Employee Well Being with Merseyside Police and Liverpool PCT
As part of Liverpool PCT’s Decade of Health and Well Being, Merseyside Police wanted to create an innovative approach to improving their capacity and capability to support their staff as they planned, implemented and maintained their restructuring and change programme.
Merseyside Police Service as a key partner in Liverpool’s 2020 Decade of Health and Wellbeing is encouraging staff and stakeholders to focus on the Five Ways to Wellbeing
Five simple ways to improve personal wellbeing by making small, achievable lifestyle changes that are closely aligned to Windmills’ principles and approach.
Following government spending cuts Merseyside Police Service needed to make savings leaving many staff facing major organisational change and uncertainty. With three different departments already having experienced staff redundancies and/or redeployments, the potential for ‘stress hot spots’ was quickly identified. Recognising the impact on staff health and wellbeing Merseyside Police Service wanted to give support to the staff in those areas. The Service wanted to provide staff with a listening ear; a pool of people that they could go to for ‘non-judgemental’ support. The intention was to develop more personal resilience and self reliance in individuals coping with the changed circumstances through peer coaching/ mentoring. The Service wanted to stimulate more positive conversations about work, personal wellbeing and career development in the workplace.
Windmills designed and delivered a champions capacity building programme for twenty specially recruited volunteers from the affected departments along with representatives from the Unions, Police Federation, Support Networks and HR. The champions began their training by taking part in a personal development programme based on the Windmills publication No Regrets on Sunday (click here to find out more) This had the objective to familiarise the champions with a range of the Windmills activities and resources and to strengthen their self reliance skills and credibility when offering support to others.
Two weeks later, provided an opportunity for the champions to practice using the Windmills tools in a safe and supportive environment and to discuss how best to roll out the support to others in the organisation. Merseyside Police Service was clear that they wanted to create a demand driven ‘viral’ process that would provide staff with one to one support rather than group sessions.
The tool kit of resources put together for the Merseyside Police Champions included:
- Copies of No Regrets on Sunday
- What’s on Your Plate cards
- Pdf of Personal EATing Habits questionnaire
- Windmills skills cards
- Pdf of Payoffs questionnaire
(Click here to find out more about the Windmills portfolio)
1. for the Champions.
Evaluation questionnaires at the end of the training confirmed that the programme had benefitted people on a personal level and had shown how the Windmills tools and approach could be helpful in supporting others coping with what might be perceived as ‘stressful’ organisational changes.
Champions were asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 5 – where 0 represents ‘not at all’ and 5 represents ‘significantly’ – the extent to which the programme had
- increased levels of self-awareness
- increased their ability to manage change personally
- increased motivation
- clarified personal goals
- increased confidence to support others
Most people scored 4 or 5 for all the indicators. The chart below highlights the percentage of champions’ ratings across 2 indicators.
67% of champions gave a 4 or 5 rating for ‘manage change personally’ and 78% for increased confidence to support others.
One Champion described the programme as ‘A journey of discovery, for both work and your personal life, with a suitcase of fabulous items you can use, swap or give away’.
Another confirmed the programme had had an impact for the champions personally and had shown the potential to benefit others commenting, “the activities certainly made me really refocus on my own skills and what I actually contribute, you can easily lose sight of this and having some time without the usual distractions was beneficial. With the further round of budget cuts I know that this programme will assist all of those (including myself) going through the change process.”
Reflective summaries revealed that many of the champions had themselves benefitted from their experience of the No Regrets on Sunday programme and had begun to take control and make personal changes in their working, learning, playing and giving to improve their own health and well being. 4 weeks after the training one champion reported feeling better and more positive for having ‘put in place some quick fixes especially igniting old friendships. I have met up with an old friend, made time for exercise of an evening and spent time researching a basic counselling skills course I wish to complete’.
Decisions taken after the programme by one Champion in particular has rippled out to a much wider community and reshaped their WLPG blend. ‘One of the highlights of the programme for me has been to re-focus my mind on those things that I am passionate about – the rights of children – and it reminded me that my regular donations to a children’s charity is not enough. It has spurred me on to put into action the volunteering and I have since made my enquiries and have started this new aspect to my life.’
2. for others
Ongoing feedback from the Champions group revealed a number of different examples of how individuals were supported and their sense of health and well being improved through appropriate usage of a variety of the Windmills tools.
One Champion highlighted how the Windmills skills cards activity gave one individual renewed confidence in approaching a redeployment interview. Having already had a mock interview feedback to the member of staff suggested they needed more focus on their skills base. The skills cards activity allowed the individual to identify the skills they love using and are good at – their prime skills – and to explore whether she would be able to use those in the role she was applying for. The staff member was encouraged to think about examples of when she has demonstrated these skills in her existing role. The exercise ‘focussed my mind on what my strengths are’ and was ‘really helpful when reflecting on what key skills would be needed for the job and how I could evidence this.’
Another member of staff was struggling to juggle work, home and study. The individual’s current WLPG blend diagram identified that work and giving dominated her life. There was very little play at work or at home, in the main due to her caring responsibilities for her elderly parents and certainly no time for play. She was studying for professional qualifications but didn’t feel this was ‘for me’ because it was an essential requirement of her role. All this on top of the organisational change was having a detrimental impact on her sense of health and well being. Some good quality open questions from the Champion about the individual’s ideal WLPG blend for the future helped her to look at herself and her priorities within her home life and work from a different perspective. ‘talking about blending was helpful. I started to see I did have options and could complete some quick fixes to get me time playing.’
Linked to the ‘What’s on your plate?’ (Click here to find out more) activity the ‘Personal EATing habits questionnaire looks at how people act and think in response to events they have ‘on their plate’. It helped one individual identify how they could take more control over their responses to change and ‘increased my motivation to take baby steps to increase my confidence’. The first time the Champion discussed the questionnaire scores the individual felt she was ‘stuck in a rut’ and unhappy but realised that she was blaming others and the situation for how she was feeling rather than doing something about it for herself. Encouraged by the champion to identify 3 things she will do differently to improve her sense of health and wellbeing she decided she needed to improve her fitness levels, to do more things that she enjoys doing and to not worry about what other people think, do and say.
One of the Champions has met with a small group of staff on a regular basis and has used a number of the activities and resources from the toolkit. One of the group has recently experienced health issues which have led to a change in home and work life and is using the Champion’s support to ‘find their way through’ their situation. Another individual being coached by this Champion is looking for direction and opportunities the organisational change might bring. The Champion is pleased to be getting very positive feedback from the group and says ‘The process provides a structure both overall and within individual meetings. The toolkit allows the individual to identify and talk about their own issues. This provides the ‘golden nuggets’ for coaching and challenges the individual as well as identifying things they may wish to develop to improve their feeling of fulfilment and direction for the future.’