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Rotherham Metrpolitan Borough Council


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Rotherham Metrpolitan Borough Council

  1. 1. The MJ Achievement Awards 2007 Pay & Workforce Achievement of the Year Engaging with employees for business and cultural change
  2. 2. Project Drivers Over the last four years the Council has transformed from an underachieving Council to a strongly improving (rated 4*) organisation now with an overall 3* CPA rating (November 2005). We were the only Metropolitan Council to achieve a 4 star rating for improvement, warranting a feature case study in the Audit Commission CPA report for 2005. During 2005/06, some 80% of our key performance indicators have either been maintained or improved, with over a third in the top quartile. In the 2006 CPA Corporate Assessment, the Council received a 4* assessment for Performance Management, recognising the Council’s structured approach to the engagement of employees in service planning and delivery. The Council has continued to transform its services, including in 2006: • The creation of a Children and Young People’s Service (CYPS) • The challenge of closure and development of new sport and leisure facilities • The transfer of employees from across the Council to customer contact centres • Implementation of revised pay structures The level of organisational change required to bring about this transformation had the potential, like any change agenda, to disenfranchise and de-motivate employees. The project embedded the desired culture (our HEART Employee Commitments) and has given employees a voice in shaping the Council and provided them with the tools to improve service delivery (Exchange). Employee perception, measured (since 2002) by the employee opinion survey and Investors in People has shown a continuous upward trend (10 percentage points) with most marked improvements shown in communications, recognition, awareness of fit within the organisation, management of performance and motivation. 2
  3. 3. Project Strategy Excellent organisations put their workforce at the heart of what they do. The Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) Corporate Workforce Strategy defines leadership beyond the development of elected members/senior managers, setting a priority for all employees to be able to be leaders of the organisation. The employee engagement project fits within the leadership theme of the service plan for Strategic HR. Project Objectives • To engage employees in organisational development by developing/revising and re- launching initiatives that gives them the opportunity to put forward ideas/suggestions for improvements. • To demonstrate that views/opinions of employees are listened to and acted upon. • To make sure employees receive feedback on their ideas/suggestions. • By 2008 ensure that 85% of employees are aware of the employee suggestion scheme. • To raise awareness of HEART and measure its impact/validity. Project Management Commitment from the top Our Corporate Management Team (CMT) and Leader are committed to listening and responding to employees. In 2005 they agreed to bring together all our employee engagement mechanisms under one meaningful and recognisable brand name, ‘Exchange’ to further raise the profile of employee engagement. This brand includes the revised employee suggestion scheme, employee opinion survey, focus groups, the worker representative groups and a unique initiative called ‘Reach-In’. 3
  4. 4. Our Council Leader chairs the employee suggestion scheme panel. The panel which includes Elected Members, union representatives and employee representatives meet monthly to consider all the suggestions, make a decision on their implementation and if an award should be made. The panel also agree the quarterly/annual winners for the best suggestion, which are recognised formally at council meetings. Elected Members show their commitment to employee feedback by participating in their own survey and comparing their results with employee perceptions. Project team The council appointed an HR Officer responsible for employee involvement. The project involved working with a number of individuals/teams from across the council, including: • Directorate consultation co-ordinators • Directorate communications champions • Employee suggestion scheme panel • ‘Reach-In’ sub group including:  Corporate Internal Communications Officer  Corporate External Consultation Officer  SNAP (survey analysis tool) expert/directorate representative  Trainee HR Officer  Data expert Project Delivery History Previously we introduced new methods of communication (council-wide newsletter-‘Unite’, briefing sheets, corporate management team summaries-‘ComMenT’ and verbal briefing sessions for third tier managers), to cascade messages to managers/employees and enable involvement of employees and the sharing of ideas. 4
