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Self-managing teams, with Helen Sanderson MBE
Episode 423rd February 2023 • The Happy Manifesto • Henry Stewart, Maureen Egbe
00:00:00 00:32:37

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Wholeness, self-management and evolutionary purpose are three core principles that changed Helen Sanderson’s view on teams.

Helen Sanderson’s MBE is the founder of Wellbeing Teams, an organisation providing care and support at home. As a self-governing team, they are able to create greater trust and autonomy for employees. But this wasn’t a framework that can just be dropped in:

I thought it was like adding a new app on your phone, but it wasn't; it was transforming the operating system.

Helen’s three tips for happy workplaces

  • Increase autonomy and social support.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about feelings at work.
  • Be clear about how we want to show up.

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Transcripts

Henry:

Welcome to the Happy Manifesto podcast.

Henry:

I'm Henry Stewart

Maureen:

I am Maureen Egbe.

Henry:

And today we have Helen Sanderson on the podcast from Wellbeing Teams, who is, uh, one of our most exciting people.

Henry:

Maureen.

Henry:

What are you finding joyful at the.

Maureen:

think for this week it's about people showing up despite what's going on for them.

Maureen:

And the reason why I say this is that, so as you may know, I am an athletics coach, so my athletes training turning up for training, even though it's cold as it is, my apprentice.

Maureen:

On, um, our program who show up despite what's going on for them in the week, and my friends.

Maureen:

So, um, when I need them, they're

Maureen:

there.

Maureen:

I know, is great.

Maureen:

So this encourages me to show up even more for them and more for everybody that I interact with.

Henry:

Well, the, what's exciting for me is tomorrow my granddaughter.

Henry:

It's coming to visit and she's in Sweden, in Malmo.

Henry:

Um, so I don't, we don't that often get to see her, but she's coming for the weekend and that's gonna be fabulous cuz she just, she gets two years old and she's an absolute delight.

Maureen:

Oh, bless.

Maureen:

So she's gonna get lots of cuddles from you,

Henry:

Absolutely.

Henry:

Yes.

Maureen:

So tell me, Henry, gimme a tip.

Maureen:

What's your tip this week?

Henry:

we're doing salaries at the moment, and my tip is that you should choose the CEO's salary.

Henry:

So what I, what I'm doing and I did it last year, is I'm going to, uh, circulate throughout the staff, uh, what I have done well this year.

Henry:

And I'm going to get them to decide what the increase should be for my salary

Maureen:

okay.

Maureen:

I better get my thinking cap on

Henry:

Which is very different to what you'd normally do with the CEO salary and, you have these people getting these enormous salaries because they're just chosen by, salary committees rather than by the people.

Maureen:

that's very powerful.

Maureen:

That's powerful for the team.

Maureen:

So my tip is, well, you know, I'm quite a feely, feely person, so how many times in the day would you say that someone would ask you how do you feel and really mean it?

Henry:

Oh, if they really mean it, I'm not, they often ask you how you feel, whether they mean it.

Henry:

I don't know.

Maureen:

And that's exactly it.

Maureen:

It's like, you know, us, in the UK we are very polite, so usually it's a term of politeness.

Maureen:

So my tip is every day take at least five minutes to talk to someone and ask them how they feel and check in with them to see what's going on and really, really mean it, because that's one way of actually building trust and making connections with your people.

Henry:

Okay.

Henry:

So genuinely how they feel and,

Maureen:

And actually listen to them.

Maureen:

Yes,

Henry:

Good one.

Maureen:

simple but really effective, really powerful.

Henry:

So a big welcome to Helen Sanderson of Wellbeing Teams, a self-managing organization that managed to achieve outstanding in CQC for its work caring with, uh, the community.

Henry:

So, Helen, how did you manage to get that?

Helen:

Um, I think blood, sweat and tears is the obvious answer to that.

Helen:

But I was determined to see whether we could demonstrate a new way of working in home care, both by putting into practice all the person-centered practices that myself and my team have been training people in for a couple of decades.

Helen:

And to see if we could do it as a self-managing team.

Helen:

And that means working without bosses, um, and people organizing themselves differently.

Helen:

So, of course, this was completely new to CQC at that time.

