Agenda item

QUESTION BY COUNCILLOR DERYK CUNDY TO COUNCILLOR MAIR STEPHENS - DEPUTY LEADER

“CHRISTMAS QUESTION

 

We are always praising our staff but rarely have a way of showing that appreciation of the hard work that they do.

It is easy for us to forget that while we are enjoying the after glow of Christmas, spending time and making memories with our families and taking that well earned break, that others may not be as fortunate. 

So this Christmas because of its proximity to the weekend, could we give people who are not required to perform front line cover, the option to take the Friday off as holiday or time off in lieu or flexi time so that we help to even up the work life balance for them and to share in the joy and relaxation that we often take for granted ourselves”.

 

Minutes:

We are always praising our staff but rarely have a way of showing that appreciation of the hard work that they do.

It is easy for us to forget that while we are enjoying the after-glow of Christmas, spending time and making memories with our families and taking that well-earned break, that others may not be as fortunate. 

So this Christmas because of its proximity to the weekend, could we give people who are not required to perform front line cover, the option to take the Friday off as holiday or time off in lieu or flexi time so that we help to even up the work life balance for them and to share in the joy and relaxation that we often take for granted ourselves”.

 

Response by Councillor Mair Stephens, Deputy Leader of the Council:-

 

Thank you Deryk for your question. My first observation id what you’re suggesting is exactly what we do in practice, by allowing flexibility in relation to leave, including time off in lieu where it is accrued.

 

You may be aware, we have a comprehensive range of employment policies that provide us with the flexibilities to support staff in relation to leave.

 

Previously, when the Authority closed the offices over the Christmas/New Year period that required staff to take annual leave, the feedback was from a high number of staff that they would prefer to take leave when they chose to, and not when it was imposed. Additionally, there are services that we provide which wouldn’t be eligible. However, this arrangement has happened for many years now, and the primary consideration was that the public function of our services need to be accessible to our stakeholders.

 

As such, I can confirm that we have been able to accommodate requests from our staff for flexible leave during the Christmas period, without any issues whatsoever, and to run our services without any disruption from that pragmatic perspective.

 

This brings me to the issue that you raise in relation to thanking staff for their hard work.

 

You may, or may not, be aware the engage work-stream as part of the People Strategy Group decided to look at how we recognise and show appreciation to staff for their hard work. This was based on the findings of the IIP Re-Accreditation 2018 report which highlighted the Recognising & Rewarding High Performance indicator as an area for development despite quantifiable progress since 2017.

 

During the summer, a questionnaire was created and sent out to staff; this was by e-mail for office-based staff, whilst for front line staff (whom perhaps were keen to be included, but did not have e-mail access as part of their job), the group went out to the Communities conference, kitchens in schools and to depots all across the county.

 

Overwhelmingly, staff responded that what they wanted as recognition was a simple thank you or acknowledgement for their work, with financial incentives only suggested by 13% of the respondees.

 

As a result of their findings, the engage work-stream proposed to the People Strategy Groupon the 24th October this year, that they trial a ‘Culture of Gratitude’ in order to promote appreciation of staff from their managers in the way that staff have indicated is valuable to them (i.e. a thank you, a recognition in private or indeed in a small group setting). This trial has been targeted in School Catering and in Leisure Centres and will include different groups receiving different formats of delivery (i.e. posters vs bitesize learning and possibly supplementary material) to establish which is the most effective delivery format. An evaluation will be taken at the end of the trial. If successful, this action to improve our ‘Culture of Gratitude’ will be rolled out to the whole authority as part of a wider conversation culture being monitored and promoted by coaching and mentoring.

 

As the group said saying thank you costs nothing but gives everything.

 

So, thank you Deryk for your question and I trust my answer was sufficient.

 

There was no supplementary question.