The report, appendices and background document are attached.
Rich Thomas (Strategy and Commissioning Manager, HROD) and Allison Lehky (Service Manager, HR Enabling) introduced the report and provided a presentation to members highlighting the key themes of the Our People Strategy (OPS). He advised that the OPS had been refreshed to align with the Council Plan 2020 – 2025 and requested that members consider the proposed delivery priorities which would inform the Delivery Plan for 2021/22.
In response to Councillor Webb, Allison Lehky advised that measures had been implemented to support new starters to the organisation during the period of the pandemic. She acknowledged that it was difficult to replicate the immediacy of communication as would be the case within the conventional office environment, however, by encouraging the use of group chat facilities on Microsoft Teams it would be possible to support new starters’ development and integration. She agreed to explore the prospect of sharing guidance information with local businesses to support their response to remote working during the pandemic.
Rich Thomas advised that work was being undertaken as part of the wider estates master planning programme to develop collaboration spaces within the office environment in anticipation of a physical return to the workplace.
Councillor Reilly praised the report, however, he observed that the Strategy had not outlined any specific targets.
Rich Thomas advised that, in most cases, measurement frameworks were already in place; employee turnover rates were tracked, alongside attendance, and employee satisfaction and engagement. These provided a basis to measure morale across the organisation.
Rob Powell emphasised that the OPS was a high-level strategy, rather than a delivery plan. It included key metrics which were monitored by the organisation with greater regularity in the era of coronavirus through check-in surveys. He stated that a robust Performance Framework underpinned the delivery of the Strategy.
In response to Councillor Birdi, Rich Thomas advised that the Vivup platform had been developed to bring together the benefits on offer to WCC employees, including discounts on products (such as electrical goods and home shopping), alongside initiatives such as the Employee Assistance Programme, Cycle to Work scheme, and childcare vouchers.
Rich Thomas acknowledged the importance of the role performed by line managers. He emphasised that measures had been implemented to consolidate channels of communication to ensure that line managers were kept well informed. Line managers would be supported by the organisation to access the knowledge and skills required to enable them to perform effectively.
In response to Councillor Boad, Allison Lehky stated that, at the beginning of the pandemic, a £100 allowance was made available to employees as an immediate response to support homeworking arrangements. Since then, the £100 cap had been lifted in acknowledgement of the ongoing requirement for widespread homeworking. She advised that employees had been encouraged to undertake a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment to ensure that they were able to work safely and comfortably. Employees were encouraged to discuss their ongoing homeworking requirements with line managers.
In response to Councillor Boad’s query in respect of workplace arrangements for individuals ... view the full minutes text for item 6