Towards the end of last year, colleagues and I recorded a video with some thoughts as to how we could strengthen a climate of respect in the organisation. You can watch it here: Building a Climate of Respect (7 minute video).
It is one of the NHS’s idiosyncrasies that it sees disproportionately much higher levels of workplace bullying than other sectors nationally. We at BHT are not immune to this; whilst we’ve made good progress in creating a more supportive culture, according to our staff survey 11% of you have witnessed bullying, harassment or abuse from a manager, and 16% by a fellow colleague. If you pause and think about it, these are extraordinary numbers. “Building a Climate of Respect” has been produced as a direct result of listening to your concerns and the feedback in our staff survey. We must all recognise the importance of respecting each other in the workplace now and in the future.
I am sure many of you have met Tracey Underhill, our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian (FTSUG). She does a fantastic job, and I am always happy to see that her work load is ever increasing. Just as trusts that report more incidents are safer, I’m sure trusts that ‘speak up’ more are better places to work (and therefore provide better patient care). In fact, this is supported by evidence collated by the National Guardian Office, which shows an apparent correlation between how well staff are supported by managers and leaders to speak up and the trust’s overall Care Quality Commission ratings. If you haven’t met Tracey, involved her with your team or department, or if you have a concern that you are worried about sharing, then she will always be delighted to hear from you. She has a wealth of expertise on what good and not so good practice looks like when managing relationships, teams and so forth. You can contact her on 01296 316027 or via email@example.com .
There is also a new dedicated information resource guide for all staff in any role which has been developed to support you; it can be accessed here: Building A Climate of Respect Resource Guide. It contains useful information about how to identify, better manage and deal with the impact of bullying and poor behaviours that we know can sometimes arise. If you know of other helpful resources to share that can help us to further develop the guide then please let Tracey know.
The “Building a Climate of Respect” video sets out some expectations about what sort of behaviours should be expected in the Trust. Changing culture is never going to be something achieved overnight, but we have a collective responsibility to make this a great place to work. Perhaps the following are food for thought:
- People are much more likely to change behaviour through reward / praise rather than punishment / criticism.
- Try smiling and saying hello to a colleague you haven’t met before – you will be amazed at the impact this can have. Manners are just as important when speaking with colleagues as they are with our patients.
- Every now and then read back your emails to yourself – it is so easy due to time pressures to create a tone that is rushed and not as respectful as it could be.
- If people cannot do something, it is more than likely it is because they haven’t got the right training, tools or environment, not because they do not want to.
Imagine the collective change we could create if we all took the time to think about how we interacted with colleagues and made a small change.
As always, please get in touch with any thoughts or questions.