May 16, 2012

"Strategy, Surveys and Squats"

As advertised, I will now be posting a regular (and hopefully a frequent) blog on HR Connect.

I'll be using this spot to share with you what I've been up to, what's occupying my mind and any other general observations about work, rest and play. I intend to keep the blogs short and informal - pithy if you like.

So, last week saw the HR Executive Team come together for an away day at Halifax Hall. Our aim was to discuss further the University's HR Strategy. With your help, we had already settled on the overarching goal of "Attracting, Growing and Engaging Talent". We made great progress describing what we mean within each of the three themes, what role should HR play and what do our leaders need to do to manage talent? A notable challenge throughout the day was to ensure we could articulate the measurements or outputs of success from each activity or theme. I think we got there and we'll be talking more to you about this over the next month. We were also obliged to plan our staffing and resources for the next academic year. I'm currently devolving greater responsibility for HR budgets and staffing to each Assistant Director, enabling us to act quickly and effectively to changes in workload, priorities, vacancies, and to support greater integration and collaboration between our teams.

The Staff Survey has also occupied plenty of time recently. The well oiled team of Babs, Steph, Gill and others have done a great job of delivering and communicating the survey to our 5,600 + staff. Through my constant updating on % response rates I realise that I have become a crashing bore recently - but it seems to be working as we head towards the majority of staff having completed the survey. I'm delighted too that the highest departmental % response rate is HR! The hard part is yet to come as we consider communications and action planning once the results have been analysed. The Staff Survey is therefore set to remain an ongoing priority for us.

This week we'll see the pilot launch of Juice - our new approach to staff health and wellbeing. Some of you have already had a taster of things to come - whether it's being attached to an iAM for three months or enjoying (!) full body air squats in Weston Park (speaking of which, was it just me that suffered a sense of personal loss after handing in the iAM?). Juice is not however about making our staff fit, nor necessarily about increasing general physical activity levels, or reducing sickness absence rates - it's a holistic approach that recognises wellbeing as a personal matter specific to the individual - some people will want to stay active, others may want support in dealing with stress and anxiety. Others will simply want easy access to information on a diverse range of physical, mental and social wellbeing issues. There are many sound business reasons for investing in staff health and wellbeing, but primarily if we want to attract, grow and engage our talent we do need to be taking a genuine and pro-active interest in each individual's health, happiness and wellbeing. Juice is a great framework to help us to do this.

HR is one of the pilot department so do get involved. I've never done bouldering or tai chi before so I will certainly be taking the opportunity to try out these activities - why don't you try something new as well and then let us know what you think. I'm sure Martin and Claire would be happy to help if you have any questions or concerns.

Please also feel free to reply to or comment on this blog.