  5. 5. The HEART values emerged from a cultural survey and consultation with employees. In 2004 they were incorporated within new employee competencies which are assessed as part of the performance and development review process (PDR). 2006 We engaged employees in the new Council Priority Themes, by using ‘real’ employees in the publicity campaign. Reach-In was launched. This is a panel of 300 employees taking part in consultation on issues associated with employee experiences and the services provided by RMBC. ‘Reach-In’ uses consultation questionnaires (electronic/paper-based) and focus groups. Reach-In/focus groups have provided information on the awareness/understanding of Corporate Plan priorities and how the HEART commitments have become embedded in the organisation. It also allowed us to look at the awareness and understanding of the HR Service Centre, CYPS, and Flexible working. Exchange News, published twice during 2006, updates employees on findings from their feed-back and what we’re doing in response. During 2006 we held 15 Exchange focus groups. Topics included; IT training strategy, internal communication, customer contact centres and results from Reach-In. The employee suggestion scheme has been updated based on employee feedback and re- launched. The panel awarded the first quarterly awards to employees. These were recognised formally at full council meeting. The first Exchange Employee Opinion Survey (issued to all employees) ran during 2006. 5
  6. 6. We delivered against a publicity plan for HEART, including articles in Unite, payslip adverts, posters and merchandise. Monthly Team/Employee HEART awards were given. Team/Employee/Manager of the Year awards were given. Communication With 13,500 employees (not all co-located and not all on-line) reaching/encouraging them to participate in the initiatives was a potential barrier. We used an integrated marketing/publicity approach. Including: • Developing the Exchange brand linking the employee experience with the “excellence” agenda. • Unite –corporate internal newsletter. • Departmental newsletters. • Team/manager briefing documents. • Payslips. • Team meeting visits. • Drop-in events. • Intranet. • Specialist events – E.g. International Women's Day/Health Fair. • Posters. • Merchandise – stress balls/pens/drinks mats/puzzle trays. Project Date Line–2006 January First ‘Reach-In’ survey. First Employee Suggestion Scheme quarterly awards. HEART annual publicity plan approved. First Exchange focus group. Exchange publicity. 6
  7. 7. February Exchange intranet site launched. March First ‘Reach-In’ report. Agreed focus group topics/‘Reach-In’ dates for next financial year. April Employee Suggestion Scheme quarterly awards. Rotherham priority themes campaign launched. May Focus groups. June First Exchange News. 2006 Employee opinion survey. 2006 Elected Members survey. July ‘Reach-In’ 2. Employee Suggestion Scheme quarterly awards. September Employee Suggestion Scheme quarterly awards. CMT Report on findings from 2006 Exchange Employee Opinion Survey, including key targets and activity/changes to corporate workforce strategy. Focus groups. October Reach-In 2 report. Employee Suggestion Scheme quarterly winners. November Employee Opinion Survey supplement, distributed with Unite Reach-In 3. Elected Member survey results to Member Development Panel. December Exchange News (Winter). HEART Employee/Team/Manager annual awards. 7
  8. 8. Employee Suggestion Scheme annual awards. Bi-monthly Unite featuring articles on HEART/suggestion scheme winners and results from Reach-In/employee opinion survey. The future The Exchange project is ongoing. During 2007 we will: Map ‘Reach-In’ results with community consultation. Develop employee engagement profiles across the council. Achievements Project Outcomes • Revised/re-launched our employee suggestion scheme based on employee feedback. Received 372 suggestions, compared with 200 in the four years the previous scheme was operating. • 67 awards made for successful employee suggestions. • 300 employees on ‘Reach-In’ panel. Panel is representative of the workforce in terms of gender/age/salary/ethnicity/disability/directorates. • First ‘Reach-In’ survey had a response rate of 67% and Reach-In 2 was 61.5%. • Actions in response to ‘Reach-In’ are integrated into our corporate workforce strategy for performance management. • Programme for focus groups delivered. • First re-branded Exchange employee opinion survey. • Key messages/progress from feedback now promoted to employees by: Unite Departmental newsletters Intranet ‘Exchange News’ Team briefings 8
