Improving All Areas of Work; NIGEL WRIGHT RECRUITMENT Employee Engagement

Article excerpt

Northumbrian Water:

NORTHUMBRIAN Water uses a number of ways to engage and motivate employees.

And its decision to involve every single member of staff to draw up individual development plans impressed our judges.

In 2008, the company involved all 3,000 employees in the process to draw up action plans arising from the annual Employee Survey and also in the shaping of the next People Plan. More than 120 workshops were led by senior managers enabling them to meet staff face to face and discuss what mattered to them - both positive and negative. Some managers had reservations and some employees were sceptical, but they witnessed the enormous value of involving employees in these processes and employees, at all levels in the company, contributed valuable ideas that have been, or are to be, actioned.

The opportunity for employees to express their views in an open arena is new. A tangible change has been effected and relationships between staff and their managers have been strengthened and all would like the workshops to be repeated on an annual basis.

Diane Morton, director of human resources, said: "We were delighted to win the CIPD Employee Engagement Award. It is a privilege for those of us in the HR profession to see our work recognised by our professional Institute but also for all the people who were involved in this exercise in our business, it is recognition of the hard work and commitment that has gone into achieving greater engagement, involvement and participation.

"The exercise which won the award included 120 workshops between October and December led by our most senior managers and directors and covered all 3000 employees in the North East and South East. It was the first time we had asked everyone to help create their own departmental action plans focused on how we can improve in all areas of working life and also to contribute to the development of our five-year HR strategy, our People Plan.

"The process has not only demonstrated to everyone that we genuinely value effective employee participation and engagement but it also generated some great ideas which will be implemented at a local and national level."

Runners - up

Heighley Gate Garden Centre

Big changes have made a big difference at Heighley Gate Garden Centre.

Demoralised workers and a highturnover of staff were issues that needed to be rectified in 2007 - so an HR recovery plan was devised and rolled out.

Now the centre, which employs 190 people, near Morpeth, Northumberland, is in much better shape.

Its three year "People Plan" has seen the introduction of line managers, a sixweek induction programme, an equal pay and benefits structure, bi-annual staff evenings, a monthly newsletter and comment boards, training and development plans for every member of staff, plus a range of training programmes that are open to all workers. …