IIP matters more in COVID-19 era

IIP matters more in COVID-19 era – Democracy Counts Limited

Democracy Counts CEO, Simon Verdon

Achieving its Investors in People (IIP) Award during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant more than just a vote of staff confidence for Warrington-based election software specialists, Democracy Counts Limited.

“Over the last several months we’ve received our Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation, won three business awards and been nominated for a further two. However, the achievement we’re most proud of is our newly-received Standard IIP Award,” explains Democracy Counts CEO, Simon Verdon.

“Gaining IIP status at a time when so many businesses have been forced to make staff redundant or even close has been part of an ongoing mission for us to show that saving on employee wellbeing is a false-economy.”

“We fully appreciate our staff are the greatest asset we have, and this is reflected in our IIP feedback which highlights a clear purpose and vision, strong performance management, ownership and responsibility given to staff, and strong learning and development – all supported by a committed senior team.

“This matters to us, not just so we can add another gong to a trophy cabinet, but because there is an ethical case and financial benefit from investing in employees. In 2019 70 million workdays in the UK were lost due to mental health issues, costing employers £2.4 billion – and this was before COVID-19 hit.

“Our headquarters are in Warrington, but as well as having staff working from home wherever possible in the present environment, we also have regional managers, sales, marketing and project teams operating in all corners of the UK.

“To keep performing effectively we believe it’s vital to act as a unified organisation – meaning nobody gets left out or behind, no matter how far apart people might be,” concludes Verdon.

To succeed in IIP Democracy Counts Limited’s tips are to invest in:

1. Management training

Good managers impact an entire organisation for the better. They can encourage and empower staff to excel and fully develop their potential, so invest in professional training to get them to this point. Staff who are poorly managed or stressed have a very negative impact on the workplace and themselves. It’s important to support others to understand their role within the organisation and enable them to add value.

2. Showing alignment

People should be aligned to business goals and strategies – otherwise their function isn’t strategic. These connections shouldn’t just be implied, they should directly link to processes, timings and other important decisions. Put in place clear metrics to show how ambitions are overtaken by impacts or issues that matter to the board.

3. Work and home balance

COVID-19 has a lot of people working from home, but it’s important to maintain as clear a division as possible between the two. Having open discussions about workloads, professional expectations and finding opportunities for employees and company to benefit from flexible working improves mental health, wellbeing, motivation and results.

4. Learning from evidence


The leap between collecting and analysing data for an individual training activity, to evaluating and demonstrating impact metrics for an ongoing business-wide initiative can sometimes feel daunting. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it should be dismissed – there’s always a solution. Present the evidence as a story that describes the scale of the challenge and its impact on business performance, describe the links between cause and effect and demonstrate how the strategy can take credit for the improvements in business metrics.

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