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At IPI, it is our people that make us the company that we are today. Our people shape our culture. They drive our business forward and deliver the exceptional service our clients have come to expect.

With our people so firmly at the heart of our operations, it seems only fitting that we take the opportunity to share with you some of the practices we employ here at IPI to ensure that our team is looked after and how we help them deliver.

A key part of this strategy is how we look at performance. Performance – looking at the success of an individual and how their role contributes to the success of a team – is a huge focus for our People Team. There are, however, different schools of thought as to how performance should best be assessed. Traditionally, most organisations “manage performance”, however, here at IPI, we strive to “enable” it.

What is performance enablement?

Performance enablement is about helping people to be successful by bringing their best, true selves to work each day, whether remotely or in person. Rather than a manager setting goals and tasking individuals with meeting them, performance enablement means working with people, to help them reach their desired development goals and performance objectives.

This is more than a rebrand of the traditional (and outdated) performance management ethos. This is about fostering great relationships, building a workplace community and working with people to help provide the tools and resources to be successful.

For this to work, it has to have engagement and support from across the whole organisation – including the leadership team. This is more than a ‘People Team’ initiative; it is a change in the culture of the organisation towards investing in relationships amongst team members and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to thrive. The strength of these relationships will then go on to foster change and drive improvements in an individual’s performance.

What does it mean at IPI?

We began our journey towards performance enablement a year ago. As a company who is committed to providing exceptional customer contact to our clients, we felt that a move to performance enablement was a natural extension, helping us to provide exceptional contact with one another too.

As such, we’ve implemented a series of initiatives designed to promote relationship-based performance enhancement. These include:

  • Informal, frequent 121s – These are key to building strong relationships where honest, timely discussions can be had at both a business and personal level. In a world where the lines between work and home life are blurred, the role of the manager has expanded. It is no longer effective to know your people purely from a work-related perspective. If a manager is to truly engage with and support their team, then it is essential that they have an understanding of what the person has going on at home and to genuinely care about their wellbeing. Within these discussions, our people are engaged in conversations where they are asked how they are doing, what support they need, in addition of course to standard work-related discussions.
  • Career conversations – At IPI, we are committed to helping our people reach their career goals – whether that is becoming a CEO or having a healthy work-life balance. As such, we have provided specialist training to our management team on how best to have career conversations and support their people with building Development Plans.
  • Talent Forum – On a quarterly basis The Senior leadership team get together to discuss and review performance and development of the IPI team. Our senior leaders are committed to investing in and supporting the growth and success of our people.

We look at how people are progressing against their development goals and consider what, if any support is required.  Would it be beneficial for that person to have a mentor either from somewhere within the business or from an external network?  Are there common themes coming out of the discussion that mean we have a collective need for training or support? Are people too busy to achieve their development goals and if so, what can be done to address that?  These are some of the general discussion points that may arise and resulting actions are then reviewed at the next talent forum.

  • A focus on ‘the how’ – We care as much about how our people go about their work as well as what they deliver. We do this by tying performance to our values. Our people are not purely rewarded for hitting their targets, we also want them to do it in the right way – making sure that they aspire to and act in line with our values.  Delivering exceptional customer contact to each other is of equal importance to meeting agreed performance objectives.

Achieving a true practice of performance enablement takes time to embed. We’re not there yet, but we’re proud of these starting initiatives and know what we need to do to get us and our people where we want to be.

We believe that by creating the right kind of environment, our people can flourish. We want our people to feel supported in their careers and to help them every step of the way. So, keep watching this space to see what we do next!

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