A Case Study by the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust
London Ambulance Services employ 5,500 staff based at ambulance stations and support offices across London. We are the capital’s ambulance service and the only NHS Trust that covers whole of London. We have a total of 70 ambulance stations across London.
In November 2015 a CQC inspection identified significant gaps in the Trust's recording and reporting of workforce information including statutory and mandatory training, appraisal, vacancies and staff in post.
As a result of this a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) was initiated to address areas which required improvement including how the Trust could record, monitor and report its workforce information more effectively.
To meet the needs of the QIP it was decided that the functionality available within ESR would be explored as part of an ESR Health check. The Health check identified utilisation of 28% as well as key areas which could be optimised to meet the requirements of the QIP.
Following the Health check and in consultation with NHS Improvement a proposal was developed for the Executive Leadership Team. They approved the initiation of a focused ESR Transformation Programme to deliver the following:
- A data quality review and restructure of ESR to ensure that employees are in the right place to ensure accurate reporting;
- Implementation of OLM and E-Learning including the data migration and ongoing use of competencies for statutory and mandatory training requirements and reporting;
- Roll out of Employee Self Service via the new ESR Portal to enable staff to update their own information, view payslips and access NLMS e-learning;
- Make workforce information available to managers across the Trust to monitor workforce compliance and performance and improve decision making about our staff.
Prior to the commencement of the ESR Transformation Programme, there was very little knowledge, engagement and use of ESR across the Organisation. Various different systems and spreadsheets were being used to capture information about our staff including:
- E-rostering system being used to maintain Operations staff personal records, and to record training and appraisals;
- Vacancy levels were reported from the Finance system;
- A local spreadsheet maintained by HR for Employee Relations cases;
- A local spreadsheet maintained for Corporate Statutory and Mandatory Training records;
- Training Subject Matter Experts kept their own records of training for their area of expertise;
- A stand-alone e-learning platform with limited reporting capability;
- Limited Workforce Information only available at Trust level from various sources.
The programme has incorporated all of the above into ESR, improving the usage, credibility and reputation of ESR as the master Workforce System for the Organisation. With the improved visibility of the system, there have been requests from Managers across the Trust to use additional ESR functionality including Manager Self Service, Online Appraisals and Property Management. This has led to the development of a road map and future plans to fully optimise the functionality available in ESR.
ESR Structure Re Design
- ESR Workstructures re-designed to reflect the operational and financial structure of the Trust enabling reporting below Trust level.
- Over 2,500 staff which were sitting in the wrong place in ESR corrected, reducing manual adjustments in the General Ledger and creating efficiency saving of 0.5 FTE in Finance.
- Establishment Control implemented with Funded FTE 100% matched to Finance General Ledger each month. The Trust now uses ESR information to highlight recruitment gaps. This has supported a decrease in the Trust's vacancy rate from 8.2% to 7% since April 2017 which results in a better standard of care for our patients.
- Over 98% of staff across the Trust have used MyESR since Go-Live in September2017 compared to 9% using Employee Self Service in 2016-17,
- Over 66,000 e-learning courses have been completed by staff since September 2017.
- Over 55,000 competencies awarded since September 2017 increasing statutory and mandatory compliance from 71% to 87% achieving the Trust's March 2018 85% target. This provides greater evidence and assurance around the safety and compliance of our workforce.
- First ever statutory and mandatory eLearning Path delivered to over 3,700 frontline operational staff made available via mobile technology, replacing over 300 8 hour classes previously delivered by Band 6 Clinical Tutors.
- 31 user guides developed for each individual piece of functionality in MyESR.
- MyESR Helpdesk set up and resourced. Database created to track calls and identify themes of over 6,000 calls received since MyESR launch. Average response time of half a day.
- Local MyESR Intranet Page launched with User Guides, FAQs, Video User Guides, Support information.
- Online Feedback survey completed and ‘you said – we did’ plan currently being actioned.
- 32 statutory and mandatory competencies created with over 100,000 competency requirements mapped and added to ESR Positions.
- Over 60,000 competencies migrated from various legacy systems which enabled accurate workforce reporting and provided assurance to internal and external stakeholders on safer workforce.
- Devolvement of OLM class administration to specialist training teams reducing centralised administration.
What Our Exec Team Say
The transformation/implementation of MyESR has been a foundation for not only transforming our delivery and decision-making for training and development but also to change the way we will communicate with our people.
Now that we have the foundation stone in place, we will be looking to maximise use of the wider system functionality to transform other aspects of our work with our dispersed teams of people – through online appraisals, managing student cohorts and potentially manager Self Service.
