How managers can create a wellbeing culture

Lynsey Berwick, Staff Wellbeing Lead at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, shares her tips on how managers can build and maintain a culture of wellbeing in their teams.

As Managers you are quite often the first point of contact for your team when they are struggling. This can sometimes be emotionally draining and have an impact on you and also on the wider team. A healthy team focused on wellbeing leads to a great experience for you and all your team members, and ultimately better care for our patients. 

Here are 10 suggestions of how as a manager you might be able to help to build and maintain a culture of wellbeing into your team:

  1. Most importantly, look after yourself and be the role model of good practice for healthy habits and behaviours – reach out if you need support, speak to your own manager or your peers.

  2. Create a team health and wellbeing space in a visible, accessible space for everyone in the team. This could be a section of a noticeboard, or an online space. Throughout the sections there are ideas of information you can add to this space and ask team members to add anything to do with health and wellbeing as well.

  3. Introduce team check ins and team check outs. Team check ins and check outs are a way to get people to talk about wellbeing on a regular, routine basis. Check ins and check outs can be used at the start or end of the shift, or at the start and end of meetings. One person asks a question, and each team member takes turns to respond. Check ins and check outs are a good way to check the mood of the team, and a good way to check that the basics are in place. Some example questions team members could ask one another: What one word sums up your mood today? What one thing are you looking forward to today/this week? What one thing are you doing to manage your wellbeing today? What’s your favourite habit for mental or physical health? What went well today?

  4. Hold regular wellbeing conversations with your team, having an understanding of what is going on for your team individually will help you understand who might need additional support.

  5. Encourage and allow your staff to access and implement their basic needs, such as taking sufficient breaks and staying hydrated.  Build this in as part of someone’s shift, so staff are more likely to take their break instead of trying to squeeze this in and make sure that you are taking yours, if you are scheduling meetings consider scheduling them for 20 or 50 minutes to allow comfort breaks between, or making a 1:1 a walking meeting – role modelling the behaviour you expect of a healthy team encourages others to do the same.

  6. Actively support the personal development of your staff so they are able to work towards achieving their full potential. Ensure you are also doing the same for yourself.

  7. Ensure a sense of belonging to a particular team/organisation through minimising the number of staff transfers to different wards/environments where possible.

  8. Be available for your staff and listen to what it is they have to say. Schedule a regular slot for 1:1s and prioritise them, this communicates to your team that they are valued and important.

  9. Create an open dialogue – looking to include everyone in meetings, including those who struggle to speak up, helps staff effectively manage their demands and fosters collaborative working.

  10. Encourage interested individuals to become a Wellbeing Champion for your team. Their role is to promote, identify and signpost their colleagues to local and national health and wellbeing support offers. This is a responsibility that is in addition to their day to day role but can help support you in building a team culture focused on wellbeing. Chat with your Wellbeing Lead for more.

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