This report provides narrative to the HR metrics from the HR Dashboard covering quarter 1 and quarter 2 of the 2022/23 financial year.
The Employment Committee requested that a comprehensive HR dashboard be provided every six months to Committee. This report was introduced by the Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities.
The dashboard, provided and update on staff numbers and covered the following themes:
• Starters and leavers
• Equality and diversity
• Employee relations case data
• Learning and development
The HR Manager continued with an overview of the report metrics. There were currently 534 employees – down 34 in the first two quarters of the year, in line with restructuring activities. There was an even gender mix and 20% of the team were part-time. Approximately half of the workforce were aged over 50 and discussions had taken place around potentially losing a lot of experience within a short time period. Almost half the workforce had been employed at the Council for 5 years or less. The end of the Pandemic saw a larger increase in leavers, seen on a national level as ‘the Great Resignation’ but levels were current down to a more expected rate. Exit interviews were now routinely carried out with leavers as the feedback was considered very important.
Data for absences showed an average of 6.65 days per year were lost, with mental health increasingly emerging as one of the reasons given. A lot of focus was now given to well-being and employee assistance. There were 60 approaches to trained mental health first-aiders and 42 calls to the employee assistance scheme. A return-to-work interview was given in 97% of cases where staff came back to work after sickness leave.
Only partial information had been given on equality and diversity data as some staff had chosen not to confirm this information and HR were to focus on obtaining as much information as possible within this area whilst respecting the right to privacy of all staff.
In learning and development, 305 training places were confirmed within the first two quarters of the year providing learning opportunities and the number of apprentices had increased by 3. Apprenticeships were a huge part of South Kesteven and there were opportunities for these apprentices to experience several different services within the organisation.
During discussion, the following points were raised by Members:
· What proportion of the mental health sickness recorded was due to work-related issues or cost-of-living issues?
· It was acknowledged that when people are suffering with mental illness they were not always able to give a reason and it could be perceived as intrusive to ask.
· It was considered that the proportion of unanswered information relating to equality and diversity was not necessarily a negative point. It could be that staff were comfortable to exercise their right to privacy.
· Was there sufficient support for new parents returning to work?
· Were the Personal Development Reviews seen as a positive experience by staff?
· A Member highlighted an error in the ethnicity bar chart (page 43) where the fist category should have read ‘white british’.
The HR Manager informed the Committee that approximately half of the staff that were experiencing long-term sickness confirmed that work-related stress contributed to their absence. It was not confirmed that there were any cases where the financial crisis was a contributing factor.
The Officer continued that a parents support group had been set up earlier in the year and had received positive feedback so far. An induction had been included as part of the process to help staff settle back into work after a long absence at what was considered a challenging time in life and it was really important for the organisation to provide support.
The Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities passed on her thanks to the HR Team, acknowledging that there were many ways in which the organisation were providing support for staff. It was also confirmed that the categories on the ethnicity bar chart were to be corrected.
a) That the Committee noted the information provided in the dashboard for the first 6 months of the 2022/23 financial year.