Posts Tagged ‘HR’

Getting back to the office

Monday, September 7th, 2020

As we are opening up more and more of our buildings for colleagues to return as and when they need and want to, we have to acknowledge that our ways of working have changed out of all recognition in the past 6 months; we are adapting quickly to make the most of the opportunities.  Many of you will have heard me say that I’m very glad that we went down the Smart Working road some 4 years ago, but we’ve learned more in the past 6 months than we have in those previous 4 years.   I’m quite clear that we are not ordering people back to the office, but rather enabling safe environments for us to make the most of the new realities.  Fewer of us will come to the office for a desk and a computer, and more of us will come for specific activities, such as meetings which work better face to face than virtually. 

I was struck by conversations after a recent Business Brief that some colleagues in jobs that involve stressful interactions with clients and the public really miss the opportunity to sit with their teams and decompress.  As an intelligent, thinking organisation, we  are making that happen, and I seek your support in this endeavour.

We also recognise that our town centres rely on the footfall from office-based staff during the week. By providing a safe environment for more colleagues to return to workplaces, I hope an added benefit is that we can collectively support our local shops, eating places and other businesses, at a time when they really need our custom.

Elsewhere ,the county council is also adapting our HR policies to suit us as an organisation in the future.   We had an excellent briefing at SLT last week on re-thinking our HR policies.  I have personally always worked on the basis that I assume that everybody got up this morning wanting to do their best, and when that doesn’t happen, there are usually things that can be done to recover the situation with a bit of focussed leadership.  I was therefore delighted to listen to a briefing from Hannah Reade–Head of our Education HR Service which proposes “Freedom within a Framework”, reducing the number and complexity of our HR policies. The aim is to empower our people, accept that mistakes happen, that they are a sign of a learning and developing organisation, and the measure of success is that the same mistake isn’t made two or more times.     

Lastly this week, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to make a “plug” for the upcoming iManage workshops. In the coming weeks, managers will be asked to enrol on a series of workshops to give them the skills and confidence they need to have great conversations. It’s a conscious step-change in our approach to one-to-ones. I’m looking forward to the sessions and seeing you taking part.

Learning at Work Week

Monday, April 16th, 2018

We have Learning at Work Week coming up from 14 – 18 May.  You might remember last year’s event, which was hugely popular with colleagues, and introduced us to the idea that SUMO was not only large Japanese gentlemen wearing oversized loincloths, but also a technique for dealing with stress in our lives – Shut Up and Move On.  Catriona Hudson has been continuing the classes throughout the year, and indeed was recognised for her work as Mentor of the Year last November at the West Midlands Employers Awards.

Catriona’s success highlights the 2 aspects that I would like to raise in your minds, namely that of the Learning at Work Week continuing throughout the year, and also having a go at teaching yourself.  For the first part, the theme of this year’s week is Networks, and we will be using this as a handrail for the activities that we are putting on.  I would like you to sign up for at least one activity during the week, and would ask you to try something that you think you might like to continue learning about throughout the rest of the year.   The key here is that this is not the only week during which we learn at work – I like to learn something new every day at work, and usually do.  Rather, it is the week during which we make a special effort to learn.

The second part is that almost all of us have some skill that friends and colleagues would benefit from sharing.  Catriona learned about SUMO through her interest as a mentor and motivational speaker, and it has been hugely successful throughout the organisation.  Last year, we also had yoga classes in SP1, which is an excellent activity for boosting health and wellbeing.  I would ask you to have a think about what you could teach your colleagues and volunteer to give it a go.  From personal experience, the first time that you stand in front of a class is pretty daunting, but the buzz that you get from an appreciative audience is hard to beat.

I look forward to seeing you at this year’s events.

 

Summer breaks, My HR and the return of IRONMAN 70.3

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

I hope that you have all had a relaxing break over the summer and had the opportunity to spend some well-earned time with family and friends.  In the Henderson household, it continues to be a busy year as we get to the end of our self-build project.  It has meant that every spare moment has been booked with building and construction tasks, as well as supporting my wife, Shona, who has been acting as project manager.  It’s been a long haul, but it’s been worth it.

Back at SCC, this week sees another step on our way to being a smart working organisation with the launch of My HR.  This is rather more than a new software package, as it puts you in control of your own HR and finance.  You will be able to update your details, submit expenses claims, manage your leave and view your payslips from anywhere on your own smartphone.  We’ve taken great care of the introduction, and I’m hugely grateful to the Change Champions who have given so much of your time to ensure that everybody has had the appropriate training.  I know that it has taken you away from your normal duties, and that you have had to demonstrate great adaptability and resourcefulness, but, if and when this introduction is a success, the credit belongs in no small part to you.

Lastly for today, many of you will have read about the Ironman competition continuing in the county next year, and potentially beyond, but moving its finish from Shugborough to Stafford town centre.  This is excellent news, and a real result for our Sportshire Coordinator Jude Taylor who has carefully led the negotiations with a large number of stakeholders.  With the finish in our thriving county town, local people and businesses have an even greater opportunity to view and benefit from this amazing spectacle.

The importance of diversity

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

As a large organisation employing some 5,000 staff, one of our real strengths is the diversity of our workforce, and the contribution this makes to the way we deliver better outcomes for Staffordshire and our people.

Diversity in the workforce is about valuing everyone as an individual, and it is my firm belief that diverse teams, where everybody’s input is valued, make better decisions and produce better outcomes.  A good diversity strategy for an organisation goes beyond what we are legally required to do, and actually makes a direct contribution to employee wellbeing and engagement.

I think it’s important to remind ourselves of the general principles  as well as our own diversity policy.  It is also important that we uphold these principles and, where possible, challenge those who don’t in an appropriate way.

I have already seen many good examples of how diversity is helping the county council to foster a more creative and innovative workforce.  Long may this continue.

A reminder of our diversity policy can be found here.