The Government’s Office of Human Resources (OHR) has been awarded the prestigious Investors in People (IIP) Gold Award.
It is the highest accolade in people management practices from an independent and internationally recognised body.
And the OHR, which provides specialist human resource services across Government, has become the ninth organisation in the island to achieve the top level accreditation.
Jon Callister, chief officer of OHR, said: ‘We believe that the implementation of the standard assists us to develop a professional, competent and confident workforce, able to consistently deliver quality public services for the benefit of our customers.’
At the heart of IIP is a framework which sets out outcomes that represent good practice in the way people are led, managed and developed.
To achieve the Gold Award some 165 evidence requirements have to be met.
The OHR, which employs a total of 69 full-time and part-time staff, exceeded this – it met a total of 171 evidence requirements in the entirely interview-based assessment carried out last month.
The Office was set up in April 2011 as part of Government’s transformation programme.
It brought together the specialist human resources services that had previously been located within the various departments, boards and offices of Government.
Its services include employment advice to managers and staff, recruitment services, learning and development, industrial relations service and policy development, health and safety advice, and staff welfare.
The Personnel Office, which was one of the offices included in the amalgamation, had previously held the IIP Standard Award for just over four years.
This award was transferred to the OHR in 2011.
IIP requires that organisations are re-assessed to ensure they are still meeting the required standards every three years.
And it was from this re-assessment that the OHR was awarded the IIP Gold.
Mr Callister said that IIP specialised in transforming business performance through people, using the framework of best practice.
Without being prescriptive, the framework outlines what organisations need to do to in order to align their people with what they want to achieve as an organisation.
He said: ‘The IIP journey which OHR embarked on following its inception in 2011, where individuals were brought together from various departments and offices within Government and were required to work as a team, has been an interesting one.
‘Change is never easy and this was no exception.
‘Early on it became evident that in order to build staff engagement, OHR needed a new and individual identity, which accurately reflected our joint values and vision.
‘We needed to become a cohesive entity where we felt we belonged and of which we could be proud.’
He said: ‘The executive team of OHR was supported in the use of the IIP framework, and a working group from within OHR was identified to identify what needed to be done and how to do it.’
A staff survey was completed which identified areas which required attention or improvement.
And team workshops were conducted where individuals were given the opportunity to discuss what OHR would ideally look like.
Remedial actions were recorded on an action plan, which was then approved by the executive team and a date was reserved for the final IIP Assessment.
Mr Callister said: ‘This allowed OHR one year to make the necessary improvements to develop into the engaged, motivated, efficient team that we knew we could be.’
He said: ‘By using the IIP framework we believe that we have achieved much of what we set out to do, and are committed to continuing to make improvements within our Office to ensure that we enable us to live up to our vision – “Empowering people to deliver quality public services”.’
In July the IIP assessor interviewed 19 members of staff on a one-to-one basis over a period of three days.
And the assessor gathered from them practical examples of how OHR met the IIP requirements.
Mr Callister said: ‘Our assessment clearly indicated that our people enjoy a good working environment, where they are recognised for their contribution and have access to quality learning and development when required.’
In the report, the assessor said: ‘The organisation had developed its vision and values through involving staff groups and this had proved successful with staff who really felt that this was a beneficial exercise in ensuring that the values reflected the behaviours expected at OHR.
‘As a result people could identify and align themselves to these areas and subsequently described to the assessor how they were synchronised in line with the way that they worked at OHR.’
It continues: ‘People were also clear on the actions which supported the values and could see how these were linked to their overall performance.’