With numbers of public sector redundancies starting to emerge, such as Nottingham’s plan to lose 3000 staff, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has warned that employee engagement needs to be bolstered to avoid mass strikes.
A key message of the Institute’s report ‘Building Productive Public Sector Workplaces’, is that there needs to be a focus on building public sector leadership and management skills and improving communication and consultation in the public sector as spending cuts bite.
The survey on which the report is based revealed that there are low levels of trust and confidence in senior management teams among public sector employees. Just 16 per cent of public sector employees say they trust their senior leaders. 54 per cent of staff agree most people today are not willing to lose pay by going on strike, compared to 47 per cent in the private sector.
Mike Emmott, the CIPD employee relations adviser, believes a sustained focus by public service employers on improving the leadership skills of public sector management, providing meaningful consultation opportunities for staff and more effective communication would help win hearts and minds and build a more engaged workforce despite the turbulence of change. He said: “Trade unions have the power to disrupt only if employees trust them more than they trust management. The fundamental need is not to ‘manage the trade unions’ it is to manage the employment relationship and communicate the case for change.”