Wellbeing Works partners with Barts Health NHS Trust
As one of the largest NHS Trusts in the UK, Barts Health NHS Trust employs over 16,000 staff and treats 2.5 million people across East London. In recent years, the trust has seen issues surrounding leadership and workplace wellbeing and it commissioned us to help tackle these concerns.
Patient wellbeing is directly correlated to the wellbeing of those who care for them. In 2012, an article by Michael West showed that patient mortality rates fall as the wellbeing of staff rises. Tackling issues around staff wellbeing is therefore an absolute imperative.
In order to do this, Wellbeing Works implemented a pilot study across 140 staff in the trust. Part of this involved conducting a course on ‘Psychological Safety’ to educate a group of managers and staff in the trust on its importance and relevance to them. The method we employ helps to improve psychological safety and generate improvements in absence levels and engagement. There are four stages to our method:
- What does it mean for you?
- ‘Thinking differently’
- Actions and behaviours
- The implementation stage
We collected evidence using Wellbeing Works’ predictive diagnostic tool, Wbi, which allows you to see the extent of any psycho-social factors that could be impacting on your employees’ psychological safety. Data is also available on the number of staff who are struggling to cope with work volume, pace, change or who have difficulty concentrating or focusing, or who do not feel valued by their manager. The tool can highlight the risk and costs of future absence or disengagement levels. At Barts Health NHS Trust the surveyed staff reported high levels of stress and burnout, low levels of autonomy and poor levels of recognition by managers of value and workload. We therefore identified significant opportunities for improving the psychological safety of staff.
We integrated this data with general data from other sources, such as staff surveys, and with this combined data we were able to show the trust the causes, source and scale of the issues.
After this, a group of managers were then trained by our team in psychological safety and we created a framework to implement changes in a planned and organised way. The framework included factors such as:
- Creating openness to change
- Providing supportive dialogue
- Equity of work distribution
- Providing valued feedback
- Creating a sense of belonging
- Recognition of accomplishment
The initial evaluation after four months following training showed that 16 staff survey scores had improved and 41 had stabilised. Qualitative reports we gained from staff were positive, with comments including ‘there is a lot more focus on resolving problems’ and ‘it’s a much better place to work’.
As we continue our work with Bart’s Health we hope to see further changes and developments that will enable the wellbeing of staff to rise and, ultimately, improve the care patients receive.