Instant bonuses for Defra staff

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is to
give staff on-the-spot bonuses of up to £300 for outstanding performance to improve
staff motivation following the foot and mouth crisis.

The ‘special performance scheme’, which will be introduced
next month, is part of culture change programme brought in by HR director
Richard Allan at the organisation since the epidemic.

Allan said a problem the department faced following the
crisis was re-motivating staff who had been stretched to the limit, and he
hoped the on-the-spot bonus would prove an effective incentive.

He believes the special performance scheme will be fairer
and more effective in motivating staff than the annual bonus scheme – which
will continue to operate – because it will reward good performance in a more
direct way.

Directors and heads of departments will have about 0.02 per
cent of the total salary budget to give away for the new bonuses.

Allan, who joined Defra last September, said the awards will
be monitored carefully and reviewed in conjunction with the unions.

He is also planning to make the department less hierarchical
in the way it operates as a result of lessons learnt during the epidemic, when
staff were given more flexibility and skills transferred more easily throughout
the department.

He is encouraging managers to be creative and to continue to
use staff flexibly to make the most of individuals’ skills and abilities.

“It’s a new way of working: you find the skills in the
organisation and work out the best way to harness them.

“I think that there is quite a lot [we can learn from foot
and mouth] and I think that we are trying to do it. Primarily [lessons have
been learnt] about flexibility and actually saying to people ‘you are
responsible for that and you deal with it’.”

By Quentin Reade

Comments are closed.