Investing in management and leadership training will build “better leaders, better businesses and a better economy” the Institute of Directors (IoD) Northern Ireland Leadership Lunch has heard.

The event held at Belfast City Hall, which brought together business leaders from organisations across Northern Ireland and experts from the fields of productivity and skills, provided the launch for the IoD’s Leadership Dividend report.

The study, which was commissioned to determine the value of professional development for managers and directors, found more than half of business leaders that underwent training said it had a positive impact on their organisation’s productivity and skills.

Gordon Milligan, IoD NI Chairman, said:

“Promoting the development of our leaders to enable better business outcomes is among the key drivers for the Institute of Directors.

“The Leadership Dividend report illustrates the tremendous worth of investing in management and leadership training. Nine out of ten respondents agreed that their work performance had improved as a result of their training. More than 60 per cent of those surveyed who had taken part in training said it had positively impacted their firm’s productivity.

“The results of the research reinforce a view that through investment in professional development, an individual and their organisation will be able to perform better and to embrace all challenges presented by an ever-changing marketplace and economy.

“That is why the IoD places professional development at the very heart of what we do. In Northern Ireland, 800 leaders have completed the IoD Diploma in Company Direction while we have more than 60 IoD Chartered Directors. Through our IoD Academy, launched in Northern Ireland earlier this year, we work with business leaders from across the economy to provide access to internationally recognised courses and qualifications.”

Other key findings from the research, which was carried out by Baker Tilly Mooney Moore, included that 41 per cent of business leaders that had undergone management training said it had resulted in increased turnover while 53 per cent agreed that staff retention had improved.

Andrew Webb, Economic Advisory Director at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore, added:

“We were pleased to work alongside the IoD to produce The Leadership Dividend report which sought to find if there was a correlation between improved levels of participation in training and increased productivity.

“It was clear from the research that management and leadership training is working, with 98 per cent of those surveyed that had undertaken professional development deeming the impact to have been be positive.

“The findings clearly strengthen the case for professional development by illustrating that investing in management and leadership training really does make good business sense.”

The event also saw four IoD NI members, Ian Sheppard, Helen Fitzpatrick, Paul Terrington and Dr Bryan Keating OBE awarded with Fellowship status.

A panel discussion heard from Dr Neil Bentley, originally from Belfast who is Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK, a partnership between governments, employers and education which aims to help accelerate young people’s career development.

He was joined by Microsoft Ireland Commercial Director Aisling Curtis and Tony Danker, also from Belfast, who is Chief Executive of Be The Business, a new business-led organisation created to close the UK’s productivity gap.

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