Funding to the Further Education (FE) sector is notoriously scant. As such, budgets are tight and while the college desires to make annual pay awards to employees, it’s often a challenge.
Data collected by the Association of Colleges (AoC) and the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) suggests average lecturer pay in colleges is £30,100 (£32,226.52 Lincoln College), which is significantly less than average school teacher pay (£35,000) and average university academic pay (£43,000).
Achieving excellence in education and training is Lincoln College’s primary ambition, so having the best people in front of students is paramount. The college has faced difficulties in the past recruiting for a number of key teaching and assessment posts, including Maths and English, Clinical Health, Health and Social Care, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Maintenance, Construction Management and Trowel Occupations.
As such, Lincoln College has chosen to invest in new reward and recognition initiatives to formally recognise the strong contributions of its employees. It was important that the college’s suite of employee benefits was relevant, accessible and visible to all employees in order to achieve the best possible employee value proposition with limited resources.
Lincoln College embarked on a cultural transformation of its organisation which began with the creation of its Strategic Transformation of Education Provision (STEP) programme. STEP is both a cultural shift towards a continuous improvement mindset for all employees as well as a permanent team of transformation experts. The impact of that change is most notably in the attitude, engagement and performance of its employees across the organisation.
To address a STEP review of reward and recognition and health and wellbeing, Lincoln College launched Perkbox in July 2017. Claire O’Hara, Head of HR, explains the aim, “Lincoln College will become an innovative provider of employee reward and recognition to attract, develop, retain and motivate our workforce. It will strive to develop and deliver extraordinary solutions that are creative and flexible to recognise the importance of our employees and strengthen their health and wellbeing.”
The college quickly realised the need to revise its processes and systems to recognise and reward extraordinary thoughts, behaviours and actions.
Perkbox was adopted to move away from the typical public sector, scattergun approach to employee benefits, which often failed to resonate with employees.
Lincoln College has also striven to ensure exceptional two-way communication with employees across the organisation by transforming internal communications, including implementing Facebook’s internal communications platform Workplace. The impact of this is a highly informed and engaged workforce who are sharing information and learning from one another.
Within the first six months of launching Perkbox, 72% of Lincoln College’s people have activated their accounts and employees have generated savings of c. £33,000.
Perkbox has brought all of the college’s benefits together into one multi-channel platform that’s accessible to all employee groups including those without access to IT, but do have smartphones. These employees are now actively using the Perkbox app on their smartphones which has connected people across the organisation.
The most recent Lincoln College Employee Wellbeing Employee Survey (November 2017) was based on the HSE’s recommended Management Standards Indicator Tool, a 35 item questionnaire relating to the six primary stressors identified in the Management Standards approach to tackling work-related stress.
The questions are based on the best available evidence linking work design to health outcomes. The results provide a broad indication of how well the workforce rate their performance in managing the risks associated with work-related stress (risk assessment).
“Overall, the outcomes of this survey are very positive in relation to Relationships, Role, and Peer Support,” explains Claire. “Employees are clear about what is expected of them at work and they know how to go about getting their job done. Employees are clear about the goals and objectives for their departments, and
understand how their work fits onto the overall aim of the college”.
“There is some work to be done in the areas of Managers Support and Control but it is clear that the college should focus their efforts to further explore the issues (and focus improvements) in the areas of Demands and Change. This will be the focus of future development to our Health and Wellbeing Strategy supported by the Perkbox Wellness Hub.”
Lincoln College rewards its employees through their Spotlight Awards – ‘Shining a Light on Extraordinary Performance’. Employees are nominated for:
- A specific and exceptional one-off achievement
- Consistent contributions and performance above and beyond expectations
- Exceptional dedication to learning, assessment and teaching
The nominations are considered by the Executive Leadership Team and Spotlight Award winners receive a Perkbox reward of their choice to the value of £50.
Award winners are also invited to an afternoon “Welcome and Achievement Event” hosted by Lincoln College’s Chief Executive, Gary Headland, in its student-run Sessions restaurant. Award winners are joined by college new starters and our employees who will receive a £200 Long Service Perkbox Award for 20 years continuous service.