The Royal College of Nursing is engaging employees around energy efficiency, cost savings and waste with its Turn It Off Campaign.
A year ago the Royal College of Nursing triumphed in the HR Excellence awards, winning Best HR team, the Health and Wellbeing award and the prestigious Gold award.
The RCN demonstrated that it could turn around a culture of inertia, old fashioned employee practices and depressingly poor staff morale through HR-led leadership and innovation.
It put into place measures that tackled stress and long term absence, re-designed training and careers programmes, and established links between HR’s own operational performance and staff satisfaction that added value to the business.
Fast forward to now and the RCN is refusing to rest on its laurels – it can’t afford to. The government is looking to ﬁnd billions of pounds of efﬁciency savings and its members are among those that are potentially in the firing line. And the latest CIPD survey in February (across a range of industries) revealed that staff satisfaction rates are at their lowest since 2009. It highlighted that staff confidence in job security in particular, is decreasing.
“We are keen to ensure that the RCN keeps moving forward irrespective of the challenges facing our staff,” said David Cooper, Head of HR at the Royal College of Nursing. “And to that end we continue to invest heavily in initiatives that make for a happy and healthy workforce.”
Recently, it set up the Fantastic Four Working Group. The group focuses on four areas: developing career opportunities; encouraging staff participation and involvement in key issues; creating and managing high performance teams; and finding ways to give back to the communities that its members serve through a CSR group. A senior manager and a GMB representative have joint leads in each of the four working groups – a first for the RCN.
The CSR initiatives are driven towards improving the RCN’s procurement process and reducing the carbon dioxide emissions generated by its buildings. To galvanise employees, the RCN created the ‘Turn it Off!’ campaign. Engaging employees around energy efficiency, cost savings and waste, it aims to change behaviour by tackling the simple stuff, like powering down office and kitchen equipment, switching off lights and using less office resources, such as paper and printing.
A secret survey was carried out by volunteers from the RCN before the campaign launched, which not only established some benchmarks, but provided a platform to launch inter-office competitions to cut carbon and energy use.
To give the campaign some additional cohesion, the RCN into the national Climate Week programme, which recognises and rewards individuals and organisations which are doing their bit for the environment.
To the HR Excellence Awards, the RCN can also now add a place on the Sunday Times Best Companies list. Indeed, it was the only trade union and professional association to feature. And the RCN’s employee satisfaction rates buck the national trend with the overwhelming majority (84 per cent) responding in its survey that they were proud to work for the RCN. Highlighting the importance of listening to the workforce – a factor which Mr Cooper believes has been vital to turning the business around – over three quarters of staff (78 per cent) feel that managers share important information with them. A similar number (78 per cent) feel that managers take an interest in their wellbeing.
Shortlisted companies in the HR Excellence Awards 2012 will be announced later this month.