People strategy committee: April update

The People Strategy Committee is a Committee of Council dedicated to the University’s most important asset — the staff who deliver our research, teaching and professional services.

Chaired by Council member Lynette Eastman, its membership includes the Vice-Chancellor, Council members, external representatives and senior representatives from our academic and professional services colleagues.

Meeting quarterly, the Committee reviews strategy, advises on approaches and drives delivery on initiatives to improve conditions, ways of working and methods of engagement.

At its meeting in April, the Committee focused on three key areas:

Talent management and succession planning

Carol Steed, Director of Leadership and Management, delivered a presentation with current examples of talent management and succession planning at the University of Nottingham.

There was discussion and feedback about: how this would fit into the equality and diversity agenda; how to make ‘hard-to-fill’ roles more attractive; and how these tools could be used at the University in the broader context of workforce planning. It was agreed that this framework needs to be developed to support business planning.

Patrick Kniveton (previously of Rolls-Royce) then delivered a presentation which outlined how Rolls-Royce developed career pathways to support people to move from technical roles into leadership positions; their method for identifying high potential; and how they developed a high performance culture by improving emotional intelligence. The Committee was particularly interested in how Rolls-Royce had used this programme to address talent management, build emotional intelligence and change the culture within the company.

Performance management

The Director of Human Resources updated the Committee that, following discussion with unions, the PDPR Steering Group is scoping a PDPR process which removes specific ratings and the link between PDPR and reward.

This presents opportunities to reward and manage performance differently, however, further mapping and testing is needed to help understand how this would work. The PDPR Steering Group has proposed a University-wide pilot to give the space to trial and evaluate a new system and is reflecting with unions and other stakeholders on what this might look like and how this could give the space to develop the best possible scheme that focuses on staff development, career planning, and wellbeing, as well as performance in role.

Recognition platform

The HR Project Manager for Reward delivered a presentation on the potential use of a ‘recognition platform’ — an online system to provide easy and comprehensive access for staff to a series of benefits, rewards, discounts and assistance — as part of the University’s investment in its staff.

In discussion, it was noted that there were a number of potential providers and types of contract which have been used successfully by other large employers and universities. It was agreed that there would need to be a full procurement process, with a focus on how this fits with the wider reward strategy.

The Committee will meet again on Wednesday 13 June 2018.

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