Helen:

And I don't think that, I think we were the first in adult social care to be inspected by them.

Helen:

So new for CQC, scary for me.

Maureen:

Yeah, that sounds awesome.

Henry:

so self-managing teams, how do you get 'em to work?

Helen:

my first experience of trying to get self mentoring teams to work was after a friend of mine recommended a book by Frederic Laloux called Reinventing Organizations.

Helen:

Massively inspiring.

Helen:

If I was going to list five books that changed my life, that would be one of them.

Helen:

But when I read it, Henry, I was just a tiny bit smirk.

Helen:

So if there are three elements of, uh, of what Friederike describes as teal, Self-management is one of them, focus on purpose is another, and bringing your whole self to work.

Helen:

Well, we've done lots of work around one page profiles, bringing your whole self to work, so that felt pretty standard stuff

Henry:

te, tell us about that one page

Helen:

One page profiles.

Helen:

Okay, one page profile is what it does on the tin.

Helen:

It's a one page summary of who you are.

Helen:

And it has three headings, what people like and appreciate about you, what people like and admire or value about you, your characteristics, what matters to you and what does good support looks like?

Helen:

How do you bring your best self to work?

Helen:

How do you want to be supported by others in the workplace or at home?

Helen:

So those three sections.

Helen:

So we'd done lots and lots of work around that.

Helen:

So I thought, well, self-management, we've, we've watched, um, Sinek's video on why, so we knew a bit about purpose and why.

Helen:

Um, so I thought self-management, how hard can that be?

Helen:

Very hard is the answer.

Helen:

Very hard.

Helen:

It was like, I thought it was like adding a new app, um, on your phone, but it wasn't, it was transforming the operating system.

Helen:

So for three years I stepped back as the CEO of Home Associates on my, myself, and my team grappled with this new way of working without a boss.

Helen:

We learned holocracy, which is one of the kind of technologies for self-management.

Helen:

It gives you lots of ways of working.

Helen:

So we, we grappled with that.

Helen:

So I learned through experience myself the first, um, time round.

Helen:

And then, um, I was approaching my 50th birthday and my dad really sadly, died when he was 53.

Helen:

And I said to bother to myself, well, if I only had three years left, like dad would I want to carry on doing what I was doing?

Helen:

And I thought, what would be the boldest thing I could do?

Helen:

And the boldest thing I could do at that stage was could I put everything that we've learned about self-management and about person-centered practices into practice in a new organization?

Helen:

And could we do it in home care?

Helen:

And that's how we got started.

Helen:

So lots of learning about, self-management from holocracy, from our own experience.

Helen:

However, it was completely different to do it with teams of ho in home care.

Helen:

So, I think the first year we rewrote the handbook of how to do self-management six times because our learning was so steep.

Maureen:

So what would you say would be a pitfall to look out for and what you would do differently?

Helen:

That's a great question.

Helen:

I think there's, there's a big difference between doing what we did, which is start an organization from scratch and organizations that we know of now that are moving in the direction of self-management.

Helen:

So if you're moving in this direction of self manage, Never use the term self-management would be my first piece of advice.

Helen:

Because if you are a manager in an organization and you get the communication that says, we are moving towards self-management, you will naturally think, therefore there will not be a role for me.

Helen:

Um, and you'll either start looking for another job if you think this is really, really serious in the organization, or some people might be, um, less constructive in their, their responses, um, to that.

Helen:

So I think as soon as we use the term self-management, a, people don't understand it.

Helen:

Um, and it might make them fearful that there isn't a role for them.

Helen:

Um, so I, I talk about how can we have greater trust and autonomy in teams, and what can we do to move in that direction.

Helen:

Because I see it more of a, as a continuum of how can every team can do things that build greater autonomy, greater trust within the team that actually is in the direction of self-management, but we don't need to have the conversations about what is self-management and what does it mean for your role.

Henry:

So can you give an example of what worked well in a self-managing team that wouldn't have worked if you had management?

Helen:

So before, um, I joined you this afternoon for the podcast, I was working with a national charity and one of the things that we are doing is supporting them to roll out something called confirmation practices.

