Earlier this month our Head of People, Una Nicholson spoke as part of the – Those who dare: thinking differently about the health and care workforce conference held by The Kings Fund.
‘I was absolutely delighted to take part in a fascinating conversation about supportive and positive working environments and cultures with and for the people who deliver care across the UK. It was great to meet Catherine and Kerry and to hear about their ground breaking work. Thank you to The Kings Fund for this opportunity’
24 speakers contributed to the conference where they showcased projects and case studies aimed at encouraging others to explore innovative and positively disruptive approaches to meeting challenges facing the health and social care workforce. Including discussions about recruitment, retention, wellbeing, and equity, diversity and inclusion.
During Una’s session as part of the ‘workforce health and wellbeing and developing cultures that meet the core needs of staff’ she shared her learning on:
• How we have developed an ‘everyone’ culture – where everyone can belong, thrive and contribute to creating exceptional care.
• How we focus on wellbeing, embedding it into every aspect of working life.
• The impact of this approach and how any health and care organisation can develop positive working environments.
Those who dare – think differently
Everyone culture is about bringing our humanity and care to the work we do together, it’s very simple but it’s not easy – but it’s definitely worth it.
It takes courage, support, dedication and a few good tools.
Belonging – we want everyone to feel safe, to bring their whole selves, to be who they are at work.
We want everyone to be thriving. Meaning we want everybody to be learning, to have a plan, to be able to challenge, to be able to give and receive feedback. To feel they are able to say out loud when something doesn’t feel right. We want everybody to have the opportunity to do work that is really meaningful and purposeful to them.
It sounds simple but it’s challenging, especially whilst operating at this time providing care to people. It takes courage to bring your whole self to work and it takes courage and resilience to learn.
What do we do to support wholeness?
- At the start of each meeting we check in. We bring who we are to the work that we do. People share what’s going on for them – perhaps what’s distracting them. Knowing that we are present for each other means that we can challenge each other better and make more efficient, cleaner decisions.
- Wholeness and wellness work are interlinked. As part of that we have staff led wellness programmes which organises all of our wellness work. For example, we have personal wellness budgets and we provide two lunches a week.
This gives the basis for learning:
- We have learning programmes that are person centred so that everyone has a programme for their own development.
- Our leaders learn in public and they too share their whole selves.
We check in day to day but also throughout the year and ask ourselves really important questions –
Are we doing what really matters? Are we paying attention to what really matters?
One of the ways we do this is by flexible working. As an organisation we place value on what matters to people in the whole of their life – not just whilst they are at work but their lives outside of it as well.
80% work flexible hours in some way
70% work compressed hours
1/2 work part time
And even for those that are full-time there is room for flexibility.
Really putting value in the whole of ourselves and our ability to learn together means we can really serve people with care.
It is challenging – but it is possible.
Too big? Start where you are.
Too difficult? There is no better time to start than now, to be vulnerable and share your feelings. Maybe start with – ‘This feels really hard…’
‘Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust, it precedes it. Leaping into the unknown, when done alongside others causes the solid ground of trust to materialised beneath our feet. The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.’ ~ Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code
There is nothing like being held when we make a mistake or being met when you are unsure.
From what we’ve seen in recruitment this way of working speaks to what a lot of people, especially younger people, are looking for: purposeful work and authentic leadership.
Everyone culture is about showing up, telling the truth, asking for help. It’s about using the time you’ve got with a little more courage.
To learn more about our everyone culture, read Una’s case study on exceptional care for our MSK service: Case study: Exceptional care, for everyone – Here (hereweare.org.uk)
Or Lead Non Executive Director, Rich Taunt’s blog: The Purpose of Purpose.
Una Nicholson, Head of People at Here
My role is to support and cultivate a culture where everyone can belong, thrive and do purposeful work where cultures of care extend from our living rooms, to the staff room and the consulting room.
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