Page 5: Investing in people
In 1988, Great Mills analysed staff turnover and found it to be 120% per year. As this was particularly worrying, they commissioned a staff survey by MORI for internal use, which was published in 1991. The survey showed that the majority of staff had goodwill towards the Company, but felt that the level of training they received was poor.
As a result of this, Great Mills introduced a National Vocational Qualifications programme at Level 2 in Retailing. Modern qualifications like NVQs are based upon a competence model. An NVQ is a statement of competence clearly relevant to work, that is intended to facilitate entry into - or progression in - employment, further education and training. It is issued by a nationally recognised awarding body, such as City & Guilds, to an individual. The statement of competence incorporates specified standards - the ability to perform a range of work-related activities and skills, including the demonstration of knowledge and understanding which underpin such performance in employment. NVQ programmes have not been compulsory but have resulted in:
- more able, flexible and committed staff
- improved customer service.
The results were significant and gave Great Mills the confidence to try to attain the Investors in People award. In December 1994, Great Mills made a commitment to a two-year programme designed to achieve the Investors in People standard. The Company would then be able to use this to show an ongoing commitment to the development of people through training and development.
Investors in People is the National Standard which sets a level of good practice for the training and development of people to achieve business goals. It provides a framework for cohesive action through:
- specifying the principles which tie training and development activity directly to business objectives
- ensuring resources committed to training and development are put to the most effective use
- providing a clear benchmark of good practice in training and development against which any organisation, large or small, can measure progress towards improved business performance.
The commitment by Great Mills in 1994 marked the beginning of a two-year programme which would provide long-term benefits for all employees.