Helen:

Now, confirmation practices were developed by, um, my friend and colleague, Andy Brogan, who's a brilliant family who supported us in Wellbeing Teams right at the beginning.

Helen:

And we are looking at this provider organization to move from traditional super.

Helen:

To support supervision, including confirmation practices, but the massive difference.

Helen:

So Maureen say it was you and I, so, um, traditional supervision might mean you might come, you might have a couple of questions, you might have a couple of things you want to talk about, but often it's about, um, what's your annual leave looking like?

Helen:

Um, what's your sickness record like, you know, sharing some information with you.

Helen:

And when people talk about performance improvement, I don't know anybody.

Helen:

who has, can ever tell me that their performance has been improved by these kind of conversations.

Helen:

But if, if we were using confirmation practices, we'd have a set of say, seven statements that are about your role.

Helen:

So it might be, I'm confident that, um, I'm supporting the organization to grow through my marketing, something like that.

Helen:

And you would give yourself a rating between one and.

Helen:

and then I coach you to look at which of the statements you gave yourself the lowest rating for, or what you want to focus on.

Helen:

And I'd coach you then to come up with your solutions about how you can improve.

Helen:

So that might be going from two to three or from three to four, but it's a coaching role as opposed to me giving you advice about how to improve.

Helen:

The other massive difference is you are reviewing your performance, um, rather than the manager saying, this is how I think you're doing.

Helen:

Not that there's never, and obviously getting feedback is really important, but that's a massive shift from how am I doing in my roles and where do I want to improve versus my manager telling me how they want to see me improve or just sharing information.

Maureen:

I love that.

Maureen:

I'm actually feeling more empowered as you talk about that.

Maureen:

Awesome.

Maureen:

Henry.

Henry:

So what would make a good complimentary practice and what would make a bad one?

Helen:

So there are confirmation practices around roles.

Helen:

So what are the roles that, that I occupy in my work?

Helen:

Um, and.

Helen:

what does good look like for each of those roles and what would I be doing in those roles?

Helen:

And then I can rate myself.

Helen:

We also use confirmation practices around something called team agreements, which is how do we want to show up together.

Helen:

So one of our team agreements in my team is we choose courage over comfort.

Helen:

We do what we believe is right, not necessarily what we believe is easy.

Helen:

So I would then rate myself on a scale of one to five about how well I thought I was doing in that and how I might want to improve.

Helen:

So a good confirmation practice statement is really clear.

Helen:

So it would mean the same to Maureen as it would to you, Henry, as it would to me.

Helen:

It's a bit like goal setting, giving really, really clear and precise.

Helen:

They usually start with, I'm confident that, so there's, um, an element of it that's subjective as well as an element of it that has got some metrics attached to it too, um, and it relates to very specific parts of your role.

Helen:

So specific clear starts with, I'm confident, um, is likely to have metrics attached to it.

Helen:

So one of my roles would've been as a storyteller in Wellbeing Teams.

Helen:

And if I'm doing my job really well as a storyteller, you'll see me showing up on LinkedIn.

Helen:

You'll see me doing weekly post.

Helen:

You'd see me, um, meeting retweeting and doing tweets about what I'm learning.

Helen:

You'd see me responding to.

Helen:

Um, that are made, um, on, on LinkedIn about my work.

Helen:

So when I'm doing it really well, that's what I'm doing.

Helen:

When I'm not doing well at all, I haven't been on LinkedIn for two weeks and that's, then I give myself a one, and if I'm doing all those things, I'm more like to give myself a four or a five.

Henry:

And what would be the complimentary practice in that case?

Helen:

Um, I am confident that I am sharing, learning about wellbeing teams with people who are interested on social media.

Henry:

Okay.

Henry:

So I've been doing this with some people at Happy, um, and one of them, they're, they're confirmative practices is things are joyful, and I'm on top of stuff.

Henry:

Is, is

Helen:

Lovely.

Helen:

That's that's great.

Helen:

So I think, um, if Andy was here, he would be encouraging us to write, confirmation statements about only the things that we can control it in our role.

Helen:

So, um, if that, that person can control whether they're joyful or not, and there's a whole thing that you and I both know about Henry, about choosing your attitude, then, then that's, that's perfect, isn't it, um, for that.

