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Increasing staff engagement through a credible, structured approach to team working

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – 2012

Embedding team working across a large and dispersed Trust takes focus, persistence and good judgement. Step forward a small OD team with big ideas and a credible, structured approach.


Why Team Based Working?
When Head of OD, Alex Brett, came into post at South Staffs, she wanted to use the concepts of Team Based Working (TBW) as an OD tool for bespoke interventions. Having used the approach in previous roles, she knew it was a vital component of any improvement or development programme.

Since then, TBW has become one of the Trust’s top three organisational development strategic priorities. Practitioners weave the principles of TBW into all training and development programmes and ensure alignment of other key improvement initiatives such as ‘Productive Ward’ and more. Wherever the Trust is working with teams, through whatever route, they use the concept of TBW as the focus for what they do.

If you can’t run a full programme, run a taster instead
The Trust’s small OD team delivers team leader training and bespoke work with team leaders and with whole teams. Productive Ward leads are also trained to use TBW tools and have been through the Team Coach programme. Everyone on the learning and development team who is designing programmes and delivering leadership programmes is trained to use the tools.

“We target people that are new into post or need particular development – they may not get the whole programme but they will get a good taster, often in bite-sized sessions,” says Alex Brett. “Over 100 teams have now completed the Affina Real Team Profile Plus (ARTP+), almost half the total number of teams in the Trust.”

The vast majority of team leaders who use the ARTP+ go on to lead their teams through a development journey with very little need for support from the OD team, who only get called in where there are particular complexities or issues.

Increasing engagement, improving morale, impacting patient care
Perhaps it’s not surprising that in one of the best performing Trusts in the country, team leader programmes are over-subscribed.

“We have people chomping to get on our programmes and managers have seen a change in those team leaders who have attended,” explains Alex Brett. “We’ve had huge success in the divisions and directorates, with team leaders and with managers. When the team is clearer about what they are doing and where they are going, we see an impact on patient care but equally on staff morale, how they are feeling about working in the Trust.”

As they look to the future TBW continues to sit at the heart of organisational development at South Staffs – an integral part of measures to improve staff engagement.

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