  9. 9. • The worker representative groups championed issues. E.g. the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) group were involved in mentoring 11 positive action trainees from Rotherham’s BME communities. • Elected Members survey (response 54%). • HEART publicity plan achieved (monitored in Reach-In). Impact Internally The 2006 employee opinion survey showed improvements in employee perceptions of communication, including across teams/services and understanding of individual’s contribution to corporate priorities. In the 2006 internal review process for Investors in People, Internal Assessors noted a clear improvement in employee perception of how they are involved/engaged. They said; Paul Cosgrove, “Managers explained how the council has a formal suggestion scheme. The Head of Service referred to the Exchange initiatives. Managers explained how they felt that a culture now existed, and was encouraged, whereby staff were able to put forward ideas with confidence at team meetings… there is now a management attitude of encouraging contributions from staff.” Marie Swallow, “There is clear evidence of a culture of continuous improvement where employees can share their ideas for improvement.” Since 2002 employee satisfaction has increased by 10% points. Employee opinion survey results 2006 Question/Statement % positive Variance 2006 from 2002 If I want to put forward new ideas or suggestions for improvement, I know how to do so. 68 +31 I am confident my ideas or suggestions will be 42 +23 listened to I am confident I would get feedback on my ideas 42 +23 and suggestions 9
  10. 10. I am aware of the Council’s employee suggestion 72 +25 scheme Moyra Mitchell, Secretary, Environmental Development Services said of Reach-In “The scheme means that staff, even those who are not on it, know their views are valued. It is good to feel you are having an input into the direction of the Council”. Paula Grainger, Regional Skills and Capacity Adviser, Improvement and Development Agency said “Rotherham have demonstrated terrific enthusiasm and commitment and have used innovative ways to change cultural attitudes and behaviour within the organisation and make staff feel valued”. The Culture and Leisure Inspector said “Improvement action plans, with objectives and measures, are incorporated into service plans and team plans. This means that individuals within the service know what is expected of them, and how their work contributes to overall aims”. Impact Externally Our CPA score has improved to a 3* (from 1* and 2*). The only Metropolitan Borough Council classed as improving strongly. Our CPA Corporate Assessment report 2006 indicates the progress made in engagement of employees: “The ‘golden thread’ continues into performance development reviews for teams and individuals”, “innovation, flexibility, ownership and diversity are encouraged”. The Council received a 4* assessment for Performance Management “Service improvement is supported by stakeholder involvement. The Council's Reach- In and Reach-Out surveys are used to consult on satisfaction rates and drive improvement.” 10
  11. 11. Overall, we have seen service inspection improvements, partly influenced by this greater awareness of employees. E.g. Our IiP review (2006) for CYPS states “Given the scale of change being experienced by this Directorate, the evidence produced was very positive and indicates improvements in the Directorate in terms of keeping employees updated on the change agenda (Every Child Matters), involvement in planning, effectiveness of managers and recognition of employees”. RMBC has maintained its customer satisfaction levels, whilst nationally councils are experiencing dramatic drops (10%) in customer satisfaction. Value for Money £1.28 per employee was spent on the project. This is clearly good value for money as a better quality of service was provided within the same budget. Employee suggestions improving customer service include: A contact number on ID badges so the public can verify the authenticity of the employee. Important for officers visiting the elderly/vulnerable and meeting our ‘Rotherham Safe’ priority. High seating in Social Services public areas – many clients have difficulty getting in/out of a chair. Suggestions that made efficiency savings include: A change to the process/materials used for road markings. An inventory of council equipment that other departments can use, saving additional hire charges. The Culture and Leisure Inspector said “The Council has a well-developed approach to securing value for money, and can demonstrate reducing costs and increasing efficiency in cultural services”. 11
  12. 12. Employee Turnover reduced from 18% (2005) to 8.7% (2006). Sickness absence has reduced by 4.6 days between 2003 and 2006, currently standing at 9.2 days, representing efficiency savings of: 2006 £1.4M 2007 (based on current performance) £3.0M (Word Count: 1997) 12