Patricia Grealish – Director of People & Culture & Project Exec Sponsor
The launch of MyESR has enabled us to transform the way we manage our training and development. Our mobile workforce can now update their own employee record and complete e-learning via mobile devices, managers can key access workforce information about their teams and staff and the Organisation has a far greater understanding and assurance of its StatMan training and appraisal compliance.
Garrett Emmerson – Chief Executive
The Next Steps
Following the success of our MyESR implementation we intend to continue to our ESR journey and have begun planning the next phase of our ESR transformation project, implementing:
- Devolvement of OLM administration to various learning teams across the Trust – by Q2 2018-19
- Switch on Interfaces between ESR & Rostering system – by end Q3 2018-19
- Online Appraisals via Manager Self Service – currently scoping
- Align to strategic objectives to get ‘buy-in’
- Be structured with project governance (e.g. Project Board, documentation)
- Continuously engage across the organisation
- Remain agile and implement ‘quick wins’
- Promote ESR as master Workforce System
- Share your experiences and best practice
For further information our ESR Transformation project please contact Mark Ando, Interim ESR Transformation Programme Manager at Mark.Ando@lond-amb.nhs.uk
A successful journey with ESR OLM
A Case Study by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust
In 2013, following a period of significant change we were aware that we did not have an accurate record of staff training compliance and therefore found difficulty in planning training provision and lacked assurance on the safe working of our staff. Training records were held in a range of places, locally, centrally and by our third party support service provider. This resulted in a disconnected, inaccurate and time consuming process of gathering and maintaining a record of staff training compliance; not helped by our two IT networks which could not link together. This gave concern about the potential for staff to be non-complaint but more importantly meant we were not in a position to put training in place to address it.
The Trust decided to initially implement ESR/OLM and Employee Self Service (with a longer term plan to implement Supervisor and Manager Self Service), to give us a single, real time record and enable our employees to access their personal records as well as being able to undertake e-Learning. Subject experts reviewed and streamlined mandatory training requirements and worked on a range of training delivery models which ultimately resulted in us introducing e-Learning as the main training delivery method for our employees.
This project was supported by our Deputy Chief Executive and Director or Workforce and Service Re-Design, Anita Pisani, who recognised the benefits that introducing Self Service and OLM would bring to the organisation;
With the successful rollout of Self Service our employees are able to view and update their personal data held on ESR directly, which has improved the quality of our data. In addition, through using OLM for recording our mandatory training we have managed to improve the accuracy of our overall compliance data as well as providing our employees with a more timely and flexible route to undertaking their training.
In 2014, we undertook an ESR Health Check with our NHS ESR Account Manager, which identified that our overall rating for ESR Functional effectiveness was only 25%. The report made recommendations for us to make improvements to the way we used Self Service, Business Intelligence and Learning Management functionality, as well as general HR and recruitment processes. From the recommendations, an action plan was created focusing on the following main areas:
- Implement Oracle Learning Management (OLM) for the recording and reporting of training completed by the individual employee.
- Set up the Competency Requirements. By implementing this we would be able to define the training requirements at Organisation/Position level, which would enable the compliance to be reported accurately through the use of ESR Business Intelligence.
- Implement Employee Self Service and use the associated e-Learning within OLM. This would enable our employees to view their own compliance and be able to keep up to date and meet the training requirements set on their profiles.
Employee Self Service would empower our employees to view and make changes to their personal and employment information held on ESR, which would improve overall data quality and accuracy.
Using the ESR Health Check as a driver to improve our current status, and recognising that we needed an improved and robust way of delivering and recording training within the Trust, we initiated the ESR/OLM Implementation programme. The initial remit of the programme was to utilise OLM within ESR to hold all Statutory and Mandatory training records for all employees within the Trust, and to rollout out Employee Self Service (ESS). The current training database had been created by an internal information analyst, and was not linked to HR/Finance or ESR, which resulted in a disconnect of information with staff changes, e.g. no automatic updates of starters and leavers, so this was a manual intervention.
Using ESS and OLM would enable our employees to book themselves directly onto e-Learning courses once the OLM Catalogue had been created. It would also give them the ability to check their compliance records and identify any face to face training that they would need to book onto.
Over the last year there has been significant investment in the ESR solution with the launch of the new portal and improved functionality, including OLM. The resounding success of this investment for us is the ESR Portal, which has vastly enhanced the user experience for our staff. Prior to the 2017 portal roll out we had worked tirelessly to upgrade our IT infrastructure in line with the MM-0100 document and set an objective to launch the Portal to our employees in October 2017.
