Guest Blogger

With just one week to go until the Employee Engagement Summit, we sat with speakers to hear an insight into their industry and what you can expect to learn from their case studies. Today, we are joined by Denise Sanderson-Estcourt, Learning and Organisational Development Business Partner at the Royal College of Physicians…

Please tell us more about the Employee Engagement approach that the Royal College of Physicians adopts?

It has been seen as quite traditional with a ‘giving’ quite paternalistic culture, but in truth there have always been lots of opportunities to take responsibility to do things like set up groups such as our wellbeing group and sports teams which have been staff started. We are evolving to build engagement into conversations more with things like our lunchtime learning sessions, in parallel with staff engaging people in activities. The CEO is encouraging colleagues to take ownership and be even more self-starting and self-supporting in groups and as individuals. We also ask lots of questions, communicate openly, do social, and have a ‘work up’ through committees approach.

How do you do this?

The questions we ask are through both formal surveys, email, our intranet, bulletins, and spot questions via the MeeToo app during all staff meetings and more.

There are lots of communications open to staff some through tech and some through groups like the OD volunteer group and our employee forum.

Social aspects of the college are rich and regular with Summer and Christmas events*, team building events are encouraged and other activities such as focussed Learning and Wellbeing weeks are hosted by staff wherever possible. *There is a separate social events committee who lead on much of this.

On a range of employee engagement issues, we take a work up approach with the OD group and employee forum identifying needs that we work through with senior management.

All these approaches were ramped up and very much on show in terms of how we engaged staff in the RCPs 500th anniversary celebrations last year, and another example has been the level to which many staff have engaged, or been invited to engage, with regards to our Medicine2019 corporate conference.

Tell us more about your case study focus?

My case study is about the employee engagement journey the RCP took to develop its core values, who was with us on the journey, and how we’ve engaged with and used them, so far, since their launch.

What trends do you feel will be around for years to come in employee engagement?

I think they key trends around any employee matters like engagement will centre around personalisation and choice e.g. with communication channels, creating independent thinking environments, encouraging autonomy, and building trust and cohesion. Technology will continue to play a supporting part, but there’s also a strong focus on human centred approaches, which I think will (and should) remain.

What will the future of work look like when it comes to engaging with employees?

In terms of engagement I think that it’ll be less about buzz-words, big surveys, talk and information and more about performance, curating results, the action we take from more regular-bite sized data. Telling and sharing stories rather than producing reports is going to be a key aspect of all of all this.

What are you most looking forward to about the Employee Engagement Summit this year?

When I first attended the summit as a delegate I was struck by the energy and vibe. The speakers were all really engaging an high quality. I’m looking forward to that being the case again this year. I’m also looking forward to sharing the work of my colleagues in my case study (though I’m less about me being the one actually presenting it.

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