CCA People & HR Forum   
DATE:   08 May 2019

LOCATION: CCA HQ, 20 Newton Place, Glasgow, G3 7PY

FACILITATOR: Anne Marie Forsyth, Chief Executive  
A core activity for CCA is to effectively use the network to share expertise, insight and experience to support improvements and learn from each other. The People and HR forum is an open forum providing CCA members with the opportunity to share and exchange ideas, expertise and best practice on a wide range of employee related issues.  
Participating organisations included:  AXA Insurance  The Co-operative Bank  Coventry Building Society CYBG/Virgin Money  DVLA     HMRC HMRC Personal Tax  HRC Recruitment   HSBC Lloyds Banking Group Standard Life    Student Loans Company Tesco Store    Webhelp    Yorkshire Building Society 
The discussion highlighted a range of issues, challenges and successes that are apparent within organisations today. A message that resonated throughout the day was that communicating the reasons why change was being implemented across the whole organisation was key to success. Thought provoking presentations surrounding dealing with vulnerable customers and how to effectively deliver employee engagement initiated valuable discussion. Following this some successful policy implementations surrounding flexible working and automation were highlighted, whilst also discussing some barriers to change and how to overcome this.  
Vulnerable customers and how to assist them effectively: There appears to be ongoing requirements for organisations to establish who vulnerable customers are as they are not straightforward to identify - one size does not fit all. The reasons behind why vulnerable workers require an empathic approach must be communicated and organisations who can capture the hearts and minds of their employees have witnessed positive effects in performance indicators e.g. a reduction in complaints and increased customer satisfaction scores.  
Issues were raised surrounding the balance to interact with customers in an empathetic way and resisting the temptation to step into a counselling role. Is there such thing as going too far?   
Engagement doesn’t have to be costly: The environment that an individual is working in can be a very small part of what makes a great place to work. A clear organisational vision that can be understood at all levels is a key driver of engagement. Wellbeing does not have to be expensive. Organisations 
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discussed allowing employees to have dedicated days off for charity work and using connections and skills that the staff already have. Is the move away from sales targets to customer quality becoming more apparent and enabling engagement?  
Is it possible to achieve flexibility for all? It is challenging to sustain everyone’s desired working pattern as there is discrepancy between workers who express resistance to changing their long-term shift patterns and those with flexible requirements. There were many examples shared to support mutual flexibility such as providing an extra financial incentive for weekend or evening shifts, having mandatory days during the month for workers to be in office and allowing more autonomy within breaks. Thinking creatively to enable two-way flexibility is key.   
Digital Confidence: Discussions highlighted that organisations underestimate the time, money and training required to invest in new technologies. IT departments need to think about employee training of systems before the customer. Chatbots were welcomed in some organisations, however some examples of workers expressing concerns that chatbots threatened jobs were considered. Communication is key as to the reason why new technologies are being implemented and explaining how these can assist the worker.  
Positive change culture: It can be challenging changing a culture even slightly. Incremental changes are important in starting to change a long-standing culture. The way you communicate the changes to staff and the mini behaviours that you convey everyday are what makes change most effective. Within change every individual should be treated equally and feel valued. An open culture is a positive one.  
Reward: Traditional reward schemes are changing, and this may be contributing to a removal of employees driven to overperform. Role requirements are changing which means the frontline employee is demanding more in terms of pay and reward. Organisations are now offering career progression throughout roles, not simply the organisation, to improve retention levels.   
With many thanks to our session partner, HRC Recruitment for bringing their expertise and insight to the discussion.