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Salisbury share their experiences of rolling out Manager Self Service and Appraisal functionality.

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust has a headcount of approximately 4,800 staff and is the main care provider for Salisbury and the surrounding areas.

As part of a concerted effort to develop data flows within our Trust, in March 2019 the Organisational Development and People department were challenged to consider how both the accuracy and accessibility of workforce data could be improved.

The organisations internal  ESR project group (named ‘ESR optimisation’) decided to maximise use of ESR to provide a true ‘hire to retire’ workforce solution. While it was acknowledged from the outset that this was a big task given our previous limited use of the ESR solution, huge benefits were visualised. Additionally, the need to align with the Trust’s digital strategy of aligning systems wherever possible provided the catalyst for the project to start.

Initially the project group identified a number of historic paper based processes where streamlining using ESR might be possible, these included terminations, change of hours and hierarchy changes via Manager Self Service. As part of this ongoing strategy, it was also decided to switch off paper payslips for all employees, and to scope the use of appraisals in ESR to remove the need for a third party solution.

As part of this project we wanted to empower our managers and employees to own their data, including emergency contact details, equality and diversity information and adjusting supervisors within their hierarchy.

A full Business Case and supporting Project Initiation Document were developed and a phased plan was developed.

Phase 1

May 2019 – March 2020 – this involved a review of the Hierarchy and ensured ESR was aligned to the Organisation. It also included  promotion and subsequent roll out of Employee Self Service (ESS) including the release of online payslips. 

Over the course of the past 17 months we have worked closely with our regional NHS ESR Functional Account Manager and Implementation Advisor with all phase 1 activities completed on time.

As such, following a well received internal communication campaign paper payslips were switched off on 31st March 2020. This has led to a cost saving of 0.5 WTE and reduced Information Governance risks.

Phase 2

April 2020 – December 2020 – this focused on continued data improvement, and through process redesign a reduction in the Trusts reliance on paper based processes. This is was anticipated would increase efficiency as well as providing more timely and accurate data. Scoping of ESR appraisals was also planned for this phase. Additionally, this phase included enabling more timely and accurate data and scoping online appraisals to assist with Pay Progression for the whole organisation.

Over the course of the 17 months we worked closely with our regional NHS ESR Functional Account Manager and Implementation Advisor which enabled us to complete all our phase 1 activities on time. We then switched off paper payslips on 31st March 2020 following an internal communications campaign that was well received, and as a result has led to cost savings and reduced Information Governance risks.

The project has continued during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and Manager Self Service was successfully launched across the Trust on 1st November 2020. This was undoubtedly due to our extensive planning, excellent internal teamwork and crucially, dedicated support from the NHSBSA ESR Regional Team.

The pandemic meant that like many other NHS organisations face to face training sessions couldn’t be held so a virtual package was developed and accessed by over 100 managers. A number of initial successes have been noted t with further phasing out of paper forms and ongoing support to Managers now possible. Given this we are confident that Manager Self Service will become fully embedded across the Trust within the next few months.

Throughout this phased project we have learnt that engagement with teams across the whole Trust is pivotal if processes are to work successfully.  Given the links between ESR and other digital systems, close relationships have therefore been built with Finance, e-Roster, IT and the Trusts Communication teams,

One of the major considerations of the project was to develop the Trust’s ESR hierarchy and ensure that it accurately represented the Trust’s structure. This took some time to achieve but has proved critical to allow us to move onto the next stage of the project. On occasions some parts of the project  have not go to plan; however support from our NHS ESR Functional Account Manager and Implementation Advisor has allowed us to develop alternative solutions.

The development of a robust Communication Plan is also recommended so as to ensure all staff are aware of upcoming project timelines and are prepared to embrace changes that might affect the recording of their work related date.  

Our next step is to roll out ESR Appraisals from (April/May2021) with a full review of our Establishment Control processes planned for later in the year. Further utilisation of the following ESR functionality is also planned:

  • Use of the pre-hire IAT and Applicant Dashboard process;
  • Use of TIS interface;
  • Using the ESR exit questionnaire as part of the Trust’s Leavers process;
  • Ensuring ESR is fully embedded into the Trust’s Starter’s, Movers and Leavers review.

    Gary Dawson – Project and Policy Lead for Organisational Development and People said:

    Getting in touch with the NHS ESR Team early and obtaining the relevant expertise has been invaluable to our success at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.


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