How and why we Invest in People (and can now prove it!)

Kate McCabe | 21 September 2021

Why Investors in People?

Successfully achieving four Gold and two Platinum awards from the IPA for our focus on professional development and with our team continuing to grow, we were ready for the next step. So, we started looking for a broader accreditation to show our all-round commitment to them. Our research showed Investors in People (IIP) incorporate all the things that are important to us, from empowering and involving people, to delivering continuous improvement.


We decided to take the plunge and open up the doors to Cuttsy+Cuttsy (both virtually and physically) for IIP to decide whether we truly do live up to our motto of ‘Where People Matter’.


We were optimistic that Cuttsy+Cuttsy is a place where everyone is well looked after, can learn, develop, and feel inspired. But how could we be sure this is truly the experience of the team on the ground? We knew there was a risk we might not always get the full picture if we asked the team ourselves, and the IIP process gave everyone the chance to confidentially share their experience with someone outside of the company. It’s always satisfying to affirm where you think you are, but we also wanted to know our shortcomings and where we aren’t getting it quite right.


The Process

IIP recommend you dive straight in and don’t ‘prepare’ for being assessed as this will give a truer reflection. As tempting as it was to get our house in order beforehand, we followed their advice and put ourselves forward. It was important to us that it wasn’t a tick-box exercise, but one that truly reflected our ethos and culture and the feeling we hope we create working here. From the outset we encouraged people to be open and honest and to share the good, the bad and the ugly. The team were all invited to complete an anonymous survey on their experiences, and we had 100% completion rate.


An in-depth meeting explored where we thought we currently sat for 9 IIP indicators and how we could evidence this, spanning living our company values to recognising and rewarding high performance. Having already got things like our ‘No Long Hours’ policy, focus on CPD and mental wellbeing initiatives in place, it was actually less daunting than expected. That’s not to say we weren’t put through our paces!


Having moved to our new office at the end of 2020, we felt it was important for our assessor to experience the feel of walking into our environment, something a lot of thought has gone into creating. With restrictions lifted, many of our team have chosen a hybrid of office and home working, so over half of the 9 interviews our assessor requested, were conducted in person at The Works. This meant we could give her the experience of a ‘first day’ at Cuttsy+Cuttsy; setting up her personalised locker, a mug and notebook in her favourite colour, a schedule for the day, a Cuttsy+Cuttsy water bottle and the new staple, a miniature hand sanitiser.


It was great to share our physical environment, but, most importantly, the one-to-one meetings gave a private, no-holds barred opportunity for staff to share their thoughts on what matters most; values, opportunities and development, leadership, communication, how they are treated…


But why is this so important to us?

Our working culture very much operates on trust. Even before a global pandemic, if your child was unwell, we trusted you to work from home and be honest about how much you were able to do (either then making up hours or taking some annual leave, your choice). The more rules and regulations you put in place, the more people feel they need to play the corporate game and take less personal responsibility. Treat your people like children and that’s how they are likely to act. Treat them as trusted, respected adults and you usually find people go above and beyond. We have found that creating the right culture and giving individuals autonomy gets the best out of people.


We hope we always do our best for people, but as they say, you can’t always please all of the people all of the time. Treating people equally does not necessarily mean treating people the same. This is why we treat everyone and their circumstances individually and consider situations on a case-by-case basis. Who then knew if one person’s perception of the company would be the same as the next?


We want to demonstrate that we value and invest in our team but also want to be sure that they feel it! Yes, it looks good on the website and is attractive to potential new recruits, but do all companies truly live up to their accreditations and awards or just talk the talk? We’re confident that we are living our values, but it’s always reassuring to hear it first-hand.


The proof

We are delighted to announce that IIP has now endorsed this and awarded us a ‘We Invest In People, Gold’ accreditation! We feel an extra sense of achievement to have achieved Gold first time around. This recognition gives us proven reassurance our people practices allow our team to do their best work, in a place where they can grow and feel appreciated. Our people scored us above the average IIP and industry benchmark, recognising we really are walking the walk.


Join us

So if you would like to be part of a company that truly invests in people, take a look at our current opportunities and get in touch.

As IIP observed in their feedback:

People really do matter at Cuttsy+Cuttsy.  You care about your people, and we know you’re ambitious to do even more for them.