Health and Wellbeing Strategy – extract from colleagues at Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
Read the latest extract about Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit’s award-winning Health and Wellbeing strategy below.
At a time when the NHS is undergoing vast change, we need to ensure that our people are well, engaged and motivated in order to deliver high quality work which ultimately impacts on patient services. We have done this in two ways; by implementing a strong wellbeing offer which is data driven and links to our organisation’s strategic goals, and by developing and embedding a new agile culture across the organisation which focuses on work being an activity we do rather than a place we go. Both focusses not only link to our strategic direction as an organisation, but have involved engagement with all of our people, shaping our offers and ensuring that what we are providing is what our people want and need whilst empowering them to have autonomy over their health and wellbeing. Ultimately, our aim is for wellbeing to be a golden thread that runs through everything we do and not a one-off activity.
We know that our people are our greatest asset, so our approach is person-centred, not just looking at policies and work tasks, but looking at individual’s needs and preferences whilst balancing these against the needs of the team and the organisation. The positive wellbeing of our people is a major part of being able to achieve our strategic and corporate objectives; as part of the NHS wellbeing is our business and therefore our priority! We know that many of our people go the extra mile, that’s been highlighted over the last 2 years during the pandemic and whilst many NHS people chose to go above and beyond, we need to make sure that all the support is there for these individuals to look after themselves and each other too.
What did we do:
- We engaged with staff – temp checks and reporting back in a ‘you said, we did’ style so that people can see they have a voice that is heard
- We utilised workforce data, looking at where the pinch points were and put measures in place to address this
- We implemented many wellbeing offerings and interventions for our people that we frame under three main headings of physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing and financial wellbeing. Some of these include:
- Let’s talk champions – a network of trained mental health first aiders
- Health and Wellbeing champions
- Dedicated space on our intranet for sharing resources to support physical, mental and financial wellbeing
- Resources to aid managers with managing remote teams
- Procurement of one occupational health provider for the organisation with clear pathways for manager referrals and an Employee Assistance Programme for all of our people to utilise
- Virtual Coffee Club to bring a social element to work and provide interactions for those feeling isolated
- Bite-sized videos on resilience
- Promotion of fitness campaigns/platforms in staff updates and via our champions
- Wellbeing Wednesday sessions to support a break from work and highlight important issues such as good back care through chair yoga and desk exercises. Our corporate sessions are accessible to all of our people and the focus of these sessions is linked to national campaigns or workforce data.
- Liaised with a variety of third party stakeholders to ensure that our offerings are fit for purpose. For example, our corporate Wellbeing Wednesday sessions are led by a mixture of our health and wellbeing champions and external hosts including:
TP Health (occupational health specialists)
#DoingOurBit (an NHS fitness platform)
- Health and Wellbeing check in’s being embedded into our 1:1 and appraisal documents providing opportunity to disclose and discuss challenges or issues
- Staff blogs promoting a range of wellbeing activities
- A range of community channels through Microsoft Teams to keep people connected
- Dedicated branding for our Health and Wellbeing offer so that our people can recognise the offers at a glance.
When we first started to embed our health and wellbeing offer and initiatives, the staff survey results went up 15.5% in terms of ‘does your organisation take positive action on health and wellbeing?’ (2019-2020); clearly showing that our ‘you said, we did’ approach to employee engagement, listening and then acting, was positively received, and we were making huge gains with our people’s wellbeing offering. Our latest staff survey (20-21) results also show positive gains with:
- 76% of respondents feeling that positive action is being taken in relation to health and wellbeing
- 77% agreeing that MLCSU is committed to helping its people balance their work and home life
- 87% of respondents feeling able to approach their line managers to openly talk about flexible working.
- In order to get such positive results during a time of a global pandemic, we took a top down approach with our wellbeing strategy, including regular messages from board members, both in video clips and written blogs, affirming with examples from their own lives how they prioritise their wellbeing at work.
Coupled with this, our health and wellbeing champions are key to helping to integrate and embed health and wellbeing into the daily routine of all our people. Our network of 14 health and wellbeing champions play a key role in enabling us to achieve our people centred approach by further spreading and embedding our corporate initiatives as they connect with colleagues at a local level. They also publish blogs on our intranet site and input into our health and wellbeing newsletter, sharing information and encouragement. Our champions are dedicated individuals who share MLCSU’s people centred vision of wellbeing being a top priority.
Feedback and staff engagement have also been key in shaping our health and wellbeing offer. By engaging and working with our people, we have been able to see where the pinch points are and address these directly. For example, we utilised our workforce data that showed sickness linked to mental health related conditions was quite high. We also listened to staff who were suggesting having trained mental health first aiders in the workplace. As a result, we focused our energies on supporting mental health in the workplace and we recruited and trained a cohort of ‘Let’s Talk Champions’ who are mental health first aiders who have undergone a programme of training through Mental Health First Aid England.
In turn, in our latest NHS Staff Survey, we saw a decrease of people reporting that they felt unwell as a result of work-related stress sometime in the previous 12 months and 92% said that they did not feel pressure to come to work from their manager if unwell. Back in March 2021 ‘% days lost due stress/anxiety/depression’ was 46.88% and after developing and embedding our Health and wellbeing initiatives, this has decreased with our latest figures (June 2022) at 38.51%.
Whilst we don’t have a dedicated health and wellbeing team, we have had some very passionate people working hard to ensure that we offer our people the right support at the right time. This has involved people going above and beyond to ensure that our CSU people are our top priority.
Lyn Tallentire, Deputy Director Finance | Finance