Gary Booth has set himself a mammoth task at the cooperative – building a People Services delivery model (launched December 08) that supports the co-operative's on-going business objectives. The company has set itself a strategy of successful growth through acquisition, and Gary's challenge is to supply an effective HR services model to integrate new businesses. He has set himself the year 2011 as an end goal.

Follow his journey as he blogs openly about the trials and triumphs in pursuing: innovative solutions, process and technology, trusted partnerships, a high performing team ... And the rest!

This week we take the plunge and ask our staff what they think…

A great way to kick off this weekly blog - the People Services interim survey! This week we’ve asked everybody in the centre to fill in an employee opinion survey, and so have their say on progress made and changes that have occurred since we re-branded and re-located six months ago. I have my fingers crossed that everyone here has benefited positively from the change and is happier and feels more confident and valued in their job as a result. So, watch this space to find out the results of this survey, a People Services cliff-hanger, I’m sure you’ll agree…

Separately, we are finding that it does wonders for the centre having the Operational Support team. How we functioned without them I will never know. They recently managed to scan 23 boxes of employee files backlog, left over from the turmoil of the floor move. To put this into context we are looking at 2,500-3,000 pages per box, which equate to equal numbers of pages to index into our Document Management System.

It’s not all good news, however, in the perpetual rollercoaster that is People Services. After some digging we uncovered some rather bad news about our Business Support and Change Manager, Matthew Chadwick (yes we do name-and-shame here). It seems he’s been hiding a dark and potentially destructive secret, and it comes in the form of the infamous Britney Spears. It was discovered that he’d booked, and indeed paid, to go and see said pop-star in concert…. mid-life crisis or pressure from the wife, we’ll let you decide. However we know the general consensus in this office! What’s clear is that we’ll be keeping a close eye and keeping you up-to-date on his future pop exploits.

Spears aside, I want to highlight the important work we’re doing around succession in People Services. When I first came to the centre the gap in succession was vast. We have been working hard and coming up with ideas to close this gap in order to give staff clear career paths and to attract high calibre talent from outside the group.

The latest great piece of work completed by our staff is a well-researched checklist of tasks to grow a potential candidate ahead of a role that they’ve shown interest in, for example in a performance review, and which they might apply for in future. This list includes relevant people with whom to liaise to complete these tasks. An added benefit would be to minimise the occurrence of dips in performance while newly promoted staff acquire these necessary skills for their new role. Alongside this, we’ll be running academy-style workshops to equip individuals with the necessary skills and behaviours needed to progress their careers. I’m sure everyone agrees, succession and development are mutually beneficial and extremely important to all involved.

Well this certainly isn’t exhaustive for the week but I’m going to finish there, have a well-earned coffee, and watch the world go by. People Services is on hold for the next hour…

Gary Booth
Head of People Services
The co-operative