Helen:

So I, I choose my attitude.

Helen:

My attitude is joyful, and, um, whatever the rest of that statement was, sounded brilliant too.

Maureen:

That sounds so awesome.

Maureen:

So, there was something that you said earlier that I really loved about bringing your whole self to work.

Maureen:

How do I bring my whole self to work?

Helen:

Well, um, used to introduce one page profiles and I de described them, you know, in health and social care, and I remember about 10 years ago I was introducing them in the hospice, and the nurse said to me that we were working with, she said, 10 years ago, I, I couldn't even tell people what my first name was.

Helen:

That would've been seen as unprofessional, let alone talking about bringing your whole self to work and talking about your grandchildren, your love of gardening, et cetera, et cetera.

Helen:

But bringing your whole self to work.

Helen:

I think it's acknowledging that we are humans first.

Helen:

We are, we are people first, and the more that we know about each other as individuals, the easier it'll be for us to develop trusting relat.

Helen:

And have empathy for each other.

Helen:

So for me, you know, the fact that, that, that I love gardening, that I'm a mother of three daughters, that I'm learning to play the ukulele.

Helen:

Um, that I'm not very good at it, that I'm terrified tonight cuz we're doing open mic for the first time.

Helen:

Um, that I collect books that I know I have no chance of reading in my lifetime.

Helen:

And actually there's, there's a name for that as well.

Helen:

So I wrote about two, three books

Henry:

Is there a name for that?

Helen:

is, and I dunno what it is.

Helen:

I'm sure your listeners might know, but you can Google what's the, what's the name for buying more books than you can possibly read.

Helen:

And it's a thing

Henry:

books.

Maureen:

I think.

Maureen:

it's called Maureen Egbe because that is just me.

Helen:

But also I don't like hints.

Helen:

I like people to ask me directly for what they want rather than me trying to second guess them.

Helen:

You know that I thrive in an environment where there's high trust and I can rely on people giving me feedback and asking for feedback.

Helen:

So in my one-page profile, it would share those kinds of things.

Helen:

So Maureen, if you and I had worked together for six, You would probably have a good guess at about 50 or 60% of that.

Helen:

If we've hung out at bars and drank together, you'd probably be a good guess at 70 or 80% of it.

Helen:

But if you join my team and I gave you my one page profile, you would instantly know so much more about me.

Helen:

And it gives us coat hangers for conversations.

Helen:

So you might say, I loathe and detest gardening, Helen, but tell me about it.

Helen:

Or, I've got a greenhouse and you'll find me every weekend in the greenhouse.

Helen:

What are you growing?

Helen:

So it enables us to have a quick start of conversations and build trust together.

Helen:

And of course, if we're using it with patients, if we work in the nh.

Helen:

Or if we're using it with people we support, if we use an adult social care, we shift a power balance from It's all right for me to ask you lots of questions about you, but you are not allowed to know anything about me.

Henry:

So you do with patients and with staff.

Helen:

Yes.

Helen:

So it's Right.

Helen:

So in, in, I think being person-centered, being human with each other means that as colleagues, we know about each other, but if we are serving people in health or social care, knowing what matters to each other, I think really matters.

Maureen:

I remember from our, our conference cuz our Happy Conference, she spoke there and it was absolutely fabulous.

Maureen:

And you talked about, um, the one page profile as a way to help with recruitment.

Helen:

Yes.

Helen:

Brilliant.

Helen:

So we use them right at the beginning of our colleagues' journey with us.

Helen:

So rather than people sending us a CV, we ask them to send us a one page profile and we give them instructions for filling it out and a template with the headings.

Helen:

But if I'm on the recruitment team and say four other people, she would include somebody who either uses services or a carer, we send them our one page profiles.

Helen:

So when you meet me, you already know some stuff about me.

Helen:

And that again, changes the power balance of who is this person who will determine whether I come and work in this organization?

Helen:

Well, it's, it's Helen.

Helen:

She's mad about gardening and she's got three daughters, et cetera.

Helen:

And I think that makes it a more welcoming, compassionate place to then have conversations.

Helen:

About employment and I think great recruitment, values-based recruitment is a question of fit.

