Chief's Blog

NI Fire & Rescue Service

The Power of Three Simple Words

The Power of Three Simple Words

Category: Employee Engagement    Date: 20th January 2017       

‘How are you?’ Three simple words but they made a big impact. It was my first week in a new summer job – everything was new, nothing was familiar and every day brought new challenges. During those first faltering days when I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing, my boss called into the office and I watched as he made his way around the room, chatting to everyone.

I may have been doing a mundane task but the fact that my boss had taken the time to say hello, ask me how I was and chat made a huge difference to how I felt about my work.  It didn’t change the work but it changed my attitude and commitment to it and I learnt a lesson I’d never forget.

Fast forward 20 plus years and I’m convinced more than ever that if you want employees to be engaged, they need to feel that they matter, that they contribute and that they are valued.

I began my career as a Retained Firefighter 22 years ago and having come through the ranks I am very aware that our people really are our strongest asset.  We employ some of the most dedicated, loyal and highly skilled people around but in order to reach your full potential you need to be engaged.

That is why my primary focus over the next couple of months is about getting out and about and meeting with employees, at all levels, across the organisation.

I want to share my vision for the organisation but more importantly I want to listen to your feedback, get your insights and have real conversations.  You hold a wealth of knowledge and you are critical in shaping the next chapter for our organisation.

I want to provide a forum where people can share with me their views on how we can create a world class, modern day Fire & Rescue Service.  What does this really mean and what does it look like?  Where do you see us in 5 years’ time?  What values are important to us?  What more can we do to protect those most at risk in our community?  How can we do more with less money and how can we ensure we are providing value for money?

Despite the rocky political start to 2017 I’m feeling extremely positive about the year ahead.  I want this to be the year that we really take the time to talk, listen and learn from each other.  Never underestimate the power of those three simple words – ‘how are you?’

As always, I welcome your views and feedback so please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Best wishes,


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