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Project name: #UHDBTogether

Objectives: engaging staff to co-create alignment, a new culture and a refreshed, shared strategy.

The background

The University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust was formally born in July 2018, bringing together five hospitals in the area. It was hoped the merger would release financial savings but more importantly increase clinical quality and new services for the huge population that they serve.

The issue they were trying to solve

The CEO and HRD wanted to bring staff together from across the newly formed Trust, to ensure that everyone felt involved in the key decisions that would shape the future of their Trust. This meant the overarching remit of our project was:

  • to give all staff the opportunity to play a role in providing clarity around the Trusts’ future direction – a staff-centred strategy creation process; and
  • to embed an on-going capability to involve staff in change.

Why did they choose Clever Together?

They needed a project that would scale, at pace, with value for money and massive impact. Key selection criteria were:

  • Could we help CEOs and exec teams to connect with their staff, at scale?
  • Could we bring the voice of staff to the centre of change, fast?
  • Could we create improvement and innovation “movements” from normally dry strategy creation processes?

They chose Clever Together as we showed we could meet their criteria and backed this up with recommendations by senior NHS clinicians and other Chief Execs and Executive HR Directors who had seen our work in practice in their acute hospital settings.

Our Journey together

We built a shared “Mandate”

We worked closely with UHDB’s new CEO and Exec team to define a mandate – an agreed narrative about why UHDB were holding such a large scale engagement. This mandate guided all communications and plans in relation to the project, setting out clear compelling reasoning for all staff to be involved in co-creating three things:

  • Our Why: collectively shaping and agreeing our vision and purpose.
  • Our How: a collective agreement about the behaviours everyone should expect from each other at UHDB, wrapped into a new framework of values.
  • Our What: a collective agreement about the Trust’s goals and the core actions needed to achieve these outcomes.

We generated interest in the project

We worked closely with the UHDB communications and OD teams to create a brand and new suite of comms assets which would inform and excite staff about the forthcoming physical and online engagement events. Assets included animations, emails, social media and even physical comms, such as coffee cup holders and posters.

We captured input and converted this into new shared insight

Over 3,000 staff joined the three-part journey of co-creation. Together they shared 30,000+ data points from surveys and workshops, resulting in 73,000+ words of data.

Part 1. Co-create

We designed, hosted and facilitated five physical events with Trust leaders. We used our digital crowdsourcing tech at the events instead of typical post-it note and poster sessions, so we could capture a permanent and analysable record of the conversations.

The physical events acted as a launch-pad for two Trust-wide online workshops, where everyone was invited to share their ideas and insights and rate the ideas of others.

We aggregated and analysed 60,000 words of data to develop a draft set of core insights directly from the voice of staff across the Trust

  • a draft shared purpose and vision,
  • a new draft behavioural charter within a clear set of values, and
  • a draft priority action plan.

Part 2. Validate

We hosted a third Trust-wide online workshop to give staff the opportunity to check, challenge and confirm the draft assets. This “validation exercise” also demonstrated to staff:

  • there was momentum;
  • their voices had been heard, and
  • what they shared was already being shaped into tangible assets with promises from the CEO for real action.

Part 3. Implement

With a set of refined, co-created strategic assets, we hosted physical meetings to help:

  • the Exec sign-off the conclusions,
  • the results be integrated into corporate strategy,
  • plan how to launch and rapidly embed the insights and requests from staff.

The legacy and impact of our work

The insight generated through our engagements was turned into an actionable new strategic framework. This was signed off and embraced by the Board.

Our work has led to a Trust-wide movement of staff involvement, motivation and recognition – #TeamUHDB – and UHDB continue to use our methods to:

  • involve staff in the process of course-correcting the group of hospitals in periods when they find themselves missing a strategic target,
  • involve staff in the process of co-creating core plans, like their “allied health strategy”, and
  • make sure that people at all levels feel involved, listened to, and inspired to be part of positive change at UHDB.

Noticeable shifts in clinical quality and performance are emerging, we continue to monitor impact.