Opinion

Best Employers Eastern Region Winner's Story: Arthur Rank, Best Large Employer for Customer Focus 2016.

The Best Employers Eastern Region initiative was founded in 2012 by professional recruitment specialists Pure and people development and psychometrics experts eras ltd. It aims to celebrate the region’s best employers and supports organisations across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire to create inspiring, innovative and engaging places to work.

To date, 24 Best Employers Eastern Region Awards have been presented to organisations following the excellent feedback provided by their own employees. David Culley, Associate Director at Pure, caught up with Lynn Morgan, CEO at the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity (ARHC). Having been established for over 30 years, ARHC is the only adult hospice in Cambridgeshire providing a range of free services for palliative and end of life care patients. It was crowned the region’s Best Large Employer for Customer Focus in 2016.

David and Dr Morgan discussed how the charity had managed to achieve fantastic employee feedback, despite going through a significant period of change to open a new 10.5 million hospice in 2016. As an organisation which has been involved in Best Employers Eastern Region since it was first founded, Dr Morgan was also able to update David on the value of the initiative and the support it has provided in helping to maintain a team of engaged employees who are consistently motivated to go the extra mile.

Recruitment and employer brand

“Most of our staff are healthcare professionals, but we also employ chefs, administrators, facilities staff, HR and finance personnel and of course our fundraisers. The one thing all our employees have in common is that they are dedicated to our core purpose. When we recruit we always look for very positive people with excellent ‘can-do attitudes’ and a great sense of team work.

“As with all healthcare organisations, we do face challenges when recruiting nurses and healthcare assistants. However, we have the edge in the fact that we believe our hospice is a wonderful place to work. There’s a great deal of positivity among our current staff and they are excellent advocates for working for our charity. Our three Best Employers Eastern Region Awards have also helped to raise our profile amongst future employees.”

Making employees feel valued 

“The enormous difference our doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants make is obvious. But our fundraisers also know that without them we wouldn’t be able to provide our services and our kitchen staff know how important nutritious, appetising food is to our patients. So many of our staff don’t just do their day job, they also volunteer and fundraise for the hospice, or use their skills to help our patients, by organising weddings for example.”

Regular employee feedback

“We believe that open and frequent communication is very important. People tend to work for a charity because they believe in its aims and this means they also tend to work extra hard to achieve them. This makes it even more important for us to check that our staff are getting great job satisfaction in return and that they understand just how much they are valued. If someone was feeling unsupported or disgruntled it would be important for us to know about this.

“This is where the Best Employers Eastern Region employee survey has been helpful for us. It’s a fantastic resource because it’s free and it enables us to benchmark ourselves against other similar-sized local organisations. It has really informed us on any areas for improvement and the opportunity to add our own questions means we’ve been able to gather additional feedback on specific areas of our organisation.”

Communicating through change

“We always share the reasons for any change with all our employees and we to look to inspire them to work towards a common goal by clearly communicating the long-term vision. This has been particularly important during the transition from the old to the new hospice. We produce a fortnightly bulletin to keep our teams updated on everything relating to our business and news within the hospice. All departments have regular team meetings which allow us to cascade important information and we’ve created a staff forum where employees can feed in any questions, comments and wishes.”

Pride in positive results

“We’ve taken part in the Best Employers Eastern Region survey three times now and we’ve been delighted to win an award each time. We’re always most proud of the fact that the results demonstrate the values we promote within the organisation are being put into practice. This year there was a worry that the amount of change our team had been through could have reflected in how they were feeling, so we were tremendously proud to see such positive results.

“To be recognised in the Customer Focus category is also especially important to us. We want patients and their families to have confidence that when they come into the hospice, or receive our care in their own home, they will be cared for by professionals who are passionate about the quality of care they provide. I believe Arthur Rank is known for its excellence and that is down to our people.”

For further information about Best Employers Eastern region, please contact Lucy Plumb or visit www.best-employers@prs.uk.com