A human touch
1 July 2010
It's no secret that a happy workforce means a more productive business — not to mention a more stimulating working environment for everyone. Today, the Met Office invests extensively in strategies and initiatives to give people the support and guidance they need to succeed.
It's easy to assume that in a large, multi-faceted government organisation like the Met Office, the needs of individuals might take second place to any number of business priorities. But, in reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, Diana Chaloner, Director of Human Resources, believes business success and staff satisfaction are inextricably linked.
"If people aren't motivated to deliver, then they won't deliver their best and the business will suffer as a result. That's why we have a whole framework of processes in place to make sure all staff are working together in their own departments and across the Met Office in the most effective way possible."
Investing in people
The Met Office invests in people. As a national government standard, the Investors in People accreditation focuses on a chosen area of business for example, engaging employees or developing management skills that's then regularly retested. It's a reliable framework to help organisations chart their progress. "We were only just meeting the standard last time we were tested," says Diana. "This time round, however, we met it by a huge margin which is really encouraging. And we're going to carry on retesting across even more areas of the business."
"If people aren't motivated to deliver, then they won't deliver their best - and the business will suffer as a result. That's why we have a whole framework of processes in place to make sure all staff are working together in their own departments and across the Met Office in the most effective way possible."
The Met Office keeps investing in its people and improving the satisfaction of its staff in a range of ways. Using a 'professional skills framework', for example, the Met Office makes it easy for individuals to see exactly what they need to do to further their careers. As Diana says, "For every type of job there's a clear, transparent framework that staff can see on our intranet. And for extra support, they can also speak to a team of learning and development advisers."
Setting sights high
Crucially, contentment in the workplace also comes down to how people feel they're being managed and where they think the organisation is going as a whole. The Met Office tackles this head on, with a Leadership Development Programme that helps train managers in best practice. "First, we put sixty of our top managers through the programme," says Diana. "Then, we reviewed how the organisation feels it's being led, the effect of the leadership style and whether staff feel they're being inspired. Our recent retest shows a real improvement. We are now planning to roll the programme out to managers throughout the organisation, which is crucial to ensuring standards of leadership are maintained and continuously improved."
But for Diana, an understanding among staff of the business direction is absolutely critical and all for one important principle. "I believe that if everybody understands our long term direction and feels they have a part to play in it then they'll deliver it," she explains. "In essence, it's that simple.
Working for the Met Office
- We work to keep up a good relationship with our one recognised trade union, Prospect, so that whenever staff issues or challenges come up, we can work together to overcome them in the most effective and efficient way.
- When it comes to recruitment for specific roles, like scientists and forecasters, we visit key universities to let top students know all about the opportunities we offer - as well as advertising on a whole range of recruitment sites.
- For 25 science posts, we could receive over 350 applications - so we use in-house psychometric testing to find people with the perfect outlook as well as the skills to suit the organisation.
- Work/life balance is actively encouraged through a whole range of flexible working options - from flexi-time to home-working, to creating a sociable and child-friendly environment in the building.
- As sponsors of the Reach Academy - part of Exeter College - we aim to encourage talented students to stay in the South West rather than taking their skills elsewhere. This includes giving students projects to work on, hosting talks and more.
- Finding out about upcoming opportunities at the Met Office is easy - through the 'Our People' section of our website, at regular university career fairs - and even on Twitter.