For those of us working in workplace culture, OD and EDI, there can be moments when the odds seem stacked against us.
The time pressures faced by staff, the limits placed on funding, and the pervasive sceptical attitudes we still face from those who see culture as ‘the soft stuff’; we collaborate with OD and EDI teams throughout the NHS, we hear these frustrations all the time. Sometimes we need a reminder that we really do make meaningful, positive changes in the lives of our colleagues and their patients.
And recently, we had one.
Recently, the London Ambulance Service was shortlisted as “Trust of the Year” by the prestigious HSJ Awards. From a record-breaking pool of 1,456 entries, LAS was recognised among 6 for having “faced unprecedented demands and pressures head on,” with a focus on patient outcomes and staff wellbeing.
The judges will have seen some of the dramatic changes made at the Trust over the last couple of years: improvements in staff diversity, with 34% of recruitment coming from ethnic minority backgrounds; reductions in staff sickness leave from 12% in 2021 to 5.75% in May 2023. Survey results showed staff satisfaction in some sites rose from 30% to 80%.
Facilitating cultural transformation
Working alongside the LAS team, we facilitated a programme of culture transformation, embedding into the organisation the day-to-day practices and behaviours to help staff embody a new set of Trust values.
London Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Daniel Elkeles notes:
“We are so pleased to have been shortlisted for the prestigious HSJ Trust of the Year Award – an achievement only made possible because of the work we have done to transform our culture and morale. ‘Our LAS’ – the culture improvement programme facilitated by A Kind Life – has involved thousands of our front-line staff, managers, and leaders in co-creating and embedding the culture they want to see. It is the foundation we needed for the improvements in staff and patient experience that have followed.”
Between October 2022, and June 2023, we hosted workshops, masterclasses, and culture co-creation sessions with more than 2,000 colleagues, managers, and leaders, providing them with the insights and tools to create a kinder, more equitable LAS.
We laid out clear expectations of staff at all levels, set direction on equality, diversity and inclusion, and co-designed new approaches to team-working and values-based management – so these expectations become lived, everyday parts of employee experience.
Participants at our workshops left feeling more optimistic, hopeful, and positive. (Which our analyses show are the key drivers of engagement in the NHS.)
We continue to work together with an EDI programme, being rolled out to all 6,000 colleagues across the organisation, to make LAS a truly inclusive organisation for all its colleagues and patients.
Our mission at A Kind Life
The London Ambulance Service faced enormous strain during COVID-19, nationwide staff shortages, and a very challenging winter. For the Trust to rally and be shortlisted for this award is a testament to what can be achieved when leaders in healthcare value and prioritise the day-to-day, lived experience of their workers.
A Kind Life’s mission is to create a kinder NHS; to make more good days and fewer bad days at work. Over the last 12 years, we’ve worked with dozens of other Trusts, ICSs and ICBs throughout England and Wales to do just that. (In fact, two of the other six HSJ nominees – Oxleas Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital – are also among our clients.)
If you’d like to see similar results for your own organisation, then we’d love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to set up a chat.