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Creating the conditions for a culture of joy in work

By using a whole system collaboration to reset the culture in a workforce that has been in an ongoing state of change from Covid 19

Read comments 9 Project updates 1
  • Winning idea
  • 2020

Meet the team


  • Leigh Ritchie
  • Gayle Hutchings
  • Lianne Conville

What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

During Covid19 clinical teams were required to adapt daily to respond to the challenging circumstances whilst continuing to deliver safe, effective, person-centred care. Burnout affects all aspects of the pursuit of better health and healthcare reducing levels of staff engagement, correlating with lower service-user experience.

NHS Forth Valley is working in partnership with (NES), Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and IHI as part of a Value Management Collaborative the aim of which is to test and spread an approach that has demonstrated positive impact in reducing costs, improving staff engagement/morale and improving patient safety. The collaborative was hibernated during Covid but we continued to work with teams to identify areas for improvement including capturing real-time feedback to increase staff well-being and staff experience throughout this very challenging time .

The VM approach has enabled us to  focus on culture,relationships and creating conditions for people to thrive in a culture of continuous improvement.  .

What does your project aim to achieve?

Using a whole system collaboration we will reset the culture in a workforce enduring constant change from Covid 19, creating a culture where everyone takes joy in their work. By achieving this we will sustain a workforce that feels hopeful, confident and safe and  improve, patient experiences and safety throughout NHS Forth Valley and beyond.

  • We will embed the principles of IHI Joy in Work
  • We aim to improve staff experience recognising that this is a fundamental cornerstone of high quality services we will measure this using pulse surveys, staff stories/case studies
  • We will also monitor sickness absence  and turnover data

We have robust measures of staff well-being to assess the impact of our approach. Early work demonstrated a positive impact of our multi-facted intervention in three teams .

With funding, we plan to spread our approach to 3 more teams over 3 months and a further 6 teams over 6 months

How will the project be delivered?

  1. We will use improvement science to identify, test and sustain approaches to improving joy in work within our organisation.
  2. Work with Organisational Development to understand what staff are telling us from survey data and appreciative enquiry discussions
  3. Use funding to recruit project support/facilitator   to spread the approach tested and deliver improvements
  4. Share staff experiences and learning from the Value Management Collaborative approach which has resulted in positive outcomes for both staff feeling joyful and engaged which has resulted in improved patient outcomes
  5. Identify teams to be part of a breakthrough series collaborative structure to support shared learning and small scale cycles of testing .
  6. Use the 5 step “staff experience” process in the IHI JiW framework to facilitate this process e.g Ask staff what matters (What gets in the way of great care? / What frustrates you?)
    Identify impediments and prioritise
    Use QI to identify ideas – to test, adapt, sustain and spread,

How is your project going to share learning?

  • We will share the learning through the breakthrough series collaborative and via our National network both within NHS Scotland and through the IHI joy in work community.
  • Participants will share experiences, ideas, enablers and barriers to support us to spread and sustain an organisation-wide approach
  • We will share our learning within the Q Community and seek support and input to develop this work .
  • We will share materials developed for testing via Q twitter space and our own networks.
  •  We would be keen to get support to write-up for publication
  • Develop case-studies to share with Q network
  •  Share Video stories, podcasts  of staff experience and impact
  •  Submit posters and session proposals for QI conferences such as International Forum, National Forum, ISQua

How you can contribute

  • Exploration of digital tools use to support a positive staff culture
  • Connecting with people who have organisationally embedded joy in work and how they have demonstrated impact

Plan timeline

15 Oct 2020 Continue work on VM with the 3 test teams
21 Mar 2021 Recruit project support, identify 3 further teams
11 Jul 2021 Spread to another 3 teams within 6 months ( 9 teams in total )
9 Jan 2022 Identify and spread approach to another 6 teams - 15 teams

Project updates

  • 23 Sep 2021

    • Progress :We have spread the Value Management approach within the organisation to a further 6 teams and now have 9 teams in total focusing on capturing real time staff experience feedback using this approach to support sustainability . We have been successful in spreading this approach within health and social care to enable spread and share learning . Within the teams we tested ” Trickle ” and electronic platform to capture feedback from staff , and were hopeful in would support sustainability and spread throughout the organisation .
    • Learning : The continuing pressures facing staff throughout the system has continued to be challenging and more than ever we need to capture their experiences and learn from them and support them to embed a positive culture . We have had challenges around staff finding time to focus on this with all the other competing priorities . There have also been a number of well -being initiatives being focused on within the organisation and trying to bring them all together hasn’t been successful . Although we have aligned the principles of Realistic medicine with this project and shared the learning at a recent Symposium . Capturing real time feedback using Menti has proved valuable for the teams .
    • Next Steps : We will continue to work with the 9 teams , share their learning and real time data and feedback to the organisation to focus on ” creating the conditions “
    • Q community : Would be helpful to connect with anyone who is involved with progressing this work and share learning


  1. Hi Wendy and Susan,

    I have a real interest in what you are working in and would love to know how things progress so that we can share locally.  I work as the senior programme manager for workforce at Oxford AHSN and am looking at leadership/staff wellbeing so this project is integral for the NHS at the moment.

  2. Hi Wendy, have you let the 236 members of Q's Joy in Work SIG know about your project: ?


    1. Thanks for this Matthew , I haven't but will share it with them .

  3. Lovely to see this positive idea to pick up from previous work prior to COVID. I'm working with the Health Foundation to identify opportunities for collaboration in Q Exchange. A quick search of ideas has identified over a dozen projects which might link well with yours related to staff well-being. It might be worth having a look at these and see if you can add some support/gain some feedback to develop your idea further.  There is also a Joy in Work special interest group and a Staff Wellbeing group in the Q community that could also give some feedback.

    Good luck with your project, Emma

    1. Thanks so much for your comments and advice Emma,will have a look at these Q groups .

      Really passionate about this work , so fingers crossed .




  4. Guest

    Leigh Ritchie 1 year, 8 months ago

    I believe that joy at work is really important for all staff employed in the NHS even though they are not patient facing.  During the COVID pandemic The Histology lab at Forth Valley Royal Hospital made  joy in work a focus by using the methodology learned via the Value Management Collaborative, this has lead to better staff engagement.

    1. Thanks Leigh, great to see the positive impact this work is having on staff.

  5. Guest

    Lianne Conville 1 year, 8 months ago

    As a manager supporting joy in work and staff wellbeing in a way that is Meaningful to staff is like the holy grail, but we are actually doing it through value management. It’s meaningful because our team has created it themselves, it’s all about what matters to them.

  6. very comprehensive proposal and nailed the questions absolutely on the head. It was detailed in how you are going to deliver and share the project. :P

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