Five minutes with...

Shaun Hollinshead and Garry Billings

Shaun Hollinshead and Garry Billings

Time 467 days ago Comments 0 comments

Healthcare sites have introduced engagement champions across the country, to encourage better links between clients, managers and operational teams. We spoke to senior operations manager Shaun Hollinshead and porter Garry Billings – both champions at Royal Stoke Hospital – about how they work closely together to create an open and honest working environment.

Q: How did you become an engagement champion?

Shaun: I was discussing my interests and strengths with my manager, Neal Gisborne, during my performance development review and he thought my ‘open door’ style of management would naturally link me to the role.

Garry: Shaun took on the role and I was happy to support him when he asked me. We have similar personalities and I come from a customer service background, so I like to think I have good interpersonal skills.

Q: Is that one of the qualities you need for the role?

Garry: Definitely, you have to be able to connect with your peers.

Shaun: I think treating people how you would like to be treated is crucial to the role. If you follow that you’ll put people at their ease, and earn their trust.

Q: What are the key responsibilities?

Shaun: I work with other members of the committee to come up with ways to improve engagement in our large team here. We are nearly 1,000 strong, so it’s important to work together.

Garry: As a porter myself, I understand the issues that directly affect people at work every day. It’s then my role to be able to link managers with the ideas and experiences of our employees.

Q: How have you made a positive impact?

Shaun: We improved our engagement score by nine points following the 2017 Pulse survey, up from 42% in 2016 to 51% in 2017. The committee discussed a better way of conducting the survey – we decided to take hand held tablets to the staff and this resulted in a participation rate of 81%.

Garry: Shaun and I decided to set up a forum to improve communication and engagement with our 220 porters. It’s bi-monthly and we invite a different group each time. We share ideas and talk about better ways of doing things. It’s an open forum; an opportunity to air both the good and bad.

Q: What would you say to encourage others to become champions?

Shaun: You’ve got to make time for engagement. It is tough to factor it into your already busy working schedules, so I understand why some people are reluctant to get involved.

Garry: Shaun and the management team do give us the time to devote to the role.

Shaun: You have to do that; otherwise it just doesn’t work and you don’t get the commitment or the results. 

Q: What’s your top tip for employee engagement?

Shaun: Engagement can be very simple. A quick hello every morning, or making sure you know the names of everyone in your team, is a great start.

Garry: Listen. Put together action plans; it’s important to show people that even if you can’t give a positive response to a query, you have investigated it thoroughly and tried to find a solution.


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