in training and developing our staff.

In addition to the benefits of continuous training, the IiP report highlighted the fact that people enjoy working at Brethertons and take pride in their job.

Many staff are also sponsored to complete their legal professional qualifications and develop their careers.

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