Hampshire Police implements resilience plans

EXCLUSIVE: Hampshire Constabulary has implemented a series of employee resilience programmes, resulting from a large-scale organisational restructure.

The government’s 2010 Spending Review included measures that saw the police force tasked with saving a target of £55 million, delivered over a four-year period. It originally anticipated a large number of police staff redundancies.

Tom Doughty, HR manager, Force Change Team at Hampshire Constabulary, said: “We are a public sector organisation, so 80% of our budget is spent on our employees. We looked at other areas to reduce spend and cost, but staff was the main area we looked at.”

The restructure, called Commitment to Change, includes ensuring that police officers do not do jobs that police staff are able to do, so officers can be moved back to the frontline, and other staff can be used more effectively in these desk jobs

Throughout the restructure process, the force sent email communications to staff that were designed by the occupational health and HR teams with information on the effects of going through a change programme, effects on personal resilience and reminding staff about the support services available, such as the organisation’s employee assistance programme and occupational health services.

Following this, it is now providing training courses for managers and supervisors. The half-day in-house courses aim to give managers the tools and strategies to help them motivate, support and develop staff going through and coming out of a change programme. The training was delivered to 40 managers in November and will be delivered to 40 more in January 2013.

Doughty added: “It is all about those difficult conversations, correct communications with staff and developing staff at a time when there is limited career development, so looking more at lateral development.”

As well as personal resiliance issues, the police force has also built a corporate resilience strategy. In November, it brought in psychologist Professor Derek Mowbray from training and coaching firm the Management Advisory Service to provide three one-day sessions for senior managers. “We have got about 40 of them across the force, a mix of police officers and police staff,” said Doughty. “The sessions were a blend of seminars on corporate resilience, building resilience into a workforce and personal resilience.

“The aim was to get all our senior managers to appreciate that you can design and have a strategy that builds resilience into the workforce, makes them more adaptable to change, and that is all about the culture and values of the workforce, and the way in which you engage staff.”

Hampshire Constabulary has also held group sessions in each department, which give staff the opportunity to provide feedback on how they feel the restructure is going. “While we have consulted with and engaged them in the change programme, staff member’s concerns were such that they were heads down, worried about the potential of redundancy. Even though some of them were engaged in the process, it wouldn’t have been a wholehearted engagement,” said Doughty.

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“This is now finding out what works and what doesn’t, getting recommendations and using their experience. It is all about giving the power back to staff so they can take ownership in the process themselves, which will start bringing the morale back up.”

The constabulary has already saved £48 million and is on target to save the remaining £7 million required. It only had 31 compulsory redundancies during the period.