An Evidence-Based Approach to Supporting NHS Staff Wellbeing

16th March 2021

Our CEO and Founder Paul Reid recently spoke alongside Dr Kim Walker, a Senior Lecturer for Health Education Research and Innovation at the University of Aberdeen, at the Regroup, Reflect, Recharge: Enhancing staff experience in the NHS conference.

Organised by NHS Employers, this conference was designed to explore how to proactively enhance staff experience in the NHS and to increase our understanding of how we can better support frontline NHS staff members as they respond to the Coronavirus pandemic while reflecting on the lessons learned over the past year. 

During the session, Walker and Reid covered the origins and development of the ongoing trial of Trickle’s new ‘How was your day?’ feature, which is underway in NHS Lothian and Tayside. 

Continue reading for the key takeaways from their talk or watch the full session below.

The project brief: to support NHS frontline workers during Covid-19

Walker and her team of researchers were initially tasked with a six-month project to research and develop evidence-based interventions to support doctors’ wellbeing and resilience during the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond. 

Given the short time-frame, to accomplish a task of this nature a large project team made up of researchers from all five medical schools in Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland were assembled and divided into four work streams, that operated in parallel. 

According to Walker, 100 doctors across the career continuum from all 14 territorial health boards, 21% of which were GPs, were interviewed. Of that number 67 undertook longitudinal diaries and 83 were given second interviews between September and October 2020. 

Following analysis of the data and two expert stakeholder workshops, Walker’s team decided to take forward five interventions, one of which was ‘How was your day?’.

A key message that study participants shared was the need to feel valued, and this Walker explained led to the collaboration with Trickle to create ‘How was your day?’, which was implemented in month five of the project. 

The Solution: How was your day?

How was your day?’ is a feature housed within the Trickle platform that continuously captures employee sentiment in order to determine the happiness level of a workforce and to identify the top contributing factors that influence whether a person has a good or bad day. 

Each day the app asks the user to share how their day was by choosing either a happy or sad face depending on how their day made them feel. All of the captured data is always anonymous, so the individual sharing their mood can do so honestly without fear of being identified. 

After the user shares their mood, they are then given a palette of icons that let them indicate what has contributed most to how they feel e.g. being noticed, having a sense of purpose, environmental factors or physical issues. 

Reid explains that by capturing those high level attributes, ‘How was your day?’ helps to develop an understanding of what best supports NHS workers in having more good days than bad, and that it provides insights into the peaks and troughs of employee morale over time.

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Users receive a weekly summary of how they felt over the course of the week with the top three positive and negative contributors to their mood highlighted. This easy to understand overview can help guide people towards taking positive action to help boost their own wellbeing. 

For the organisation, ‘How was your day?’ generates a real-time graph showing the level of employee happiness overall, while highlighting the top 5 top positive and negative contributors that are most influencing how people are feeling. 

With the powerful real-time insights the app provides, ‘How was your day?’ empowers organisational leaders to implement evidence-based wellbeing interventions, engage on the things that matter most to frontline health workers, and track employee wellbeing.

Pilot highlights so far…

  • NHS staff happiness levels have increased
  • Organisational psychological safety has improved
  • Small changes make a huge difference
  • Relevant engagement is more effective 
  • It is important to celebrate wins 
  • Peer-to-peer praise and recognition boosts employee morale 
  • NHS staff members want to have a voice and feel valued 

How was your day?’ was initially rolled out in December during the new Covid-19 wave, a particularly tough time for both NHS Lothian and NHS Tayside. From its launch, the tool saw a high level of employee engagement within the platform.

Walker says that the app was easy and quick to embed into the everyday approach to work and has helped make speaking up, focussing on continual improvement, celebrating success and praising teammates a daily habit. 

Walker explains that the app has helped support existing initiatives by guiding people towards resources, help and advice that were already available but not being utilised fully. 

Small changes were found to make a huge difference to employees, for example, when ‘How was your day?’ revealed dehydration as a top issue for medical staff, leadership engaged with their people on the issue quickly via the platform to achieve a satisfactory solution for all. Within two weeks dehydration had changed from being a top negative to a top positive. 

Usage of the app also revealed a clear correlation between employee recognition and employee happiness. Data from the app demonstrated that the more employees used the app to send ‘Fist Bumps’, a Trickle feature designed to offer peer-to-peer praise, the happier people reported feeling via ‘How was your day?’. 

At present the trial is still ongoing and a set of third interviews are set to take place, but the feedback so far from both organisations has been overwhelmingly positive.

To learn more about Trickle and ‘How was your day?‘ please get in touch with us or book a 20 minute demo.

Alternatively you can trial Trickle free for 30-days.

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