Written by David Knowles

Believing in the power of people

bda has had a long held belief in the power of people. Our Investors in People Gold Award, Great Place to Work listing and shortlisting in the Employer of the Year category at the National Business Awards provide some proof of this.

But in practice, does the belief and the associated investment in your team bring the benefits to justify the investment?

Let’s talk numbers. Last year we invested three times the industry average of £600 per person on training our team. I’m not telling you this to blow our own trumpet, anyone can open their wallet and spend money on training. I’m telling you this to provide some perspective on the value we place on investing in our team. And we only want to spend more as the years roll on.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this on LinkedIn.


As a small business, where every penny counts, we could easily take the view of the CFO and spend nothing on the development of our team. It would certainly be cheaper – short-term anyway.

Investing in your team is a long-term commitment. It is a risk, an opportunity cost, time consuming and once begun difficult to stop. And sometimes the measurability of the return is very difficult to quantify, because “who’s to say that wouldn’t have happened anyway”.

Well, let’s look at what has happened to bda whilst we’ve been investing in our team: 

  • We’ve achieved and/or been shortlisted for three employee related awards and accreditations
  • 95% of our team think bda’s a good/great place to work
  • Our net promoter score has improved from an already excellent score of 52 to 62
  • Revenues are up 25% on the previous year
  • Job applicants have doubled
  • 88% of our clients love working with us

So, is this just a coincidence? Could the above have happened anyway? In my opinion, no. Without the ongoing training of our team we’d never have achieved all we have. 

But what is more important are the long term benefits of the training, and the learning and development culture which is now engrained into bda and transcends our team.

We do not force training on anyone, we don’t need to, everyone is hungry to learn. Although there are companywide training initiatives – we’ve held sessions on nutrition, making meetings magic and effective brainstorming already this year – we go one step further and let our team choose the training they want to do with their own budget to spend how they wish. 

Some would see this as risky, we don’t. We communicate our strategy, performance and objectives on an ongoing basis. The team knows where we are going and what their role is in achieving it. So doesn’t that make them best placed to know what training they need and they are going to get the most from to help us achieve our goals? Furthermore, they won’t only become more knowledgable team members, but also feel more valued, enthused, educated, empowered and impassioned from this training too… 

So, given all the financial, emotional and intellectual benefits you get from investing in your team the question for me is not why would you invest in your team, it’s why wouldn’t you?