King’s Health Partners – H7: Mental Health and Wellbeing

What issue was facing your organisation?

What issue was facing your organisation?

In 2011 a small group of King’s Health Partners’ staff from a range of disciplines including clinical services, HR, occupational health and mental health promotion, worked with seven teams across the partnership to discover what it is really like to work at King’s Health Partners. The aim of the process was to create a realistic picture of what might help to improve staff well-being.

A range of challenges were revealed. Staff felt the psychological effects of increasing demands, larger and more complex workloads, and less control over their work. Poor support systems, faulty equipment and ineffective procedures were adding to the stress of patient and systemic demands.

Our workforce also reported feeling less recognition and appreciation for their efforts. As a result, team dynamics, mental health and work/life balance were being adversely affected. Staff told us their morale was being undermined – an unintended consequence of delivering on key performance indicators which seemed to contradict their ambitions to provide the very best patient care.

What action did your organisation take?

We sought to tackle the challenges by launching a range of new pilot initiatives under the banner happier@work from October 2012 to March 2013.

Happier@work logo







The new initiatives were easily identified by a distinctive multi-coloured logo, designed to represent the integrated nature of wellbeing – body, mind, spirit, people, place and planet.

Each initiative focused on improvements at one of three levels of wellbeing: individual, group/team and structural/organisational. The activities highlighted themes such as ‘managing for staff well-being’ and ‘developing practical skills for peace of mind’. They included courses on mental health and stress awareness, and training in mindfulness, as well as a project called ‘Creating Space for Wellbeing’ and a series of ‘Leading Lights’ seminars, which were designed as follow up sessions to explore key issues raised by staff.

Our staff were regularly invited to take part through e-bulletins, cross project promotion and word-of-mouth. As the programme grew in recognition, our employees began contacting the project team directly.

To incentivise staff, we marketed the programme as being focused on staff happiness and wellbeing, rather than organisational need. A range of interventions were cross promoted to build confidence in the happier@work brand through high quality delivery. The discovery process provided an understanding of what was really important to staff wellbeing from their perspective, and this informed the design process.

What has been the impact of implementing health interventions?

An evaluation of the happier@work initiatives was undertaken by London Southbank University (LSBU). It showed an improvement in our wellbeing indicators and a decrease in the indicators for mental ill health. Staff satisfaction also improved, with a 15% increase in those employees who would recommend King’s Health Partners as a place to work.

LSBU concluded, “despite the methodological difficulties of this evaluation, the results would suggest that well-designed employee wellbeing interventions that are integrated into the workplace could help increase the wellbeing of employees…”

The success of the pilot secured funding during 2013/14, benefitting an additional 150. The King’s Health Partners organisations have continued to fund the programme, which has also been adopted by another large statutory organisation.

In Case studies, Health at Work Network | Tagged , ,

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