In 2016, a team supporting transformation programmes in healthcare across Greater Manchester was re-established as the NHS Transformation Unit (TU), offering services to health and social care commissioners across the whole health service.
Naturally, the business grew rapidly as its remit expanded, and following such fast-paced expansion, the TU launched an initiative in 2017 to put employee wellbeing at the forefront of all its decisions.
This process began with tailored workshops and one-to-ones with the unit’s 57 employees to identify its needs. It was discovered that some employees felt undervalued, while others felt they were working above their role, and that a “sense of team” was missing for some workers.
To solve these issues, the TU implemented changes across the board, from working hours to team building to personal development.
A platform was introduced to more effectively measure capacity, allowing employees flexibility around their working hours without putting others under pressure.
Better teambuilding was encouraged through annual development weeks, which involved trips to expand employee’s learning as providing opportunities to bond socially. Dedicated slots were added to meetings to celebrate individual achievements, and talent academy was established, offering employees placements where they could gain experience and take the next step in their careers.
Individual wellbeing was also central to the initiative: all employees now take a ‘predictive index’ assessment to encourage awareness of individual needs and tendencies; a number of mental health first aiders were trained, and an atmosphere of openness about mental health is actively encouraged.
A sports society was also created following a workshop about physical health and lifestyle, which arranges activities such as rounders matches and sports days.
The impact of these initiatives was quickly visible: NHS Transformation Unit placed 10th in the Sunday Times’ 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work for 2019. Sickness absence dropped significantly below the public sector average, and employees fed back that they felt valued and cared for.
The TU is now working on a three-year plan to fully embed these initiatives in all areas of business strategy.