The Pathway to Change Agreement and Culture – The Big Trust Survey Action Plans and Next Steps
Further to LTB 191/21 circulated on 11th May 2021, Branches will be aware that it has now been over two months since the Big Trust Survey closed. As a part of the ongoing joint activity to improve workplace culture, in line with the joint commitments in the Four Pillars and Pathway to Change Agreements, discussions have continued at a national level in order to shape and agree the next phase of the Big Trust Survey.
Branches will recall that following the first agreed national Big Trust Survey, it was agreed that once a unit or shift had received their results and feedback, the local Rep and Manager would work together to agree a joint local action plan to address the areas identified for improvement, together with realistic timescales to resolve the highlighted issues. However, some concerns were expressed that, given the workload associated with the ongoing revision and realignment activity, the focus would not be on deploying the local culture improvements due to other commitments taking priority.
Coupled with this and as part of their drive to improve trust, Royal Mail Group wanted to hold a further interim questionnaire for all units on a phased basis from the beginning of July to December 2021. Given that action planning was far from complete, the Department informed the Business that it would not be appropriate to conduct a further trust survey at that time.
Branches will also be aware that the involvement of the Postal Department in relation to the survey itself is just one aspect of the ongoing work to improve culture, as well as the working environment, and it is important that this perspective is not lost going forward. Shelley Banbury and Katrina Quirke continue to meet with the Business on a weekly basis on behalf of the DGS(P) Department to consider and review the level of agreed action plans, obtain feedback from the Field and start shaping the duration and timeline of the next interim survey.
Some of the feedback provided by Branches highlighted a number of discrepancies in relation to the number of local action plans which had actually been agreed. This has resulted in several pointed discussions, but also ultimately helped to extend the timelines for the interim survey, amend the running order and shape the final question set.
In terms of the attached sequence and timelines, which will be used for the interim trust survey, these will commence on 16th August and run until mid-January 2022. The order of the survey has been changed based on the feedback received, but is not an exact science. In order to install a further check and balance on the level of agreed action plans, Branches will also note that the attached slim-line questionnaire contains two particular statements regarding agreed action plans:
- I am aware of a jointly agreed action plan for my unit;
- I believe my unit is making progress against the action plan.
These will enable figures to be compared, identifying any existing gaps and targeting future activity. It will also provide a further vehicle to scrutinise data from the Business. Additionally, the statement about the local Rep / Manager relationship, as well as our key culture statement (‘I would recommend RMG to family or friends as a great place to work’) still form a part of the survey.
In terms of future activity, the Department has advised Royal Mail Group that there is a need to ask targeted, functional questions about the application of our national agreements. The Business has stated that they do not yet have an automated way to carry out the level of respondent segmentation required to allow function-specific questions. However, they are currently exploring ways and looking at different technical solutions, which would allow them to do this in the future. The Union continues to view the use of targeted, functional questions as a key element of improving workplace culture and are pursuing this issue as a priority.
Branches will appreciate that improving culture and the working environment will not take place overnight and involves a number of different facets. Involvement in the surveys is one of these and an important part of the overall joint programme. This approach was endorsed by the Postal Executive at a meeting on 2nd August 2021.
Improving culture and the working environment remains a key focus of the Postal Executive and is not something that will be ignored. To continue to inform this work, it remains important for members to continue to highlight the matters prevalent in the workplace and maintain the momentum through action plans that continue the work associated in resolving as many concerns as possible.
In closing, I would like to thank all Branches, Reps and members for their ongoing work towards maximising the survey returns and helping to move our cultural change forward. Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.
Deputy General Secretary (Postal)