Being a good employer: June 2016/July 17

At south Canterbury DHB we know that in order for our workforce to provide the best care for patients, we need to provide the best care for them.

  1. Leadership, Accountability and Culture
    The start of this financial year saw the introduction of a new management structure which enables greater integration across primary and secondary care and better alignment of departments. This has led to shared accountability while pushing authority to act and manage teams to the lowest levels; recognising that staff at the ‘coalface’ are best positioned to make the daily decisions affecting their areas. A culture reset programme has stemmed from the Staff Engagement and Wellbeing Survey which identified a number of opportunities for development and clarity on issues of key concern for staff. Unions, the Board and leaders are looking for an organization that can help support a high performing safety culture within our DHB.
  2. Recruitment, Selection and Induction
    We recognise that to be successful in the delivery of health services locally we need to be able to recruit and retain staff. In particular we engage in health careers activities for young people, provide a family friendly approach to engagements wherever possible, and support the ongoing inclusion of an aging workforce. Induction is key to setting the culture and expectations of an organization. This year has seen the successful roll-out of the new online Induction booklet. This ensures staff are able to access their induction information long after the lifespan of a paper-based version. As one of 20 District Health Boards we continue to collaborate at a regional and national level to improve recruitment efforts and to strengthen the public health employer brand.
  3. Employee Development, Promotion and Exit
    Our performance review process provides a means for two-way communication whereby all employees review their performance, progress career development and gain clear direction for the future. Managers are committed to the ongoing process of coaching, constructive feedback and formal appraisals which are linked to organisation goals and enable our organisation to move forward. This year the Board had a particular interest in performance appraisals as a key performance indicator of the organization and ensured that work continued to increase the percentage of appraisals completed in a timely manner. We continually align our learning and development strategy with strategic planning, workforce development and operational requirements and encourage a continuous learning culture. This has been bolstered by the establishment of the multidisciplinary Workforce Governance Group.
  4. Flexibility and Work Design
    We know that in order for our staff to be able to provide top quality care for our community we need to first provide quality care to them. South Canterbury DHB recognizes the importance of Family Friendly initiatives and where possible is keen to support alternative options for working. The new Workforce Governance Group is being tasked with, among others, looking at our succession planning and ensuring that we provide a flexible workplace throughout the working lifespan.
  5. Remuneration, Recognition and Conditions
    We endeavour to remunerate all staff fairly and consistently, ensuring that remuneration and conditions are in line with collective employment agreements. We also participate in initiatives which focus on determining new salary structures. For example, we were directly involved in the South Island DHB’s Clerical Salary Benchmarking exercise in collaboration with the PSA Union and have since successfully implemented the changes.
  6. Harassment and Bullying Prevention
    South Canterbury DHB has a policy specific to harassment and bullying which is rolled out by champions speaking to teams across the DHB. Pamphlets about bulling are included in New Appointee Offer Packs. However, the Staff Wellbeing and Engagement survey identified that staff felt unprofessional behaviors occur at our DHB and that these were tolerated. As such the Board, Unions and leadership have united to find an organization to help move our good intention into a high performing safety culture. This culture acknowledges that when a staff member is feeling harassed or bullied they are not enabled to perform at their best and this has a flow-on effect for patient safety.
  7. Safe and Healthy Environment
    We have maintained a safe and healthy work environment through participation in the ACC Workplace Safety Management Practices Programme (holding Tertiary status), and look forward to this being renewed by the new Safe+ performance improvement toolkit in 2018. The Health, Safety and Wellbeing manager attends the annual ACC forum and local Health and Safety managers group, which allows for shared learning. Four regional Health and Safety managers meetings per year, afford many opportunities to align practice within DHB’s and ensures an on-going quality improvement focus. Health, Safety and Wellbeing is benefiting from the exposure generated from the changes in legislation. All Health and Safety activities are now reported and discussed in-person at the Audit and Assurance and Board meetings. The Health and Safety committee is well attended and enjoys active involvement across all our Health and Safety Representatives (HSR’s), with regular senior leadership and Board attendance. Workshop education is a regular feature of these meetings, allowing for on-going support and growth.
  8. Our Employees
    The principles of being a good employer are reflected in our employee mix. Our workforce is predominantly New Zealand European which is reflective of our South Canterbury community; however we enjoy a multicultural workplace with representation from across the globe. The division of part-time versus full-time staff demonstrates our commitment to providing a flexible working environment. As with healthcare in New Zealand in general, we are a predominantly female driven workforce and we are keeping an eye on the average age of our workforce ensuring sustainability over the coming years.