Case study: North Ayrshire Council.

Facing financial challenges and increased demand for services, North Ayrshire Council is facing adversity by transforming the way in which it engages its people.

The council endeavours to be an employer of choice - and core to this is supporting employees balance work and personal lives.

Since 2000, all employees have had a right to request flexible working and working culture focuses on service delivery and outputs, not simply the hour’s people work. North Ayrshire Council recognise the direct link between employee engagement and good service delivery.

A multi-million pound ICT investment has ensured flexible working technology meets employees’ aspirations, without compromising service delivery. To ensure the successful transition to agile ways of working, training is provided for staff and managers.

North Ayrshire Council has also made significant investment in employee health, safety and well-being by offering various initiatives. Absence rates fell by 1.3 days per FTE between 2013/14 and 2014/15 and work-related stress has also significantly reduced. Employee engagement levels have risen from 65.3% in 2014 to 69.6% in 2015.

Leadership role models are important to the council and many chief officers work on a flexible basis.

Generous support arrangements are available around maternity, adoptions, paternity and shared parental leave, while paid leave is provided for ante natal care, bereavement, and marriage/civil partnership.

Campaigns are used to promote employee benefits such highlighting nursery vouchers to new fathers.

Regeneration manager Alasdair Laurensen works one day a week from home. He explains: “Home working has allowed me to make a contribution to childcare, and also has a number of work-related benefits. It gives me the comfort that I have some opportunity to catch up, and the sense that at the end of the week I have made progress.

“My team know that I work this pattern and that I can easily be contacted on Sametime, email or phone.”