Embrace tidal changes with good HR practices

Mike
Berry reports from the AHHRM annual conference held in Torquay last week

With
best practice HR, the NHS can make it over the huge wave that is the
Government’s ‘Agenda for Change’ ,
according to its HR director Andrew Foster.

Foster
told delegates at the Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management
annual conference that implementing the Agenda for Change pay systems was the
big HR challenge and a great opportunity for HR professionals to stand up and
be counted in trusts.

Foster,
famed for his extravagant entrances, took
to the stage in bright yellow waterproofs, more akin to a deep-sea fisherman
than a man in charge of the third largest workforce in the world. But, he told
the audience, he was dressed like that because he was prepared for the tidal
wave of change.

His
latest big entrance followed his appearance at the HR in the NHS conference
earlier this year, when he rode on stage on the back of a motorbike.

But
despite the theatrical entrances, Foster’s message was a serious one.

"Agenda
for Change needs to be championed by the HR community," he said. "The
big message is that it is affordable and the majority of staff will gain from
it. So we need to fight any scepticism through the HR function."

Foster
said HR had "confounded the doom-sayers"
over the Working Time Directive, and the perceived problems surrounding it,
through hard work.

He
also attacked certain sections of the media for perpetuating myths and untruths
about Agenda for Change.

"The
NHS must aspire to have a world-class workforce, and pay modernisation equals
service modernisation," he said.

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