Human Resource Management

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IiP May Contribute 'Little If Anything'

February 27 2008 - Research by Professor Kim Hoque of Nottingham University Business School published in the Industrial Relations Journal has found that a significant number of minority groups (women, ethnic minorities, temporary/fixed term employees, the disabled and older workers) are disadvantaged with regard to training provision in workplaces with Investors in People (IiP) accreditation compared to those without the award.

Drawing on data from almost 15 000 participants in the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey, 46 per cent of whom were in IiP accredited organizations, the study found that IiP had failed to improve training levels for many of these groups. The author explained that these are unexpected findings because following extensive revision in 2000, IiP has required organizations to fulfill an equal opportunities "indicator" with regard to employee development. The research suggests that large numbers are failing in this respect.

The author argues that these results support the government's decision in 2007 to reject the Women and Work Commission's recommendation to award IiP £1 million of public money to support promotion and expansion of equality and diversity best practice. The study found no evidence that IiP is associated with increased training levels for workers classified as "routine unskilled". The author concludes that IiP may be contributing "little if anything" to the achievement of a key government target of increasing the proportion of the adult workforce qualified to level 2.

Kim Hoque said:

"Although IiP requires organizations to uphold equal opportunities principles, it also requires them to gear their training provision to business need."

"In organizations where business need is narrowly defined, this often means developmental opportunities come to be targeted on a cadre of core value-creating professionals and managers, rather than the workforce as a whole. It does raise questions, though, as to how organizations are able to secure recognition despite failing to adhere to one of IiP's key requirements."

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