Agenda item

Staff Skills, Learning and Development


Officers reported on the highlights from the Staff Skills, Learning and Development report.


Talent was a key pillar to the Council’s HR strategy which helped to deliver services to residents. Considerations to identify what the current talent was and what talent was needed for the future was significant to inform of talent development offerings to employees. Talent development offerings to employees was key for future talent needs and to adjust skill shortages. It was also a key retention technique to impact on employees’ longevity in the role and with the Council.


Officers had recently relaunched an induction program which featured a face-to-face session and had visibility of the CEO and Corporate Directors so that the senior management of the Council could be visibly seen. There was online mandatory training as well as service specific induction to equip new team members with the tools to perform their roles.


Throughout an employee's time at the London Borough of Hillingdon, there was also Performance Management around giving employees aims and objectives in order to identify the training needs of employees and meet the needs of job roles going forward.


The Council’s Early Careers offering was fast becoming a highlight of the Talent team. There was a wide range of apprenticeships offered to both new and existing employees. A feature of apprenticeships included looking at management and leadership training to ensure that managers had the skills needed for the present and future.


Talent was pivotal for the purpose of identifying who the top talent was and succession plans for critical roles. Effective talent development also enabled the workforce and leadership to be diverse, which demonstrated a link to improved performance decision making and effectiveness.


Learning Zone was a learning management system (LMS) that tracked learning and also offered a suite of free online courses to employees that could be completed at any time on any device.


The Council’s talent offering needed to be inclusive for everyone to have the opportunity to grow in their role. It also needed to be diverse to be able to meet needs.


Officers expressed they would continue to work with Early Careers to support vulnerable people into paid employment.


Members asked officers to what extent staff training was in-house and the extent to which training was external through procuring other providers that offered watching online videos and tests. Officers responded that the system of courses on the Learning Zone were generic courses that usually did not offer a test at the end. However, when looking into upgrading the training system, officers noted they were currently exploring more bespoke courses. It was important to acknowledge that there were many different ways and resources from which people learnt but officers would look into upgrading the functionality of the current Learning Zone system, noting Member feedback.


Members noted secondments were a great way to develop staff and wondered how this was used within the Council. It was confirmed that many internal secondments were used and proved beneficial. Officers had broached the possibility of offering secondments internally with other London councils and would investigate further into this.


Members questioned the degree to which trade unions had been involved in drawing attention to the staff voice to help shape the learning design. Members also asked questions around agency and senior management programs.


Officers highlighted, in respect of trade unions and the staff voice, there was an Employee Engagement Working Group that was becoming an employee voice with the trade unions combined that actively focused on discussions and feedback from teams. Trade unions had lesser involvement with the Learning and Development courses. For staff needing wider development outside of their role or through redeployments, there were several 10 to 15-minute short, sharp training courses available by way of the Learning and Development system. However, engagement in online learning proved a challenge for those who struggled with using IT. As much training was conducted either online or in person, it was important that training and development offered to employees was inclusive as people learnt in different ways.


Agencies were relied on to train agency workers to the required level. Talent and Development learning was offered only to employees, but agency workers were welcomed to engage in Talent and Development learning through the Council rather than through an agency, where there were vacancies.


With regard to senior management, the Early Careers Officer was reported to have focused much work on level 5 to level 7 apprenticeships available for Team Leaders, managers and Directors. This was carried out externally through the apprenticeship levy to put managers onto training for leadership and development. Mentoring was also expressed as being a great resource.


Members questioned whether there was a desire to rebrand HR, as according to HR Monthly, it was reported that 85 of HR Leaders and Executives felt it was an outdated term.


Officers noted their objective to rename HR to People with a talent development team and talent acquisition team. A larger shift was needed from adopting an old school element of training, learning and development of recruitment to talent development and talent acquisition.


Following discussions around attracting prospective employees, officers drew attention to developing the Council’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which was an important piece of attracting potential employees and concerned the promotion of the Council’s values and working environment. The employee engagement survey was expected to be launched in October 2023.


HR Resources adopted a hybrid working model as an important part of their Employee Value Proposition and was a notable retraction technique because there was a growing desire for employees to flexibly work around their daily lives.


The Chairman raised questions about whether there was some form of Member input to the information provided around a newly joined employee’s induction with the Council at different levels of seniority. The response was that this idea was not currently in operation, but officers would investigate this for perhaps further discussion.


RESOLVED: That the Finance and Corporate Services Select Committee noted the contents of the report and provided comments to officers as appropriate.


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