Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust won the 2018 HSJ Award for staff engagement for its organisation-wide approach – the Leeds Way. Emma Dent reports
The organisation-wide approach – the Leeds Way – at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust sets the vision, values and goals for the entire trust and outlines the expected behaviours for all staff in the entire organisation.
No mean feat when the trust is one of the biggest and busiest acute trusts in the whole of the NHS. In 2014, the year that saw the Leeds Way be developed and launched, it had 15,000 staff.
However, it also had historically low staff engagement scores, with 18 key staff engagement scores well below the national average.
Although the organisation’s culture and long-term strategy had been designed in partnership with staff it was recognised that this had not become a real, embedded, shift in culture. This in turn was impacting on patient care and experience.
In addition, the trust was in financial deficit and about to embark on a large-scale improvement programme. Things needed to change.
The Leeds Way
The Leeds Way is based around five staff engagement workstreams; health and wellbeing, recognition and celebration, effective two-way communications and engagement – including freedom to speak up, organisational learning and leadership and employee journey.
Each workstream had its own activity programme, with each activity reflecting staff need.
“The Leeds Way is about a culture change; it has been embedded in our everyday work so that everyone in the trust has the same goals,” says Imelda Webster, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust human resources manager for engagement.
Ms Webster says that winning the HSJ Award helps gain recognition for the amount of work that went into the initiative.
The Leeds Way is based around five staff engagement workstreams… Each workstream had its own activity programme, with each activity reflecting staff need
“It was a great achievement to win, a real reward for all our hard work,” she continues.
“The Leeds Way is about work done across the entire trust and the award win is testament to that. There’s always room for improvement but this reflects everything that has been done.”
Trust staff have been involved in projects including iFactor, a campaign to share improvement ideas (in which over 2,000 staff members took part).
The trust believes this demonstrates the importance of a whole systems approach which has also developed to enable managers to act locally, including the establishment of local staff engagement and health and wellbeing groups.
Over 800 staff participated in an eight-week challenge designed to help people work together as a team to improve their well-being.
A sixth workstream has now been developed under the project, providing opportunities for trust staff to work together on activities that support the local community.
Schemes that have resulted from this workstream include over 300 staff supporting local elderly action groups in “being a Santa to a Senior” and buying Christmas presents for local elderly people.
Since 2014 the trust has gained significant improvements in staff engagement, with 22 staff engagement scores now above average.
Its overall performance has also improved markedly; it has improved its Care Quality Commission rating to ‘good’ and in 2017-18 the trust achieved its largest ever financial surplus.
Since 2014 the trust has gained significant improvements in staff engagement, with 22 staff engagement scores now above average
Andrew Preston, chief executive of GRI – the Staff Engagement award sponsor – says the Leeds Way’s demonstration of “absolute commitment to listening and extremely well thought out workstreams” gave it the winning edge.
“Staff engagement is usually the crucial factor in determining the success of patient care initiatives, as transformative measures have to be workable in busy wards and hospitals,” continues Mr Preston.
“Judging is always an inspiring experience and this particular category is an extremely welcome insight into how the people who inspire others every day are recognised themselves. It is incredibly important to recognise the people behind both the roll-out of new solutions and the everyday.”
For more information on Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust’s winning entry visit HSJ Solutions
The 2019 HSJ Awards are now open for entries. For more information on the Staff Engagement category visit https://awards.hsj.co.uk/categories