Helen:

Are you a good fit for us and are we a good fit for you?

Helen:

And, and that's the conversation that we need to have.

Henry:

But is there danger there that you might just, uh, We recruit somebody cuz you, cuz they were a gardener and you were a gardener?

Henry:

Uh,

Helen:

Well, luckily I don't get the final say on who gets recruited, so, so it's a panel of five of us.

Helen:

Um, that will be making, uh, that decision and they'd be very quick to spot if I was expressing a bias that way.

Helen:

And obviously in sort of safe recruitment and, uh, recruitment around equality, we have lots of checks and balances to make sure that one person's, um, preference for somebody, um, is, isn't based on from something like that.

Henry:

I love the idea that you actually share your one-page pair of FAST with the interviewees.

Helen:

I, I think it makes a massive difference, but I was really shocked that, so I was, one of my roles in recruitment, the first time we do recruitment was I was the greeter.

Helen:

So I was stood on the road working with people as they came.

Helen:

And I was really shocked when this guy came up to me and said, you must be Helen.

Helen:

How do you know that?

Helen:

Well, your photos on your one page profile.

Helen:

So, so, you know, it, it, I think it helps put people at ease and levels the playing field in, in, the recruitment process.

Maureen:

I just like that idea of that it's not just about whether they're a right fit for you, but also, you know, it's vice versa, you know?

Maureen:

So it's about actually coming together.

Helen:

Maureen, there's, there's something called a running away letter, a scare away letter that Lisa Gill, um, introduced me to.

Helen:

And I, I've been looking recently to be, um, approached by two charities, about potentially joining their board of trustees and, and that I'm not on any board of trustees and the one, you know, fabulous national charity, brilliant reputation.

Helen:

Um, so I had my first interview with them and I was sat behind a desk and two people interviewed me.

Helen:

And after that I, I wrote, um, a scare away letter to say, please don't take this process any further unless you're interested in somebody who wants to be part of innovation.

Helen:

And I gave a list of things that actually on my criteria for joining an organization.

Helen:

And I think that that's the good fit thing.

Helen:

And they didn't take it any further.

Helen:

So good for them.

Helen:

Good for me.

Helen:

I think

Maureen:

Oh wow.

Maureen:

I'm taking notes.

Maureen:

Just saying runaway letter.

Maureen:

I love that.

Helen:

But in, in other recruitment, when somebody's considering the job, the existing team members write them a scary way letter to say, you know, this is a fantastic place to work, but don't join us unless, unless this, this, this, this, and this.

Helen:

Um, and for that to come from existing team members I think it's really powerful.

Maureen:

But it's also about being upfront as well, being really clear.

Helen:

My goodness.

Helen:

If you, um, if you don't, my, my friend, um, Jackie le Fevre has got some fantastic research on, on recruitment because we, we looked at values-based recruitment, cuz one of the things that was different about Wellbeing Teams is we didn't recruit from inside of health and care.

Helen:

We recruited much more broadly than that.

Helen:

Um, so we'd have.

Helen:

Like bar managers and nursery nurses and other people come and join us, which was, which was amazing.

Helen:

So there are significant costs of losing people in the first six weeks and then two months and then a year.

Helen:

So the costs of recruitment are massive, but also the costs of somebody staying who shouldn't, are massive in terms of team morale and how the organization works.

Helen:

So I think, you know, recruitment needs to be a massively front ended process, both from, um, expense, I'm getting the wrong, the wrong people.

Helen:

So I think taking your time to do that well.

Helen:

But in our sector, speed is seen as a really good thing.

Helen:

Um, but actually you risk getting people for whom this is not a good fit, who will leave when you've paid, put through induction, you know, when they've, they've met people a few times as well.

Helen:

So I think we've put so, so Important.

Henry:

Now I have a thing about recruitment interviews that I, I believe you shouldn't ask your interviewee any questions

Helen:

No, I agree.

Henry:

in the interview.

Helen:

Well, I, I don't think interviews are a good thing per se.

Helen:

So we did workshops.

Helen:

So if you're recruiting people to be part of a team, why would you decide if they're a good fit for your organization?

Helen:

Just based on one-to-ones?

