The health and social care sector is facing a recruitment and retention crisis and with over 20,000 people in need of our support every year, we recognise the importance of having a skilled and dedicated workforce.

Whilst certain aspects may be beyond our control, we know how important our colleagues are to delivering life-changing services and that’s why we embarked on a journey. Our fantastic people team, in partnership with 3R Strategy, has spent the last few months evaluating and re-designing our approach to compensation, benefits, development, and wellbeing.

How did we do this?

1. Listening to what matters most

We started by asking our colleagues what we were doing right and where we needed to improve, ensuring our new approach focused on what mattered to them.

2. Focusing our efforts

We then developed five reward principles: competitive, transparent, flexible, equitable and values based and used these to guide our decision making.

3. Delivering on our principles

We benchmarked our central and social care roles against over 270 non-profit organisations and introduced pay progression to reward individual contribution and in-role development.

We brought in unsociable hours payments to recognise our colleagues who provide support at all hours, whether it’s over the weekend or a bank holiday. We re-developed our reward and recognition scheme to make it peer-led and to help us build a culture based on celebrating success at all levels.

We expanded our benefits with a focus on wellbeing, including enhanced parental leave, a leading Employee Assistance Programme, Health Cash Plans and discounted gym memberships and fitness classes.

In addition, our learning and development team created a lifelong learning programme, mapping out a number of progression routes that are supported by an annual calendar of in-house training opportunities, as well as funding for external qualifications.

The results?

The programme is still in the final stages of implementation, and we have already seen an 8% reduction in turnover and a 30% reduction in our establishment gap (to 5%). Our next step is to capture feedback to support our commitment to an annual review of our offer.

I am incredibly proud of all that has been achieved so far and it’s a testament to the hard work of everyone across the organisation who has supported this piece of work.

We hope to welcome many of you to Mental Health Matters in the future!

Lorna Hodson-Fraser, Head of People and Organisational Development.