A pilot staff suggestion scheme has generated a number of proposals that could potentially help one service generate income.
Seventeen ideas were posted into the ballot boxes at the Council’s Roads & Grounds’ Earls Road Depot from January 6th to February 17th.
Throughout the six-week period, management discussed the submissions at their weekly team meeting. Already a number of suggestions to improve the working environment have been implemented.
Other proposals, such as external factoring work, hiring out specialist equipment, and providing blacksmith services to utilities companies, are now being investigated.
Dot Reid, Roads & Grounds Manager, explains what needed to be done to make the pilot work and the lessons learnt.
“Our service could lose a quarter of its staff over the next five years through budget savings. We don’t want to lose people, so we need to come up with ideas to help bring in money. By running the suggestion scheme it gave our operational staff, who deliver services every day, the opportunity to give their ideas and tell us about improvements they would like.
“Holding various question and answer sessions in the first week gave staff an update on the Council of the Future. This helped them understand why there is a need for change and why we were asking for their input. It also gave them an opportunity to hear from us and others in the Council and ask questions. If we didn’t have those sessions I don’t think the pilot would have been as successful. You need people to understand what’s going on before they can give constructive suggestions.
“Having a process in place to deal with all the suggestions before launching was essential, and it made sense to discuss ideas at our weekly management team meeting. By regularly checking the boxes it allowed us to act on a number of suggestions quickly, particularly in relation to improving the staff canteen. We’ve now painted the walls and installed new windows and better lighting. The Perspex panels in the roof have been cleaned and the oven and microwave replaced. All of which improved the room.
“Now, there's nobody in our workforce who doesn’t know about Council of the Future and we cannot let that drop. Not everyone was comfortable with the scheme, but you will always get sceptical people in any forum resistant to change. If we can encourage them to get involved and become leaders of change people will follow them.
“Budgets are changing. We can't stay the same and we need to keep the momentum going. We’ve had some valuable suggestions and the teams have appreciated being able to communicate in this way, so we may keep the scheme going as it has been a worthwhile exercise.”