Helen:

Cause I want to see people perform in a group, um, to know whether they are a good fit.

Henry:

We wanna see how positive and supportive they

Helen:

Absolutely.

Helen:

Absolutely.

Helen:

Because you can prep for interviews.

Helen:

There's loads of books and, and videos that says, if you ask this question, answer it this way.

Helen:

That is no way to find out whether someone's a good fit for your organization, particularly if they're working in teams and most people are working in teams.

Henry:

Absolutely.

Henry:

Okay.

Henry:

Now, earlier you talked about trust and autonomy.

Henry:

Now of course with the self-managing organization that may in, that makes it almost impossible that you can't have trust and autonomy, I guess so, can you give us, uh, some examples of where, where there was trust and autonomy and Wellbeing Teams?

Helen:

Well, I think that you then rely on the processes of the way you work to create a scaffolding or a framework that supports trust, uh, and autonomy.

Helen:

Because I was the registered manager for Wellbeing Teams in its early days, and what that meant is, um, , I would go to prison or something.

Helen:

I'm badly wrong.

Helen:

So it's, it's a incredibly responsible role.

Helen:

So here I was, um, being the registered manager and doing things for which we couldn't have, have managers.

Helen:

And I remember, um, CQC, the regulated Body for health and care does an, an annual inspection.

Helen:

Um, usually, and about six weeks before that, you get something called the pir, which is the, um, which is information that they want before they come and inspect you.

Helen:

And when I got that email, Henry, I couldn't open it for three weeks.

Helen:

I was so scared.

Helen:

I was so terrified of it.

Helen:

Because one of the questions it asks you is how many supervision have happened over the past six weeks?

Helen:

Well, of course we weren't doing supervision.

Helen:

So, so like, it increased my fear about what they were going to find.

Helen:

So confirmation, we replaced traditional supervision with confirmation practices.

Helen:

I think the, the best example of trust really is in the way that we structured, um, our meetings.

Helen:

So we took some practices from holo]cracy, um, their tactical meeting process, and we used that.

Helen:

So we'd have weekly team meetings.

Helen:

And one of the things that you do in this particular, Weekly team meeting is you ask for what you need.

Helen:

So we had to trust people to bring issues to the table, which is, and the question is, you know, what's getting in your, in the way of you doing your best work?

Helen:

And a tension is either something that's getting in the way of you doing good work, or it might be something that you see that could improve the way we work.

Helen:

And we would expect people to bring that.

Helen:

And we'd also look at metrics together.

Helen:

So in traditional organizations, the manager looks at.

Helen:

Make some decisions about them and then issues, changes.

Helen:

Well, the transparency of information and self-managed team is that we'd have a big poster that said, you know, were there any medication errors in the past two weeks?

Helen:

Were there any incidents or absences in the past two weeks?

Helen:

You know, um, how many social media posts have we done on Facebook?

Helen:

So all of that information would be transparent and that once a month we'd then do a review of, of our learning.

Helen:

So based on, for example, if we'd had any incidents or accidents or, or a medication issues, we would do like what we call a four plus one what have we tried?

Helen:

What have we learned, what we're pleased about, what we're concerned about?

Helen:

What do we need to do next or, or some kind of of review.

Helen:

So I think self-management is about having practices like that.

Helen:

That means that we can be confident in what's happening because we see our colleagues bringing tensions.

Helen:

We review our learning together.

Henry:

Yeah.

Henry:

Bringing tensions that I know, I know that's a self-managing organization, uh, thing.

Henry:

What, what does a tension mean?

Helen:

So traditional meetings, the manager would typically set the agenda and the agenda would be, we're gonna talk about this, this, and this and that.

Helen:

There'd often be one or two words.

Helen:

And in tactical meetings, there is no set agenda.

Helen:

We're asking people to reflect where they are now on what's getting in the way of them doing their, their best work.

Helen:

So a tension could be some information that you need that you don't.

Helen:

So your tension might be, I need this information, I need it by the end of the day.

Helen:

Um, Maureen, I need it from you.

Helen:

Um, can I ask you to provide this information from me?

Helen:

So that would be addressing a tension in a tactical meeting.

