Since 2019, we have conducted the validated Work-Related Quality of Life (WRQoL) survey, service-wide, to help us understand staff wellbeing needs. The survey is administered as part of our staff wellbeing workstream, established in 2018 in the context of NHS England’s then project to understand IAPT staff wellbeing. Since initiating this work, staff wellbeing has moved to the forefront of our service agenda.
Staff wellbeing issue
Without this survey we would not have a composite picture of staff wellbeing – including the potential fluctuations during the COVID-19 pandemic – due to the mix of NHS and other providers delivering the service (the NHS Staff Survey only includes NHS Trust-employed staff).
The WRQoL survey has shown on average (self-reported) ‘moderate’ work-life balance in the service, ‘moderately high’ levels of stress at work, and ‘good’ working conditions and employee engagement across years 2019, 2020 and 2021. In the 2021 survey, TSP staff reported ‘moderate’ overall work-related quality of life – with no significant differences in scores across staff roles. Also in 2021, it showed ‘mid-range’ control at work and general wellbeing – although these scores were significantly dependant on staff roles.
We launched this service-wide staff wellbeing survey to establish baseline feedback and as a basis to collect and analyse year-on-year wellbeing trends. This enabled us to gather annual feedback and measure impact and change.
The WRQoL scale (Easton & Van Laar, 2018; Van Laar, Edwards, & Easton, 2007) is a 23-item psychometric scale used to gauge the perceived quality of life of staff as measured through six psychosocial sub-factors:
- Job and career satisfaction
- Control at work
- General wellbeing
- Work-life balance
- Stress at work
- Working conditions and overall employee engagement.
Individual quality of working life is influenced by direct experience of work, and direct and indirect factors that affect this experience.
Our wellbeing workstream took the lead on implementing the survey, analysing the results and taking forward any relevant actions. We have, for example, implemented ‘compassionate leadership’ training arising from initial survey results (summarised in a separate case study). The workstream is managed by a staff group developing and initiating practical activities to understand, support and improve the wellbeing of all staff working in the service. We also draw upon and seek to apply good practice, share service successes and initiate relevant team training.
Following the 2021 survey, the service wanted to understand more about some of the findings. This related to areas of potential need for some staff groupings and opportunity for development in the service – particularly work control and work-life balance, employee engagement, and stress at work.
The wellbeing workstream group organised three staff focus groups during summer 2022. These were facilitated by someone from outside the service and involved a random sample of staff representing all roles in the team (excluding senior management). A written feedback report of the focus groups provided a deeper qualitative understanding of staff experiences in supplement to the WRQoL survey, which we are now taking on board to implement relevant actions.
Our next steps are to implement relevant developments and improvements arising from the recent staff focus group feedback. We also have a continuing professional development (CPD) budget that we can use for relevant training within the service. We are furthermore exploring refining our staff induction and appraisal processes to incorporate team and individual wellbeing elements. We also plan to embed staff wellbeing as a standard regular item at team meetings, supervisions and line management.