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Poor people management costing UK companies £84 billion

Poor people management is costing UK companies £84 billion a year, according to research from Investors in People and economic research consultancy TBR.

The Impact of Investing in People study, based on research into 8,750 businesses and Office for National Statistics data, revealed that the health and social care industry has the most potential to improve by changing how it manages its staff. This could contribute a potential £2.4 billion to the sector in productivity gains, the research claims.

The area that would benefit the most financially was the professional and financial services industry, which could gain an additional £29.9 billion in output.

The analysis found that six factors were statistically significant in explaining improvements in efficiency and performance: strong and inspiring leaders, having a set of strong values, recognising and rewarding performance, structuring work, delivering continuous improvement, and adoption of sustainable practices.

Investors in People head of marketing Thomas Bale said that some of the factors were surprising. “Interestingly recognising and rewarding performance increased efficiency significantly,” he told HR magazine. “Feeling rewarded at work is such a simple thing, but we found it mattered a huge amount.

“When a business is thinking about its people it is thinking about their performance. The values we identified aren’t a ‘nice to have’ they are a key driver of performance.”

The research was unveiled at an event at the Churchill War Rooms in London, attended by organisations that had passed Investors in People’s new benchmark, which was launched in September. The revised IIP standard benchmarks businesses according to their size and maturity. 

Adam Bowles, director of HR for one such organisation – Manchester Metropolitan University – said that providing a quality service had increased in importance in the higher education sector. “Apart from a mortgage, tuition fees are now the second biggest purchase you are likely to make. We need to be excellent across all areas; the academic side and the professional side.”

Deborah Snell, organisation development and training officer for Manchester Metropolitan University, said that the university adopted a “building block” approach to achieve its Investors in People award. “We needed to take several distinct steps,” she told HR magazine. “We looked at every aspect of university life and how to improve on that.

“We want to be an employer of choice, with the right staff and the best staff.”