The Cupboard, hot houses, reward and recognition

Ruth Mason and Jason Eddleston

Jason Eddleston, deputy director of workforce and organisational development, and Ruth Mason, associate director of organisational development, at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust have written this blog on the trust's recent engagement with staff to help build and tailor its reward offer.


At Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) we’re all about delivering compassionate care to our patients; but what about our staff? Are we compassionate to those who deliver care?

Back in June 2018, the workforce and organisational development team started to have more focused conversations with staff across the trust about what kind of place we wanted our organisation to be. These conversations were about ensuring that everyone had a chance to contribute, making it easy for people to talk about what was important to them, and keeping the discussions going so that they’re not just a one-off thing. Focusing on these conversations reflects our wider aim of creating an organisation that is known for one culture of care. This means we care for each other in the same way as we care for our patients. The Cupboard is our people strategy and comprises seven key priorities which shape this work:

  • equality, diversity and inclusion
  • health and wellbeing
  • colleague engagement
  • talent management
  • workforce design
  • corporate social responsibility
  • work together to improve.

These are the things that affect all our staff and are the things that we’re going to concentrate on across the organisation. These are our recipes for success, and so we’ve put them onto seven recipe cards. The Cupboard is everything everyone needs to know about their contribution to delivering compassionate care.

We want to truly engage staff, tap into their creativity and understand the experience of people across our trust. Therefore, our approach to staff engagement includes hot house events. These are opportunities for our people to come together to concentrate on particular topics and come up with ideas to develop these. We’ve held six events since June 2018 and covered a range of topics including: how best to use apprenticeships; our approach to health and wellbeing; how we recruit our staff; and reward and recognition.

We see reward and recognition as part of talent management within our organisation, so when thinking about the impact of the package organisationally, we invited 40 staff to help shape our offer. This involved having a good look at our existing reward and recognition package and making suggestions to improve it. Following this engagement exercise, we circulated a survey around the reward package to the wider workforce. In the survey we asked people to rank the current offer using a league table and then identify other things they would want to include in the offer if they could relegate or promote elements in or out of the league table. 

From the event we learned that the current offer is valued. In particular, national NHS benefits such as the NHS Pension Scheme and annual leave entitlement were valued, and local offers such as the trust’s long service recognition and Celebrating Success staff awards were positively received. Staff fed back that better communication is required if our people are to make best use of the reward offer, as many were not aware of the financial guidance service which is on offer. People told us they wanted more of a focus on health and wellbeing - free tea and coffee, free fruit, improved food offerings, on-site gym facility, fast-track health appointments, and good attendance incentives and rewards. This is consistent with our NHS Staff Survey results where people tell us they want us to be interested in them and to support them in staying healthy. As a result of the hot house, we have been able to refocus our reward strategy, especially with regards to the health and wellbeing offer.

The events have been incredibly popular, which shows us staff appreciate the opportunity. The next event is scheduled for August 2019 and sixty people have already signed up to attend. So, what’s next? We’re looking to complete a wider workforce survey and run some mini-hot house events in August and September to allow even more people to contribute.  We’ll then refresh our offer and re-launch it by the end of 2019. To see what else we’re cooking up together at CHFT, keep an eye on The Cupboard on CHFT's website.

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