There are many reasons for us to be cheerful here at MMU, not least just being part of good practice in action. As its ceremony season, in reverse order 3 reasons, and examples of OD in action that I believe link nicely and highlight this include:
Reason 3; Being at the number one spot in the People and Planet League table 2013. More cause for cheerfulness came in June 2013, with MMU hitting number 1 in the People and Planet League Table 2013 of 140 universities, after rising spectacularly from 91st when the annual tables were first produced in 2007. The annual survey audits systems, performance and attitudes to green living, with MMU scoring 59.5 out of 70.
All university buildings are strictly monitored by an energy rating scheme, while the University’s new £75million Business School and Student Hub incorporates many new green technologies including rainwater recycling, borehole cooling and heating, and the new Birley Fields campus will be zero-rated in waste, water and heating.
Vice-Chancellor Professor John Brooks said, “Sustainability has been the main driver for the £350 million rationalisation of our campuses as we can and must meet the imperatives of the present without compromising the needs of the future”
At MMU, we firmly believe that a strong ethos of sustainability not only strengthens the University’s appeal to students but improves the experience in so many different ways.”
Reason 2; In July 2013 we celebrated ‘Topping Out’ which is roughly the half-way point in the £139m campus development project Birley Fields. Completion of the Birley Fields project will be MMU’s final step in our 7 into 2 campuses plan and £350 million capital Investment project. The site will house the Faculties of Education and Health, Psychology and Social Care, an Energy Centre, Car Park and 1,200 student rooms arranged in Eco-Townhouses.
Reason 1; MMU being recognised as an Investors in People (IiP) Champion.
In May 2012 MMU was recognised as having achieved Gold standard in an independent review against the new choices IiP Framework. We are the largest of only five UK Universities to have achieved ‘Gold’ level recognition and the recognition benchmarks MMU in the top 1.5% of organisations in the country.
This was closely followed in September 2012 with our recognition as an IiP Champion. Champion status relates directly to the IiP assessment. Champions are selected from those organisations that achieve Gold recognition with 165 or more criteria met. In terms of involvement, IiP Champions are a prestigious group of role model organisations, in order to be accepted as a Champion we submitted an action plan detailing the steps we would take that promote the IiP framework and its benefits through best practice activities. By achieving Champion status, MMU is committed to sharing and also learning from its experience, encouraging good practice across the region, supporting continuous improvement and development of the IiP standard.
As an organisation, we have been grappling with negative perceptions amongst staff as we have a legacy of it not having been regarded by all as a place to be cheerful. The Vice-Chancellor has in the past mused on whether this is the ‘Manchester effect’ – where because of the constant rain Mancunians tend to be more negative!
So reasons to be cheerful, yes, yes and yes. Through these and a range of OD interventions spanning the University, here at MMU we are now realising positive change across the organisation. IIP Gold and Champion status has been the catalyst for cultural change. Significantly, we have seen improvements to the extent to which people identify with the University and their pride in working here.
Working with Investors in People and especially the wider framework, you are getting to the very heart of your organisation and gaining objective feedback. It is an invaluable opportunity to make a difference to your people, your customers and your stakeholders – providing a fantastic means of developing and embedding a culture of continuous improvement.
In fulfilling our commitment to being an IiP champion organisation, if you would like to discuss any of the good practice activities shared and particularly reap the benefits, as we have done, of assessment against the IiP standard, please contact me.