NHS trust adds flexible policies to boost morale

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust is looking to introduce work-life balance
practices in a bid to provide a 24-hour service and improve retention and
morale among staff.

The trust is investing just under £20,000, half supplied by the DTI’s
Partnership Fund to improve the quality of the service for customers and the
working conditions for staff.

Colin Moore, director of personnel, believes that introducing work-life
balance improvements is one way to help achieve this.

In January a working party of six headed by Moore will consider what
policies to introduce.

It will report its findings next summer on which practices are most suitable
and will aim to implement them in September 2002.

"Especially in the winter we need to make sure we are running more than
a Monday to Friday, nine to five service. Traditionally we tend to ask staff if
they are prepared to work overtime. Work-life balance will help us to produce a
standard seven-day service," said Moore.

He believes that the introduction of a work-life balance culture to the
trust will help improve employee motivation and morale because employees will
be able to balance their work and homes lives more effectively.

The trust is also in the process of employing a recruitment and retention
officer whose role will be to identify issues affecting staff morale before
they become a problem. "If you retain staff then you have no need to
recruit them," said Moore.

He is optimistic the appointment will build on efforts to reduce staff
turnover which is down to single figures.

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