University of Otago Executive Programmes Investors in People accredited

The University of Otago’s department of Executive Programmes is the first New Zealand university department to gain accreditation to the Investors in People (IIP) standard.

The Investors in People accreditation framework, used by over 20,000 businesses globally, is a people-orientated management process, applied by organisations and commercial companies to boost performance by helping employees to reach their true potential.

Executive Programmes introduced the IIP framework earlier in 2014 as a fresh way of delivering on its strategic objectives, ensuring its management systems remain forward thinking as well as efficient.  At the same time it believes this new approach will enhance its reputation as a leading provider of business executive education in New Zealand.

Executive Programmes Director Ian Lafferty believes adopting a new people-orientated best practice will focus business performance, through boosting working culture and leadership, increasing employee engagement, and helping to retain and attract talented people.  
The Executive Programme team have worked through the 39 evidence based measures to assess how the programme compared to the international standard.  It has taken several months to work out the changes needed and to put those changes into practice to improve performance.

Mr Lafferty said the process has helped with staff engagement as well as presenting challenges.  

 “The biggest challenge is for each of us to continually check if the task we are undertaking contributes to the programme’s objectives.  It has been giving us the necessary checks and balances to be very consistent about delivering quality,” he said.

“One change to staff engagement has been for all of us to move into an integrated office space so we are no longer working in communication silos. It’s already proved a very effective way of improving performance.”

It’s not only making sure internal systems are robust and measurable, the framework is putting the university department’s customer service approach under the microscope to ensure excellence is maintained across the board.  “It offers an effective standard to benchmark ourselves against others, and a process for ensuring continuous improvement as we move up the standards accreditation ranking.”

It will also provide a resource for the programme’s executive students to learn from.

Investors in People NZ Ltd Managing Director Stuart Burgess said the IIP framework is already a significant good practice model for benchmarking people management in the UK and Europe, and is now extending into New Zealand.

He said the strength of IIP is the belief that engaging the people at the heart of a business is the smart way to get ahead, whether its global corporates like Sony, or small organisations.  Leading research supports this philosophy and the IIP Standard provides the context to make it work. “We’re thrilled that the Otago programme is the first Dunedin organisation, and the first New Zealand university department to be accredited.”