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Exclusive Interview:Paul Devoy, CEO of Investors in People


Business News Wales talks to Paul Devoy, CEO, Investors in People about his career, plans for the future of IIP and his tips and advice on how to be successful in business.

Can you give our readers a little background into yourself and your role within Investors in People?

I am the CEO of Investors in People and led its transition from a Government owned scheme to an independent Community Interest Company. I started my career as a Civil Servant and then moved into HR and OD roles including four years with Scottish Prison Service. Prior to joining IIP I worked on workforce development programmes across the UK’s four devolved Governments with the aim of reducing skills gaps and shortage in a wide range of sectors.

What are your plans for the next five years, and where do you see your challenges and opportunities?

My aim is to grow the community of Investors in People employers and employees both in the UK and internationally. We constantly seek to improve the value we add to the community we serve by ensuring that IIP reflects the latest thinking on leadership and people management

The biggest challenge is to improve the understanding of the brand and what it means if you work for an employer that is Investor in People accredited.

Looking back at your career, are there things you would have done differently? 

I did not have the confidence to take enough risks – I now understand that it is only by trying new things, even if you fail, that you grow through the experiences

What do you think are the most important qualities for success in business?

  • Strong purpose that your customers, staff and stakeholders buy into which is key to building your brand
  • Culture where there is high expectations and even higher support for your people
  • Relentless focus on improvement in every aspect of the business –  people, processes
  • Understanding your customers and potential new markets to identify where you can create value
  • Look after the cash flow

What are your top three tips for success?

  • Have a “growth mentality” i.e. never stop learning and trying to improve
  • Don’t give up when you come up against initial barriers to change
  • Treat other people the way you would want them to treat you

Are there any innovations within your sector that you believe should be adopted by the wider Welsh market?

It would be great to see even more Welsh organisations working with Investors in People, in order to develop creative people management strategies to support strategies for organisational growth.

Do you foresee any issues that Welsh business will be facing in the short/medium/long term?

  • Local council elections could affect business e.g. planning policy
  • Brexit and the resulting changes to the significant funding that Wales benefits from
  • Differential business support from England and Scotland

Do you have any predictions in regards to the impact of Brexit on your sector?

It will hopefully force business to make strategic decisions in the interests of their growth and sustainability rather than always having an eye on what generates the most funding support

What do you think Wales’ strengths and weaknesses are as a place to do business?

Wales is producing high quality school leavers and graduates that compete for the best jobs across the UK and the World. Wales needs to ensure there are world class jobs and organisations to keep them here to build a thriving economy

What can Wales do to attract more inward investment?

Resolve the transport congestion on the M4 with decisive progress on the M4 relief road plans. We should ensure there is a skilled workforce for the future by investing in schools and further education. Drive STEM activity in schools to inspire future generations of innovative and creative employees and employers.