Our people: UK
Challenging market conditions, including uncertainty around healthcare policy, have highlighted the need to keep the cost base stable and prevent the attrition of specialist staff. These conditions accorded with our priorities for 2011, which included corporate cost reduction and operational benchmarking to ensure a cost effective and consistent structure.
Under these circumstances, maintaining morale and motivation is even more important and requires a variety of approaches including communication, incentives, rewards and engagement programmes. In the past year we have made definitive effort in this regard.
In addition, a new leadership structure was introduced, with Stephen Collier taking over as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on 31 May 2011. The structural changes introduced by the CEO provided the opportunity to strengthen the leadership team. The more inclusive structure has enhanced potential succession opportunities for a second tier of senior management.
The number of employees decreased by 2.4% following a restructuring exercise that reduced seven regions to four. This enabled us to increase consistency across sites, and deliver year-on-year cost savings. The restructuring was supported by the development of our professional infrastructure and talent over the last three years. It has enabled us to devolve accountability for delivery of business targets and relationship building to the local hospital level.
To ensure the success of the restructuring, we recognised the need for high calibre management and the creation of succession strategies to direct senior-level career paths. The relevant programmes are in place and we are confident of being able to grow our own future leaders.
Recruitment cost reduction
The recruitment cost reduction programme was a great success. This year we focused on reducing permanent and contract recruitment agency introduction fees. We rationalised the number of agencies on our preferred supplier list (PSL) to 36 from 90, achieving better terms and conditions with these suppliers and generating significant savings.
We also rolled out a direct recruitment and sourcing model to ensure greater self-sufficiency in recruitment, with less reliance on agencies and providing a better candidate experience.
Employee attraction and retention
There has been strong emphasis placed on the package of benefits available to employees. This includes private medical cover, friends and family discounts, free health assessments, discounted gym and fitness class membership, a confidential counselling and advice helpline, and life insurance. In addition, we have delivered a portfolio of low- or no-cost initiatives to recognise and reward employees, including Christmas chocolates, gifts for international nurses' day, a cycle to work scheme, restaurant vouchers and bonus bonds. We also encourage staff to get involved in community and charity initiatives such as workplace giving schemes and participating in national charity events.
The Night of the Stars awards recognise exceptional staff contribution. A monthly award scheme operates throughout the year, culminating in identifying the Carer of the Year. The scheme provides a monthly opportunity to acknowledge examples of extraordinary commitment to patients and colleagues. Annual awards include the Tell the World award for community outreach, the Star Idea award, the Best Patient Care award, the EcoNomics green award, the Star Team award, the Florence Nightingale award and the Star Hospital award.
The Night of the Stars gala event last year was held at the Renaissance Chancery Court Hotel in London, and celebrated the exceptional care, service, initiative and team spirit of our staff.
Training and development
Our vision is to unleash the power of our people cost effectively and competitively, making us a powerful force for rapid change. Our people strategy drives us to understand the strategic capabilities we need, to create a talent pipeline and to 'think national and act local'.
GHG's commitment to developing high-quality talent continued with a refreshed and updated management programme. Designed to strengthen skills and knowledge, and build managers' confidence in team management and motivation, the programme reinforces a culture of devolved decision-making and involvement. The pilot Heads of Department Development Programme proved to be very successful and is being rolled out more widely. It aims to challenge, support and develop talented people with high potential, and in turn create an internal succession pool for senior management roles.
Our Skillport online learning system for mandatory training was also successful, resulting in higher rates of training and helping to achieve compliance standards at our hospitals.
Mandatory training days almost doubled, with 117 402 e-learning modules delivered, up from 68 480 the year before. In total, 30 019 training days were delivered.
A new, more flexible online learning system, which enables staff to complete their mandatory training online either at work or at home, is being piloted. The Totara system will replace Skillport to become the single point of access for all learning and development needs. A more user-friendly option, it provides for greater training and learning opportunities as well as improved transparency and clarity from a management perspective.
Our nursing training highlights include:
Employee engagement and communication
Engagement and communication were a key priority for the year. In the light of the restructuring, the uplift in staff satisfaction is particularly satisfying and suggests that we are managing to empower the regions and make full use of the infrastructure created over the last four years.
The 2011 GHG staff 'pulse survey' was completed by nearly 6 500 staff from across the country. Almost 75% of staff reported that they enjoyed working for the company either most or nearly all of the time. Despite the restructuring, this showed a pleasing improvement on last year's survey in which 60% of staff reported an equivalent level of satisfaction. The overwhelming majority of staff (over 80%) said they would recommend GHG as a place to work, a very positive outcome.
The launch of Collaboration, GHG's new intranet, provides staff with a portal capable of personalisation according to role, region and project involvement. The flexibility of the system allows real-time dialogue, information sharing and collaboration across functional groups. User-driven content has facilitated increased knowledge sharing and the 'Gatekeeper' function allows for key information to be shared efficiently with hospital executive directors without duplication. Participation in decisionmaking, best practice discussions and collaborative ways of working have already been enhanced as a result of this system.
Occupational health and safety
In light of the restructuring, the occupational health and safety (OHS) priority was to ensure availability of a consistent and competent resource for the day-to-day supervision of health and safety issues in addition to a number of major building projects.
To ensure that appropriate skills are available on a longer term basis, an Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) accredited course was developed by the Group Quality and Risk Manager for Health and Safety. This has been delivered to a significant number of staff over the year and this rollout will continue.
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