Northern Care Alliance NHS Group
To support the health and wellbeing of our NHS people during the COVID-19 pandemic and in-line with the intentions outlined in the NHS people plan and people promise, the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group has been exploring various inclusive and compassionate ways to empower our diverse NHS people to confidently discuss how they are feeling, through information conversations with their colleagues or during a confidential, wellbeing conversation with their line manager.
A task and finish group was set up to design and develop a wellbeing conversation and compassionate toolkit that aims to help support colleagues and their line managers to have more meaningful conversations about health and wellbeing.
The toolkit uses coaching techniques and tools that have been specially designed to help guide conversations and tips to encourage line managers to actively listen to responses.
The approach, supported by Health Education England and NHS England and NHS Improvement, encourages strength-based conversations and health coaching to be considered as key interventions to equip employees with additional skills, techniques and the mind-set to support and empower people toward their own wellbeing goals.
Alongside the development of the toolkit, our organisation implemented an open-door policy that aims to encourage open and honest conversation about health and wellbeing, offering employees an opportunity to speak to someone, in confidence, at any time.
Since the launch of the wellbeing conversation and compassionate toolkit, employees have anecdotally shared positive stories about their line managers using the toolkit to support them during a wellbeing conversation.
One example of this is from a colleague who approached her line manager asking to speak in confidence about her health and wellbeing. This employee had identified that she needed additional support with her mental health, due to various stressors in her home life affecting her work. Her line manager felt equipped and able to reflect on the skills and tools identified in the toolkit and used these techniques to hold a wellbeing conversation with her colleague, where they talked, in a confidential space and explored the current situation and considered support options that could be accessed.
Since this initial wellbeing conversation, the employee has felt supported at work and has been able to access further support and make changes to her life that have improved her health and wellbeing. She is continuing to have regular check-ins with her line manager and has since used the personal wellbeing plan to develop her own, personal wellbeing plan.
The next steps
Buy in from senior leaders is key to the implementation of any initiative within an organisation. Our chief executive and executive people’s group have been involved in the development of our resources and have fully supported implementation throughout.