Helen:

Or a tension might be, um, I've got a challenge with a family.

Helen:

They're a really lovely family, but there's this issue that's getting in the way.

Helen:

Can we hear from everybody about your suggestions about how I can deal with that issue?

Helen:

So a tension might be looking for ideas from your colleagues, looking for information from your colleagues or solving a problem, um, together.

Henry:

So normally you might go to your manager with that but

Helen:

Yes, absolutely.

Helen:

A, a really good point.

Helen:

So the things that you would usually phone the office and ask your manager for, It's a process of, of getting that information from your, your colleagues.

Helen:

And that there, there's occasional information that you might need from somebody in that kind of role.

Helen:

So it's not that.

Helen:

So you'd have a wellbeing leader who acted as the team's coach and me as the registered manager.

Helen:

So you might need some information, for example, about something that CQC is doing, and you would come to me.

Helen:

But actually most problems, 95% of them are ones that the intelligence, the, the wisdom in the room can help you figure out for yourself.

Maureen:

Fantastic.

Maureen:

So tell me something.

Maureen:

Have you had feedback from staff, from your teams to say how well this is, and you know how they feel about this approach?

Helen:

Yes.

Helen:

So the, um, people vote with their feet, don't they?

Helen:

It is one way of looking at it, so, um, most recent wellbeing teams were in Thurrock, um, in home care.

Helen:

And it was a partnership in us and the local authority.

Helen:

And the local authority also delivered their own home care.

Helen:

So we had a sort of comparison that we could look at.

Helen:

And I think it was the director of one of the directors did some research to look at how often people went into hospital, um, sickness levels and retention levels, and they found that there was a two thirds less sickness in the wellbeing team compared to the rest of home care, you know, and retention was like two thirds higher as well.

Helen:

So I think that's a really good indicator of it.

Helen:

At the beginning we used something called pecon, um, which was a way of doing.

Helen:

like staff satisfaction questionnaires.

Helen:

But we did it every month, you know, early on to find out what was working and not working from team members perspective.

Helen:

And then the results came to the team.

Helen:

So the team would get the results from their team.

Helen:

And then one of the questions would be, based on what we've learned from pecon, what do we need to do or do differently?

Helen:

So we, we paid a lot of attention to the feedback about the.

Helen:

changes that people wanted to make.

Helen:

And, but rather than the manager making those changes or, you know, the, the coach, we said to the team, this is what you're saying to each other.

Helen:

What do we want to, to do differently?

Helen:

But the brilliant thing is in the CQC reports, the CQC, um, asks team members for their feedback.

Helen:

Um, and the feedback from team members was overwhelmingly positive from perhaps everybody.

Helen:

But one person who had come from a previous job in home care.

Helen:

And only 10% of our staff had come from health and social care said, um, it's not just that you are asked what your opinion is, you are expected to share your opinion and be part of the changes made here, and I think that was was something that I was delighted to hear.

Maureen:

That's glorious.

Maureen:

Yes.

Maureen:

Yeah, I think that's a great example.

Maureen:

So thank you so

Maureen:

much for sharing that.

Henry:

So Helen, your three tips for happy workplaces, what are they?

Helen:

So, um, I'm big into research Henry.

Helen:

So, um, I was reading a book by Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, and the book's called Dying for a Paycheck, and it's all about wellbeing at work.

Helen:

And a lot of us think wellbeing at work is about having yoga classes or nap pods or all the stuff that we read from Google and other places.

Helen:

And he said, no, it's two things.

Helen:

It's autonomy and it's social support.

Helen:

So I think anything that we can do that supports greater autonomy at work and greater social support.

Helen:

And I'm a big fan about, of Brene Brown, and one of the things that she talks about is how important it's to talk about feelings at work.

Helen:

And if we don't talk about feelings and express them, they will appear in the workplace in other ways.

Helen:

So I think one of the things I think is.

Helen:

About the kind of meetings that we do.

Helen:

So we start with a check-in and after that's a feelings check-in.

Helen:

So we'd be asking everybody right at the beginning of the meeting to use one word to describe how they feel.

Helen:

Now at the beginning, people would say things like, okay, and fine.

