Mid Ocean Club earns IIP gold standard
Mid Ocean Club has become the first Bermuda workplace to earn gold accreditation in the sixth-generation of framework testing by the Investors in People organisation.
Founded in 1991, IIP is an independent, not-for-profit company that helps organisations worldwide to lead, support and manage people effectively to achieve sustainable results.
IIP has accredited some 14,000 organisations in 75 countries.
Levels of accreditation, in ascending order, are standard, silver, gold, and platinum.
Less than 7 per cent of organisations worldwide achieve gold accreditation.
Austen Gravestock, general manager at Mid Ocean, said: “We are pretty pleased with ourselves. It's a big accolade for the club and something we want to build on. We want to go forward and become the first organisation on the island to achieve platinum-level accreditation.”
Mid Ocean's formal IIP assessment began in January when 80 per cent of the club's 109 staff members completed an online assessment.
Gill Brown, an assessor from IIP, spent a week at the Tucker's Town club before giving it the seal of approval.
She conducted onsite interviews with randomly selected staff members, and directly observed Mid Ocean's culture, policies and practices that evidenced application of the IIP framework.
Benchmarked against other organisations in Mid Ocean's online assessment category, the organisation finished with a score of 755 out of a possible 900 points.
That placed it fifth in the category of arts, recreation and leisure. The average IIP benchmark for the category is 724 and the average industry benchmark is 698.
Within each of the four standards of accreditation, IIP has four levels of “maturity” — developed, established, advanced, and high-performing. Organisations seeking accreditation are assessed according to 27 themes, scored by maturity level.
Mid Ocean earned its gold standard having achieved “advanced” level in 21 out of 27 themes. The accreditation is good for a three-year period.
Mr Gravestock assumed his post nearly three years ago following stints in England as chief executive of London Golf Club and general manager at Sunningdale Golf Club, which earned gold accreditation from IIP.
He began working at Mid Ocean a few months after human resources manager Robin Tucker arrived from law firm Appleby.
Together, they put a framework in place in a bid to change the culture at the club.
A complex learning and development programme was set up, which included coaching, mentoring, recognition programmes and in-depth performance management.
Staff participated in a performance bonus scheme, and employees were allotted a share of the bonus pool.
Managers and supervisors also benefited from a formal coaching and training programme.
A team of IIP advocates played a critical role, endorsing the IIP framework to their peers on staff.
“Good people management leads to good performance,” Mr Gravestock said. “Do all the right things by people to help them become more efficient, and they'll have sustainable improvements in performance.”
Ms Tucker said: “At the core of what we are doing is a focus on improving staff.”
Mr Gravestock added: “Our belief is in servant leadership. Our people are at the top of our inverted pyramid, with managers at the bottom. You have to support people with what they want to achieve.
“I don't perform — our team performs — and I do my very best to support them on a daily basis. Empowerment is the key to all of that.”
Mr Gravestock said the challenge was to convince all staff to buy into the more structured workplace environment.
“We had to get everyone on the bus, get everyone to believe in all the things we wanted to do,” he said.
“Change is tricky, no less here than anywhere else. Mid Ocean has always had a family feeling, and we wanted to add to that feeling and give it real purpose, a framework to have the family directed in the right way so that it was driven by wanting to have better performance.”
Ms Tucker added: “In the beginning, not everyone was on board, but as they went through the process people started to understand what the framework was all about — and became champions for the IIP model.”
Ms Brown, the IIP specialist assessor, said: “What has made Mid Ocean Club so special in the context of Investors in People is how the organisation has used the framework as a transformational tool; one of the best examples the assessor has seen.”
She added: “This gold accreditation is an accolade to the strength of the leadership that starts with the board and cascades down to people at grass-roots level; the support of the policies and procedures in ensuring consistency of practices; and last, but definitely not least, to the pride and belief of people that Mid Ocean is a great place to work.”
Eric Jenkinson, quality manager for IIP Bermuda, said: “This is a massive achievement by Mid Ocean Club. To achieve gold level accreditation on their first assessment is a very rare event and shows just how good they are at managing their people to deliver excellence in all aspects of their business.”
He added: “To be benchmarked against the world's leading people management framework and standard and to achieve this outcome speaks volumes about how dedicated the team at Mid Ocean Club are to pushing the boundaries on service delivery.”
Mr Gravestock said: “We are proud to have achieved this pinnacle at our first time of trying, but more importantly we are delighted with how as an organisation we have embraced the change of culture over what has been a relatively short period of time.
“Mid Ocean has an enviable reputation within the club industry — being IIP gold accredited can only further solidify its position.”