When asked to respond to Ian’s blog “What chief executives want from their HR teams” my initial feelings were those of aarghh! #underpressure! However, not one to turn down a challenge, I have determinedly put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) and set out my response.
The basics – we have recently stripped some of our policies back to make them as straight forward and easy to use as possible. Our HR team regularly partake in policy themed quizzes to maintain our own levels of knowledge and skill, enabling us to consider the wider picture so we help people get where they want to be – whether it be a service manager going through a complex recruitment process or an employee considering their flexible working options.
Investing in leadership – over the last 2-3 years we have hosted WME led Leadership and Management Programmes, with the aim of equipping our managers with the skills to face the challenges Council’s have today. However, it is not just about developing senior leaders – part of HR’s role is to develop staff at all levels so they can lead in their own areas of work.
Staff engagement – how can we engage staff? This is the $64,000 question on every HR Manager’s lips – as well as in their ears when asked it numerous times by Chief Executives and Directors! The challenges that local government face means that constant change is inevitable. Managing change effectively relies on continuous communication from managers to employees (good news or bad) and from employees to managers (no idea is a bad idea).
The well-being of our staff is essential and at Wyre Forest we actively promote well-being initiatives from health fairs to achieving the level 2 accreditation of the Worcestershire Works Well Scheme (the first Council in Worcestershire to do so).
Values and behaviours –the values and behaviours are the glue that holds every organisation together. As a HR team we endeavour to lead by example and consider how our behaviours affect those around us.
We have recently introduced values based questioning into our recruitment process and feedback from our managers so far has been positive.
As Ian referred to in his blog Council’s have tough challenges ahead. As well as all of the above HR have a role in the difficult decisions Council’s have to make, including at Wyre Forest moving away from National Pay Negotiations to a Local Pay Arrangement.
It’s fair to say there is never a dull moment in HR; Wyre Forest’s small but dedicated HR team will continue to rise to the challenges presented to them.
Article by Rachael Simpson – Senior HR Adviser, Wyre Forest District Council