Helen:

And okay and fine aren't feeling words, so, so we downloaded a feelings chart from non-violent communication, which we're a big, big span of, so we'd put that on the screen and say, choose, um, a feeling to Descript, a word to describe how you're feeling.

Helen:

And then Maureen, if you said something like exhausted or angry or upset, we'd then say, is there anything we can do to support you around feeling like that Maureen so you can be fully present for the meeting?

Helen:

So I think being able to talk about feelings and ask people what they need to be fully present is, is a really powerful thing to do in meetings.

Henry:

So autonomy, social support, and feelings.

Helen:

Um, well, it's autonomy and social support on what we need to do to be well

Helen:

at.

Helen:

One way of thinking about social support is doing things like one place profiling.

Helen:

So we know who we are as individuals, but also being able to talk about our feelings at work and doing that in meetings is a good way to get started.

Helen:

And I think the other thing is, um, being clear about how we want to show up in the workplace.

Helen:

So, you know, having agreements about the importance of being on time will be one for me.

Helen:

Or if you're going to be late, letting people know ahead of time.

Helen:

But also things like being courageous and asking for feedback and statements like that, and then reviewing them.

Helen:

How well am I doing using something like confirmation practices?

Helen:

So bring your whole self to work and one page profiles are a great way of doing that.

Helen:

Be prepared to talk about feelings.

Helen:

And feelings checking and meetings are a way of doing that.

Helen:

And let's agree how we want to be together in the workplace, and team agreements are a great way of doing that.

Helen:

So those would be my three top tips, Henry.

Henry:

Excellent.

Henry:

Thank you so much, Helen.

Henry:

This has been a fabulous, podcast.

Henry:

Uh, thank you so much.

Helen:

you are very welcome.

Helen:

Thank you for inviting me.

Maureen:

Oh, that was so awesome.

Maureen:

There was so much in there?

Maureen:

Yeah.

Maureen:

Lots of goodness.

Henry:

Well, particularly stood that was the sharing who you are with your interviewees.

Henry:

I mean, I've, I've never heard of that happening before.

Henry:

Um, we must do that.

Maureen:

Oh yes.

Maureen:

Yeah, I think that's great.

Maureen:

That one page profile and getting their information and showing us, I think, That's very

Henry:

And, and I'd love confirmatory practice as a, as I heard Helen talk about it on the Lisa Gill, uh, podcast, and so I, I've started doing it myself.

Henry:

I didn't realize you had to do seven of them though.

Henry:

I've, I've only been doing one

Maureen:

But I suppose you can adapt it, you know, to what meets you, you know,

Henry:

Yeah, absolutely.

Maureen:

Like you, I love the confirmation statements, so it's coming from a place of you showing up and how you are showing up.

Maureen:

So I think it's really, really clear.

Maureen:

And then being coached to help you raise your game in areas where you haven't scored yourself high.

Maureen:

So just actually scoring yourself, again, given the accountability back to the person.

Maureen:

And then that part, I think towards the end where she talked about how you wanna show up at work, and I mean, here at Happy, we, we have that thing of that, um, what is it to be, how do you want to

Henry:

Oh, how do you want to be?

Henry:

Yes.

Henry:

Yeah.

Maureen:

Yes, so we have that.

Maureen:

But then to hear it also to be is like, how do you want to show up for work?

Maureen:

Imagine doing that every morning, how you wanna show up for work, and then you just step into that.

Henry:

And yet on that to be point cuz listeners might not know about it.

Henry:

So as well as the to-do list, we have a to be list.

Maureen:

The way I used to, to, um, to be is, especially when I need to, lets build up my confidence.

Maureen:

How do I wanna set myself up for the day?

Maureen:

What do I want to choose?

Maureen:

What do, uh, what do I want to achieve?

Maureen:

And then by doing that, it's that.

Maureen:

What's necessary for me?

Maureen:

How is it necessary for me to be, to be able to achieve those goals?

Maureen:

So do I need to be more confident?

Maureen:

Do I need to be a, a great listener?

Maureen:

what do I need to be to be able to achieve my goals and achieve those outcomes?

Henry:

Okay.

Henry:

That's the end of this podcast.

Henry:

Bye for now.

Maureen:

See you next time.

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