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Employee engagement interview: Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons's CEO, Nick Stace

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10th Nov 2016
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This is an interview with Nick Stace, CEO of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, about their approach to employee engagement, common mistakes that other organisations make and what their next step on the engagement journey will be.

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: Why do you think you appeared on the Best Workplaces list? What makes you stand out?

Nick Stace, CEO, RCVS: The aim of taking part in The Great Place to Work programme was never just to claim a ranking, although of course we are delighted with such fantastic results.

Our overall aim was to create a more vibrant and happy workplace and positive staff engagement.

We are relentless in our pursuit of becoming a Great Place to Work and everyone at the RCVS knows that.

We all believe we are in this challenge together and while the leadership team feel great ownership in driving our engagement, so does every member of staff.

We set up a special fund to finance improvements and 64 ideas have come forward, all of them have received financial backing. Unleashing the talents and ideas of our people has been the stand out difference.

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: What is your approach to employee engagement? What is the underlying belief?

Nick Stace, CEO, RCVS: We believe we have a moral obligation to make the workplace great for people who spend much of their lives at work.

We also realise that everything we do has enlightened self-interest written in indelible ink acrossit , that by investing in our people, the return on that investment in terms of great customer service and the unleashing of great ideas, is of enormous value.

We set up a special fund to finance improvements and 64 ideas have come forward.

Culture is not just a buzzword. We wanted to identify what our employee culture was and we wanted everyone to know about it.

So we created our own booklet titled “The Way we Work”.

This lists the 10 main areas that create our culture, including Flexibility, Recruitment, Empowerment & Fun.

All current employees received this and all new employees receive this on day one.

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: What have you learnt about engagement that has helped you be more successful?

Nick Stace, CEO, RCVS: One of the most important things we have learnt is that staff engagement is always ongoing, it never stops, it is a journey not a destination.

By talking openly and honestly, we have been able to engage with everyone and created a culture that welcomes positive change.

Here at the RCVS, we have no hierarchy, everyone feels like they can suggest an idea or a new way of doing things.

It doesn’t matter how long you have worked here and even a brand new employee can suggest something we haven’t tried before – in fact, they are often best placed to do so.

The more we talk about Engagement the more our people want to spread the word, and if people talk about it, you win!

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: Most common mistakes that other organisations make when it comes to engagement?

Nick Stace, CEO, RCVS: Many organisations say they want high levels of engagement without doing very much.

By talking openly and honestly, we have been able to engage with everyone and created a culture that welcomes positive change.

Their chief executives espouse the importance of staff engagement, while preferring to hide themselves away from the action. Success only comes where actions match words and the CEO sees it as their personal mission too.

Also the costs of staff engagement are often seen as too high when, in reality, the costs are limited and the results produced are worth far more.

But it’s not just about investing more money, simple things we have done like creating a monthly meeting for all departments so we can create another line of communication, or having an afternoon of fun in the local park are just a couple of ways we have increased engagement.

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: How do you get employees on board for engagement initiatives?

Nick Stace, CEO, RCVS: The best way is to make sure everyone is involved in the process, this is not a management or human resources task it involves everyone in the organisation.

Everyone’s voice counts. After every employee survey, we go through the results with teams and find out what’s not working and what we can do to make it better.

When employees see results they feel inspired and engaged further which keeps them onboard. This is now so popular, our people will swap their days off to make sure they are available for staff engagement meetings.

The costs of staff engagement are often seen as too high when, in reality, the costs are limited and the results produced are worth far more.

This is the reason we always have over 90% completion rate for the employee survey.

It is important to remember that every business has to start somewhere with staff engagement, it is not always easy when you start but along the way the results speak for themselves.

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: What's next for employee engagement at the RCVS?

Nick Stace, CEO, RCVS: After our fantastic ranking increase from 30th to 23rd in the Top 50 Medium sized workplaces, we are now working towards our fourth year as part of the Great Place to Work programme.

As mentioned, staff engagement is a continual motion, we are focusing on our Top 10 staff engagement ideas from the most recent employee feedback sessions, which include finding new ways of communicating, bringing in a summer fun day where we went to Hyde Park and played rounder’s in the sun and, of course, continual development and management of talent within the organisation.

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By mtlind
20th May 2022 14:24

Our aim with the Great Place to Work programme was to create a more vibrant and happy workplace, where staff feel supported, However, students need to follow this https://www.essayontime.co.uk/faq/ site to solve their academic queries easily. We did this by challenging our people management practices and creating a culture of inclusion, fairness and respect for one another.

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