In preparation for the implementation we adapted our ‘how to guides’, introduced screen savers, and updated our employees via communication cascades and corporate induction presentations for all new staff. We have personalised the portal with our twitter feed, create our own announcements within the system, advised staff of their compliance as soon as they log into the portal and advertise internal job vacancies. Prior to our portal launch, we also moved to electronic payslips. The intention was that this would encourage our employees to access the portal to view their payslip each month and would therefore steadily increase our usage of the system, and increase the likelihood of the employee seeing their Training Compliance at the same time.
In May 2015 we launched ESS and OLM together. We had a very proactive communications approach that included presentations to services and the publication of ‘how to guides’ available on the intranet.
A helpdesk was created with links to IT, Finance, HR and Workforce Information so that we covered all eventualities and could signpost employees to the right department. This is still in place today with an excellent response rate and high standards of service.
The overall compliance rate for the Trust has increased from 86% to today’s average of 95%.
Our employees now benefit from a greater sense of wellbeing as they are now able to access their own personal records when they want/need to and are able to plan and undertake their training around their work and home life.
The primary benefits that we have found from are:
- Compliance rate is now at 95% for Statutory and Mandatory training;
- Employees now have access to accurate, reliable and timely compliance information;
- ESR Notifications remind employee’ when training needs to be completed;
- National and local e-Learning modules are accessible through OLM and the ESR record is automatically updated instantly upon completion;
- Training data is transferred between Trusts via the use of the Pre Hire IAT, reducing the amount of training required on induction;
- Substantial reduction in duplication of effort and reduction in time spent to manage training and compliance across the entire organisation;
- OLM has become a repository for recording qualifications, accreditations and skills against individuals, so is beneficial when searching from a particular skill base;
- ESS has led to a decrease in the number of local ‘P forms’ received by the administrative teams, and has led to an improvement in the quality of diversity data, helping us to put in place equality and diversity improvements, assisting our diverse workforce;
- Manager Self Service will provide further benefit when our managers can access team reports and act on these – providing timely, accurate and reliable data;
- Immediate access for Quality, Governance and Performance teams to access reporting data.
The Project - When we initially scoped this project, responsibility sat within HR/Workforce functionality. As the project progressed, it became apparent that this needed a higher profile and it would have been more appropriately led by the Transition Team, this would have resulted in greater engagement from all areas and a smoother transition of processes.
Engaging IT - Due to the geographical area of our services, we were working with four IT providers, with vast differences in delivery. As scope grew within ESR/OLM, along with the impending release of the Portal, it was essential that we took action. Securing senior management support, we were able to bring each provider up to the standard of the MM-0100 document and ensure the system would allow the end user to transition effectively, limiting issues. Early engagement from IT specialists is critical.
ESR/OLM Programme Board - Establish an organisation user group involving the necessary functions/services. Our board consists of our ESR/OLM team, HR, Finance, Recruitment, Workforce Information and IT representatives - held every 4-5 weeks and are well attended. This forum facilitates discussion and consideration of the impact of work being carried out in other services, and agrees ways to minimalise potential issues. Having a broader presence on ESR Special Interest Groups enables shared learning.
Helpdesk - We have a dedicated ESR helpdesk able to change passwords, resolve or reroute IT issues and answer general queries about the system on a day to day basis. The Administrator is responsible for uploading announcements on the portal as well as keeping the ‘how to guides’ up to date with on-going enhancements. These can also be located through the link within the portal. With any system there are always going to be times when things aren’t quite meeting user expectation or are as a result of user error, and so our local ESR helpdesk is essential to helping resolve issues for employees.
If you would like further information about our ESS/OLM project please contact our ESR OLM Lead Julia Michael at email@example.com.
Streamlining Recruitment, Hiring and Assignment Changes using ESR Manager Self Service
A Case Study by Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is a large community provider – with 5,000 staff. The Trust was formed in 2010 and has been using Employee and Manager Self Service (Payroll Approval Required) since this date – and previously in two of the three founder Trusts.
Employee and Manager Self Service has historically been used for most tasks, including some back-office ‘cost reducing’ assignment changes (Hours Reductions & Terminations for example). However, there was always a reluctance to relinquish some of the central controls in order to allow Managers to use ESR for operational tasks that would add to the spend on a cost centre. Following a poor Recruitment audit, we were required to review this approach and as a consequence the decision was made to utilise ESR Manager Self Service (Payroll Approvals required) to ‘Manage Hires’ and make ‘Assignment’ changes.
