Posted: 19 January 2021
Vicky Jackson was only days into her new role as Head of People Development at MHA when the organisation saw that COVID-19 was going to dramatically change how they delivered care and support across their services
In the second of her blogs Vicky reflects on how asking the organisation’s 7000 colleagues and 4000 volunteers about their experiences during the early part of the pandemic shaped their Wellbeing responses.
In June 2020 our wellbeing survey was launched to all colleagues across MHA and was developed free of charge with our partner organisation who provide our regular engagement surveys. The survey provided absolutely invaluable feedback about the challenges that our colleagues were facing, and their candid responses really supported us in developing our Covid-19 wellbeing strategy further.
Following completion of the survey each respondent was provided with an overall wellbeing rating of red, amber or green. That meant we could provide them with tailored signposting of resources, and support that may be suitable for them to use based on their rating.
We discovered our overall Emotional Wellbeing Index score was 72%, which was in line with average Emotional Wellbeing Index score across the sector. Whilst this was good to see we recognised that we still needed to provide additional support based on the results of the survey.
Our next step was to createa series of two-hour webinars on a variety of topics which were delivered internally by members of the People Development team. These webinars were designed to provide further support for our colleagues on a variety of wellbeing topics including;
- Exploring personal resilience
- Introduction to resilience
- Working positively from home
- Looking after your physical health
- Having honest conversations
- Compassionate leadership
- Leading teams remotely
- Managing anxiety
To further support our frontline colleagues we partnered with a skilled counsellor to provide virtual reflective group sessions for up to six colleagues at a time. These proved to be valuable for colleagues following the first wave, and for care homes that had been particularly affected by Covid-19.
The sessions enabled small groups of colleagues within the same care home to reflect together with the counsellor about what they had experienced, the impact this had on them and how they could look to move forward and support each other. As we entered the second wave of the pandemic we started to see an increased uptake in this service.
We also recognised that not only were our paid staff finding managing the impact of COVID-19 challenging, both physically and emotionally, but our brilliant volunteers were also finding it tough. To meet this need we negotiated with our Employee Assistance Provider so our 24/7 phone line and 1-2-1 confidential counselling service was available to our volunteers at no extra cost.
We also took some of the information from our Wellbeing Toolkit to create a Wellbeing Newsletter which was sent out to all our volunteers.
MHA are lucky that we have our own internal chaplaincy team and throughout the pandemic they used their expertise to provide a 24/7 phone support line for both colleagues and relatives of our residents. Phoning the dedicated number and leaving a message with your contact details meant a chaplain would contact you back within 24 hours to provide support, guidance and a listening ear.
Through the wellbeing survey it was identified that colleagues within our Central Support teams were experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation as they were working from home since like most organisations we switched to virtual working on 23 March 2020.
To support these colleagues to connect again a 24/7 Virtual Lounge was set up. People can just ‘pop in’ for a coffee and a relaxed chat with colleagues that they may not be connecting with as regularly as they were when they were back in the physical office space. This room can also be used to book social events such as quizzes and sharing skills so colleagues can learn something new.
The blog series:
- Part one: Vicky reflects on how the entire organisation followed their One MHA ethos to implement wellbeing Initiatives throughout the pandemic supporting more than 7000 colleagues and 4000 volunteers. ⇨ Read the Blog
- Part three: In the final blog Vicky will look at what MHA will be doing to support their staff and volunteers when the pandemic is over. ⇨ Read the Blog