Published: 24/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5947 Page 36

Trusts up and down the country are working towards Practice Plus level in the Improving Working Lives standard. King's Lynn and Wisbech Hospitals trust is the first in the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire strategic health authority area to achieve the standard, and one of the first in the country. The trust's human resources director, Amanda Lyes, has some tips for a successful award Engage with unions and staff at the earliest opportunity From the outset, the trust board decided to involve as many staff as possible. This decision is paying huge dividends in the implementation of Agenda for Change and in moving forward other modernisation activities.

Create a motivated steering board We had a lead director and non-executive director who were passionate about driving change through the organisation, not just turning up to meetings!

Involve staff from across the hospital and from different roles

In November 2003, 30 staff from across all disciplines became Improving Working Lives advisors' and they mapped out focus groups and areas of development.

Have special days for all staff

One example of this was a 'take a breather' day, where activities were laid on to allow people to relax. These included a themed buffet, stress-relieving massages and smoking-cessation help.

The event was so successful that a second is now planned to celebrate the award of Practice Plus. Another event was held just before assessment, over lunchtime, with a picnic given to all 50 people who attended, with the specific aim of highlighting areas that could be improved.

Promote Improving Working Lives at every opportunity

We generated a series of posters along the lines of 'What has Improving Working Lives given to you?' which listed all the available staff benefits. Also, new policies and equipment were marked with 'Another Improving Working Lives Initiative' branding.

Believe in what you are doing

If the senior management get involved and believe that the changes will make a difference to people, they will!

Have regular progress meetings

We held lots of feedback meetings where all the different working parties could report back. These were infectious and motivated the others. They were open to all staff, not just those involved with Improving Working Lives.