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Case Study: Investors in People Champion ClinPhone

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Investors In People

Since putting in place the Investors in People (IiP) Standard Clinphone Group has won an American Business Award, two Queen’s Awards for International Trade and Innovation, and was ranked 47th in the 2003 “Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For.” Read on to find out how and why it became an IiP Champion.


The organisation
ClinPhone Group provides Internet and telephone-based technology solutions for clinical trial management in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Put simply, their work speeds the development, testing and availability of products needing to go through a clinical trial process. This allows pharmaceutical sponsors to accelerate their drug development processes and get drugs to market far faster than traditionally possible.

ClinPhone Group was founded in 1993 and from small beginnings has grown rapidly. It now employs 293 people at its head office in Nottingham and at two European offices in Belgium and Germany. The company operates from Nottingham as a global business working in over 80 countries and 71 languages.

The challenge
ClinPhone Group started as a small hi-tech company working in a niche market. It needed a framework to develop its people which offered a benchmark of good practice, was non-bureaucratic, practical and which focused on valuable outputs. The company needed to support continuous development of its professional staff, offer progression and career opportunities for support and admin staff, and instil a culture of developing all people within the organisation at a time of rapid growth.

The Investors in People Standard was chosen as the ideal tool and ClinPhone Group was recognised as an Investor in People in 2001.

The solution
Looking back, the company says that “Investors in People put the discipline in place”. An initial survey on starting the work to achieve the Standard found that the company needed to do little to comply. The framework – “a framework for achievement” and “the road map” as the company puts it – put together the communications, planning, development and evaluation processes which were necessary. ClinPhone worked on creative ways of retaining, developing and incentivising people.

It developed ways of growing its own leaders and managers. At the same time it was learning to cope with rapid technology change and growth while satisfying the workflow improvement requirements of its growing global “blue chip” client base.

The results
The people systems put in place have matured. Recruitment and selection processes are rigorous and effective. Every member of staff has role-specific induction and a personal professional development portfolio. Regular appraisals and feedback sessions take place. The company intranet tracks staff attitudes and invites suggestions.

Enhancements to the working environment were made following staff suggestions. Ideas are rewarded with cash awards on a sliding scale. The company works with the professional institutions dealing with management, marketing and personnel and development, and pays the fees of those taking professional qualifications in these disciplines. It has also added resources to enhance its in-house training capability and facilities. ClinPhone has won an American Business Award, two Queen’s Awards for International Trade and Innovation, and was ranked 47th in the 2003 “Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For.”

From turnover of £4.8m in year 2000, turnover in year 2004/5 will be over £28m with commensurate “bottom line” impact. The total workforce of 70 people in 2000 has grown to 412 globally in 2004.

ClinPhone works in its local community by providing assistance to the Notts County Football in the Community (FITC) scheme, a registered charity affiliated with Notts County Football Club which works with disadvantaged children. And its teams can recharge their batteries by bidding for cash from the “Fun Money” scheme which they can spend on their choice of activity, be it paintballing, visiting a theme park or off-road driving. The company is now committed to achieve all three Investors in People Models.

Champion status
ClinPhone Group Ltd is delighted with its achievement of Investors in People Champion status. As a relatively young and rapidly-growing organisation it has a fund of experience in recruitment, selection, motivation, competency frameworks, satisfaction surveys and workplace factors. It would like to be known as a mentor and hopes to learn as well as impart from best-practice sharing.

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