Using diagnostic tool helps plan wellbeing strategy

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust used a diagnostic tool to widen conversations around workforce wellbeing and decide what to prioritise

What we’ve done

Who we are

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust provides hospital and adult community services in the heart of the Black Country, West Midlands. We serve around 450,000 people from three hospital sites, more than 40 community-based centres and in people’s homes. We have over 5,000 staff. Volunteers are also an integral part of the Trust.

What we did

We used the Health and Wellbeing Framework’s diagnostic tool and accompanying documents to engage with teams across the organisation and identify how we could strengthen workforce wellbeing. We have one wellbeing lead and no ringfenced funding for initiatives, so we needed a realistic approach.

The wellbeing lead completed the diagnostic tool and asked stakeholders in other departments to review the sections relevant to them, including teams from Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; Human Resources; and Occupational Development.

We sent these teams a copy of the full diagnostic tool and asked them to complete specific questions. We felt it was important that they see the overall tool rather than just their sections, so they got a sense of the scale of what wellbeing covers and how everything is interlinked.

We allowed 4-6 weeks, and this was plenty of time for teams to review their sections.

What we’ve achieved so far

Using the diagnostic tool:

  • is helping to inform our Wellbeing Strategy. We are planning ways to address each of the seven pillars in the diagnostic tool. For example, one of the pillars focuses on leadership so we are prioritising building leadership capacity and engagement
  • showed that we could make progress quickly, which is motivating. We first completed the tool in September 2021 and then reviewed it again in January 2022. We had made progress in just one quarter
  • encouraged us to get our basics right, such as signposting staff to available resources and letting people know who the wellbeing lead is. After we put the basics in place, we can move on to other areas
  • emphasised that wellbeing covers many remits. The diagnostic tool can help to influence those wider areas and show crossovers, so we work less in silos

“The diagnostic tool covers health and wellbeing in a holistic way. This is a step in the right direction though it can seem a huge hill to climb. Our advice is to take things step-by-step and not get disheartened if you identify gaps. Trusts are not all starting from the same place. Many have limited staff time and resources to support wellbeing. Use the tool to help you decide what to focus on first – and celebrate any small things you are able to achieve. The tool can help you see that you are progressing and provide evidence to show leaders that there are gaps to fill.” – Trust representative

What we’ve learnt so far

We learnt that the diagnostic tool can be a quick practical aid

You do not need to take three months to complete the tool in depth, trying to find information about every detail. We used it as a ‘quick and dirty’ way of pointing us in the direction of things we could get on with to make a difference.

The diagnostic tool covers a lot of areas

It is not necessarily feasible to do all the things listed to become ‘exceptional’. It is important not to feel disheartened. The tool is subjective and each organisation is starting from a different place, so you don’t need to compare yourselves with others. We used the tool to track our progress and found that we were making improvements, even in the space of a few months. Compare with yourself, not others. We focused on doing what was realistic for us in the context of our resources, structure and time.

Networking with other organisations locally or nationally can help wellbeing leads feel less alone

We met regularly with other Trusts in our Integrated Care System to discuss what each organisation was doing and learn from each other. There are some things that are better done at broader level than in individual trusts. Meeting with others can provide a clearer sense of what to focus on locally and where there are economies of scale from working together.