Employees have a personal investment in their reward offering and therefore any changes need to be carefully managed.
Through the planning and preparation phase you may have identified some current reward elements that are not aligned to your new reward strategy goals and will therefore be 'closed down'. Additionally, there may be new benefits you wish to introduce that employees need to be aware of and understand for them to be successful.
This could be negatively perceived by staff who currently benefit from that reward and should be addressed through the communications messaging so staff understand the decision.
Whilst the changes do not necessitate a formal consultation process (unless there is a contractual change), it is still vital to have senior management ‘buy-in’, to engage with line managers and work in partnership with trade unions throughout.
The visible support of senior management is fundamental to the success of implementing a new reward strategy. Senior managers can engage staff through incorporating total reward into staff briefings and newsletters and by participating in launch activities. Our executive briefing provides a useful tool for helping senior management understand the benefits of a clearly defined reward strategy.
At this stage it is important to present your reward strategy to the board to answer any queries prior to launching and to gain their commitment to the implementation and communication plans.
Involving managers in the development and communication of your reward strategy will improve their engagement by allowing them to influence and shape your reward approach and how it is communicated to their staff. Line managers can be involved from the outset as a member of the project group (established in phase one) and throughout the process as part of the focus groups or pilots.
Line managers are a powerful means of communicating with staff and fostering staff engagement and are critical to the successful implementation of any new staff initiative.
The NHS Employers staff engagement toolkit provides advice and tools for line managers to support staff engagement.
In phase one of the reward strategy toolkit you established a project group which included trade union representation. It is important to continue working with the trade unions through the implementation and communication stages of the reward project. Local representatives can be involved in testing by assisting in the facilitation of focus groups and pilots, carrying out member surveys, talking to members either face to face or by email and by answering queries and addressing any staff concerns. They can also be part of the implementation group and should have ownership of actions under the communications plan such as briefings with members.
With regard to the Agenda for Change flexibilities, The Staff Council have published a set of FAQs which provide useful information and clarity when considering how to maximise the benefits of the Agenda for Change flexibilities.