Alex Baker is a resourcing lead for Northern Care Alliance NHS Group and member of NHS Employers’ Total Reward Engagement Network. Here she shares why she found the 2017 Reward in the NHS event so useful, and why she recommends anyone in HR in the NHS to attend.
Reward in the NHS 2017 was a well organised event with a lot to offer for anyone working within a HR role. It provided a great opportunity to meet other like-minded professionals but also make some useful connections that could be followed up after the day. I think the provider stalls in the reception area were particularly useful, even if you knew your organisation couldn’t commit to a particular reward provider it gave you an insight into what services were out there to help with a variety of reward challenges.
The fact that this subject is so heavily linked to staffing across the NHS means there is a significant interest in it and what can be done differently to entice people to both join the NHS and stay in it. It’s reassuring to be with others facing the same challenges and to have the opportunity to talk through ideas. My organisation was going through significant flux at the time, so it wasn’t easy to initiate the changes that I wanted to from the day. However, it did facilitate new thinking and allowed the opportunity to provide feedback to my organisation, giving both my direct team and others the chance to consider how they might promote some of the ideas in their own unique way.
A key learning point for me was that it can’t be a one-size fits all approach. Every organisation has its own challenges; what is chosen as a reward package is very much dependant on budget, resource, vision and values or the individual organisation. It also needs support from the very top, so a key learning point would be engagement of senior leaders and spending the time before presenting an idea in researching options and making sure suggestions are presented with clarity and confidence.
The session I most enjoyed was the Q&A with a panel of speakers. There was a range of experience on the stage which led to some great insight and interesting conversation across the room. I really valued the chance to hear the differing views, and again this gave a chance to consider what you potentially could and couldn’t pursue within your own organisation.
For us, we still have work to do on the basics, getting frontline managers to recognise the importance of reward and understanding that big gestures aren’t needed to make someone feel wanted. Corporately, we are doing significant amounts of work on career and leadership development to provide our employees with an overall rewarding career.
I would recommend anyone in a HR role within the NHS to attend the 2019 Reward in the NHS event because it is great for networking, making connections and hearing about a variety of reward solutions. If nothing else, the event provides you with the time and space to really think about this subject and talk through ideas with like-minded individuals who are more than willing to connect with you afterwards, offering a support network much wider than the one day alone. I really enjoyed making new connections and hearing from the different speakers lined up for the day.
For more information about the event and to book your place for this year, please visit the event webpage.