Building up a focus on workforce wellbeing

Norfolk and Waveney CCG took a phased approach to build support for and trust in workforce wellbeing offers

What we’ve done

Who we are

NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) serves a population of 1.1 million people with a healthcare budget of £1.6 billion. We have about 500 staff.

What we did

The CCG had limited health and wellbeing provision for staff. Most staff continue to work at home. We used the Health and Wellbeing Framework as part of our approach to gradually change the culture to focus more on workforce wellbeing. We:

  • undertook a needs analysis to ask staff what type of support they would value
  • created a list of all the wellbeing offers and resources available for staff
  • discussed wellbeing at every CCG staff meeting
  • placed health and wellbeing in the staff induction booklet and began a buddy system for new starters
  • brought key stakeholders together in a steering group to discuss wellbeing needs and actions
  • used the Framework’s diagnostic tool to get ideas about what to prioritise. A lead reviewed the tool and shared sections with other relevant teams to gather their views. The tool was broader than some team members expected, which highlighted how multifaceted wellbeing is. We plan to ask members of our new Health and Wellbeing Steering Group to review sections of the tool in pairs
  • found differences in staff survey results between teams so prioritised upskilling line managers to support wellbeing. We are now running training in how to have effective conversations
  • shared a shortened version of the Framework with senior leaders

What we’ve achieved so far

Focusing on health and wellbeing is leading to measurable improvements in whether people feel supported. Our needs assessment identified that only 30% of staff had regular one-to-ones where health and wellbeing was discussed. Over the past year this has doubled to about 60%.

Our staff survey results show that we are achieving above average in ‘taking positive action on wellbeing’. We think this is partly due to having a regular slot at the staff meeting where we talk about wellbeing and raise awareness of the support available.

We created a health and wellbeing steering group, with an executive sponsor. The group meets monthly to plan priorities and review progress. This is the first time that the CCG has had a group concentrating on health and wellbeing.

We have six Health and Wellbeing Champions. As our staff are working at home, a generic champion based in an office or team would not work for us. We used the Framework to help plan the Champion’s remit. Each Champion focuses on a specific element of wellbeing such as financial health, mental health or physical health. The Champions are a point of contact for individuals and teams, producing resources and signposting to support.

“We have implemented a Health and Wellbeing Steering Group which is a huge achievement for our organisation. The Framework has given us a focus and started some important conversations. You can scale using the Framework up or down to suit whether you are a huge organisation with thousands of staff or a small GP practice with a handful. The principles remain the same.” – CCG representative

What we’ve learnt so far

Take things one step at a time

It can be difficult to know what to focus on first. CCGs are small organisations. We have one organisational development lead. It worked for us to take a step-by-step approach, starting first by doing a needs assessment with staff, then looking at data from the staff survey, compiling a list of existing resources and initiatives, then bringing stakeholders together to consider top priorities.

It’s ok to start small

As there was not a history of wellbeing support, it took time to build up trust amongst staff. We set up some non-threatening initiatives, so people got used to the idea of having support available. This also helped to build evidence about benefits. We found that focusing on wellbeing helped people feel more valued. We will be monitoring to see whether this reduces absenteeism and aids retention.

Adapt how the Framework is used

It is important to adapt how the Framework is used, and the wellbeing interventions, depending on the type and size of the organisation. For example, CCGs are relatively small and most of our staff are working remotely, so initiatives like holistic therapies may be less feasible. We identified that a lack of social interaction was impacting on people’s wellbeing, so we organised a Coffee Connections initiative where people are randomly matched with another staff member to meet for 30 minutes. About 100 people take part each month, including two members of the executive team.