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Published
22 November 2022

Enjoying Work Programme Learning Published

Learning from the Trust’s Enjoying Work programme – one of the largest programmes globally applying quality improvement (QI) to improve joy in work – has been published.
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A QI joy at work diagram

The peer-review paper in the British Journal of Healthcare Management shares learning from the Trust’s six-year journey supporting teams to apply their QI skills to understand what matters to staff and what contributes to good days at work, to develop and test ideas generated by the team, and to measure if the changes are leading to improvement.

The programme has involved 86 teams, clinical and non-clinical, from across ELFT.

Hundreds of change ideas have been tested by the teams, all generated locally by the staff involved in the work.

These include relaxation rooms on wards, flexible work around childcare, employee appreciation initiatives, virtual socials, positive gossip, team tuck shops, improving meetings, reducing bureaucratic tasks, new staffing rotas, improvements to the work environment and more structured handovers.

The programme started in 2017 and is based on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) joy in work framework which provides an evidence-based approach to tackling the complex issue of staff experience utilising improvement science.

It consists of nine components related to joy in work, and a series of steps, starting with asking the question ‘What matters to you?’, identifying the impediments to joy in work, adopting a systems approach and applying QI to support teams to test and measure ideas in a systematic way.

This work has been nominated for a Healthcare People Management Association award and was a finalist for a Health Service Journal (HSJ) award.

“Improving the experience of our staff is one of our four strategic objectives at ELFT,” said Dr Amar Shah, ELFT Chief Quality Officer.

“This approach has enabled our teams to apply their quality improvement skills to grapple with what contributes to us experiencing better or worse days at work, and to influence the factors within their control, listening and testing creative ideas that come from within the team itself.”

He added: “Whilst many factors that could influence our experience may lie outside our influence, taking this quality improvement approach bring us some hope and autonomy, and demonstrates that small changes can add up to have an important impact.

“This is difficult work to do, and can bring up challenging emotions – I’m hugely grateful for all those who have shown courage and leadership through this journey.”