The process in place during the audit was a fully electronic eForms system – with emailed workflow Workforce Approval forms and New Starter and Changes forms. However, these were within a standalone third part system that needed separate management and maintenance.
The audit found it difficult to reconcile the electronic forms with the actual recruitment/job change made. It also found a range of delays at different stages of the approval/recruitment process.
Understanding the starting point was key - there were three systems involved in the ‘Workforce Hire and Change’ process:-
Each system had its own login credentials and business rules.
We recognised there was a possibility to extend our use of NHS Jobs and ESR Manager Self Service to cover the tasks of the eForms system; using the ‘approvals’ emails in NHS Jobs for Vacancy Workforce Approval and using ‘Manage Hires’ and ‘Assignment Changes’ in Manager Self Service to hire and change jobs. An options appraisal confirmed the practicality and advantages of this approach.
Our Managers were quick to see the benefit in using just two systems that they were already familiar with. The ability to now use the previously unused ESR menu items of Assignments and Manage Hires was welcomed with open arms. This was all aided by our early deployment in 2017 of the ESR Portal and the enhanced visual experience this gave to its users.
As well as achieving all Hires and Assignment changes, we were able to devise processes that have eliminated all other HR change forms – so we now use the ‘notes’ in an ‘Assignment’ change to notify Payroll of changes such as ‘Purchased Annual Leave’, ‘On Call enhancements’ etc.
The change over to the new process was initially piloted within Corporate areas, with a phased deployment in the Operating Divisions across the Financial Year 2016-17. Full deployment was complete by April 2017.
Progress in the project was monitored by the Strategic Workforce Committee with regular reports on progress in migrating to the new way of working.
The advantages in reducing to just two systems, from three, were recognised very early in the deployment. This simple process change, of gaining the Approval in NHS Jobs and allowing ESR ‘Manage Hires’ is actually more significant than it appears.
In the Recruit and Hire process we have:-
- reduced the number of systems – from 3 to 2
- reduced the number of operations per recruitment episode – from 29 to 15
- reduced the interruptions in the procedure flow – from 7 to 4
- eliminated 8 ‘double data entry’ items
- reduced average approval time by 40 days.
The Assignment Changes process has also been streamlined, cutting the average process time from 40 to 4 days. There are also reductions in the number of distinct operations and interruptions to the process flow.
The Approval workflow in NHS Jobs allows the recruiting manager to pick the most appropriate approvers. For example, we allow Nursing vacancies to be advertised without Director approval – contributing to the reduction in delay. This flexibility was not possible before.
The use of the ‘Payroll Approval Required’ option in Self Service allows the ESR team (that have the Payroll Notification role) to ‘quality check’ all changes as well as forward Notifications to Finance where their approval is required for an assignment change.
The Manager Self Service Hire process has also given us an enhanced Information Governance benefit. Employees now enter their own Bank Account details into ESR using Employee Self Service. They no longer have to share these with their manager (who previously entered them on the electronic New Starter form). It is also one less task for the Payroll team.
By consolidating onto just two systems managers have increased their overall use of ESR and have become more confident when using it. Almost certainly this has contributed to our most recent ‘Payroll Audit’ result where we achieved ‘Significant Assurance’ with NO recommendations or suggestions for change.
This manager confidence in using ESR fits with our strategy of making Mangers self-reliant in ESR, making all changes and also reporting team data to support their service operation.
The complications of the interdependency between approvers in a service meant that we had to modify our deployment approach slightly to ensure everyone was using the same system.
We also had to modify the deployment as a Manager left and was replaced – these new managers immediately went ‘live’ with the new process – necessitating us to also bring all related managers in that Service on line at the same time.
We have also identified other changes that will further streamline our processes – so there will be yet more benefits and lessons to be learnt.
We have shared our experience with Trusts within the West Midlands at a Regional Special Interest Group and have worked alongside one Trust, walking them through our process. The interest generated is significant – demonstrating that other Trusts have an appetite for the benefits that this use of ESR delivers.
If you want more information about our Streamlining Recruitment, Hiring and Assignment Changes using ESR Manager Self Service Project , please contact Chris Heward, Workforce Planning and ESR Senior Business Partner - 0121 466 7462 - firstname.lastname@example.org
We often share our Self Service training materials with neighbouring organisations – and will make those for these procedures freely available to anyone that requests them.
For information about Manager Self Service functionality and best practice please contact your NHS ESR Functional Advisor or Account Manager or access the HR Best Practice Guidance on Kbase.