Strategy and action hand in hand
For a people-oriented organization like Maastro, employee surveys have always been a standard part of the HR strategy. However, when the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) launched the Good and Healthy Working program in 2018 together with Realise-Schouten & Nelissen, it was the moment for Maastro to take the next step.
Jack van der Vlis, strategic HR consultant at Maastro, explains: “Our annual surveys were not very comparable with other organizations and were also less easy to translate into actions. The program of Realise-Schouten & Nelissen and SZW was very action-oriented, which suited us perfectly: as an organization we are not only active strategically, but we also want action and results.”
“We are always busy with how we can make people co-responsible for actions as much as possible. And not only the employees or the managers - but together in a cyclical way."
Fraukje Suijker, head of HR at Maastro, adds: “We are always very concerned with how we can make people as co-responsible for actions as possible. And not just the employees or the managers – but together, in a cyclical way.”
Maastro started the Good and Healthy Working program with the business management component. The results were very good. Van der Vlis: “It was actually an experiment, but we noticed in six months that more attention was being paid to conversations between managers and employees. Reason for us to also connect other business units, and now the entire company is participating.”
Over the years, some challenges have crept in at Maastro. “As a growing organization we have done a lot under a lot of hats; many employees had double or triple positions,” explains Suijker. “We really wanted to bring people back to their core task and that ultimately led to a broader management palette. But that also meant that at first there were people who had hardly any contact with their supervisors and did not know how best to make that contact. That was - and is - one of the biggest challenges for our organization. Paying attention to the employees, making contact.”
Another challenge that is partly related to the above is work pressure. “Always an aspect in the organization that we have to keep an eye on,” says Van der Vlis.
From research to actions
To (among other things) gain more insight into this, the Good and Healthy Working questionnaire is distributed annually among all permanent employees in which they can anonymously answer questions about their working environment and experience. The results of this are presented in the management teams and the management advisory team, in which Realise (the now independent branch within Schouten & Nelissen that deals with employee research and activation) explains what the most important results are and what they advise to do with them.
In addition to management, concrete actions are also managed by a so-called 'action team' – a group of enthusiastic employees who act as ambassadors to ensure that the actions recommended from the research are actually put into practice, or carry out additional actions. The following year, the results are measured – and so the circle continues to come full circle.
The Good and Healthy Working program has already resulted in a number of very practical, effective actions for Maastro, including:
- Selecting a soft skills supplier that helps employees to choose relatively simple training courses in an accessible way
- Intervention cards that visually quickly clarify where and what you can go for if you encounter a certain challenge with icons
- Gamification to motivate people to use the intervention
- An internal 'chain mail' to keep in touch with your colleagues (launch in summer ’21).
Certainly in the departments where personal attention is paid to subjects or where interventions have been implemented thanks to the action team, it is then checked whether the pointers are changing. And that is certainly the case in those departments and also in the whole of Maastro. Van der Vlis: “Maastro scores better compared to the benchmark of 40,000 employees in all kinds of sectors. But we also score better compared to the healthcare benchmark – on several fronts.”
The bottlenecks 'supervisor support' and 'workload' are showing increasing improvement. Van der Vlis: “Thanks to Realise's research, we have insight into where the support from the managers still leaves something to be desired and we work very specifically in departments that score in the red.”
And that workload? It was indeed very high. Suijker: “So we started recruiting specifically for a number of critical positions. We expect that the workload on those functions will decrease, so we will hopefully see that in the next measurement.”
The research also yielded some pleasant surprises. “We thought, for example, that we should improve on the 'autonomy' aspect, but our people seem to have no problems with that,” says Van der Vlis.
Sustainable employability as a core HR-strategy
These employee surveys are part of a broader HR strategy within Maastro. Suijker: “Cohesion is very important to us. Good and Healthy Working is on the annual agenda, there are ambassadors, there is regular exposure, the Works Council helps with steering and always receives an official report. In addition, the measurement results of the Good and Healthy Working questionnaire appear at least once a year in all individual conversations we have with managers. We then really sit down with the individual managers to see: which points come to the fore, what have you done about it and how can we help with that.”
The overarching goal is clear: sustainable employability. “Keeping people 'fit to the job' is one of the core HR strategy actions that we are continuously working on,” says Suijker. That also depends on the industry, Van der Vlis thinks: “We work with highly qualified personnel, we irradiate people with cancer. They are people who all do the work together, very motivated. We especially want a positive touch: enthusiasm, the prevention of burnout, that sort of thing. And then with a positive and personal touch.”
Strengthen and connect
“The Good and Healthy Working program is a pleasant, low-threshold way for us to connect with people and to let everyone have their say,” says Suijker. “And we think that's very important.” Van der Vlis adds: “The ultimate goal is and remains sustainable employability, people empower themselves to choose for their own ambition.”
Maastro has great plans for the future to achieve this. Suijker: “We want to focus even more on the individual, especially on a number of critical positions within the organization; what do people really need? We are going to work even more on soft competencies and culture. We have asked a lot of people, we now want to gradually return to a steady state. You have to keep working on that.”
Maastro is a radiotherapy center that connects patient care, education and effective scientific research. They do this in a socially responsible manner in collaboration with partners in radiotherapy, with groundbreaking scientific research, training and education. Maastro and their more than 300 employees work with professional enthusiasm and (com)passion for every patient.