17 December 2018

Business Development Unit: creating meaningful connections

Read about what motivated the team to start this Enjoying Work project and what they have tested so far in this blog by Lilu Wheeler, Business Development Projects Manager and QI project team leader.

The main aim of this Enjoying Work project is for us to feel happier at work. Feeling happier makes for a nicer environment to work especially as we spend a lot of our time here. This enables us to have better working relationships and be more productive. To measure this outcome we wanted to increase our Good Day Measure by 10% from baseline.

There were many changes within the team last year. Some long-term staff had left followed by a turnover of staff with just two people remaining. A new Associate Director started in the team and set to work helping with recruitment. We needed consistency and resources. In addition, we were moved to new offices which meant our team was split in two.

Alternative job titles: celebrating talents within the team and creating equality.

Essentially, it felt like things were done to us rather than the team having a voice and being able to make decisions collectively. Though we were very productive as a team, meetings were task-focused, ticking off to do lists with little focus on people. We were seeing high volumes of work but we were essentially reactive and not proactive. The recruitment of new team members and the Associate Director gave us a great opportunity to look at our processes and how we wanted to work as a new team.

Setting priorities and testing change

We went for an easy win for our first change idea by trying to create an aesthetically pleasing office. Sadly with the lack of light in the office, the plants we acquired died. We pulled together a matrix comparing what was most important to what most needed improving. We realised that a nice office didn’t make us happy in the long-term. We were trying quick fixes and on their own they don’t make a huge difference. What mattered to us was resourcing, remote/ flexible working and training and progression opportunities.

Flexible working helped not only child friendly practice and work adjustments but also supported the team generally. We are introducing new staff to the BDU over the next few months so the results of this won’t be realised for a few weeks at least. Hopefully better resources will mean we get opportunities to shadow other teams, learn and attend corporate events.

Reflecting on change ideas

We added ideas as we went along and have been setting up networking lunches with other teams. These meet-ups are about getting to know staff individually rather than staff we need information from. It has helped us to approach each other and communicate more effectively which helps when we have deadlines! It also helps to appreciate what each other does.

Sarah, BDU’s mascot, is outspoken, fun and a great listener. Also gives great ‘huggles’ (hugs+cuddles).

We learnt that though people were generally satisfied, one ‘incident’ can change how we feel, much like how patient-facing services react to an incident. For example this could be a colleague handing in their notice that day. It made a difference when we reflected on difficult situations and it helps to have time to step back and reflect. Part of learning is accepting that moments like these happen and being able to reflect and see it objectively. It helps to look back at your values as a team and why you do what you do. Our mascot is still reflective of us despite some changes in the team.

Tips for other teams

Putting the matrix together really helped us to decide where to focus our efforts, otherwise the team could spend energy on areas that will give little return.

What is next for the BDU enjoying work project?

We have more teams we would like to network with, that’s going to be ongoing. Our next steps will be to look at career plans and shadowing opportunities. Any offers from other departments to host our staff would be gratefully received. The Team will be almost fully recruited in January.




Learn more about the project here: 

Watch a video poster presentation made by the team at the 2019 ELFT Quality Conference>>

Project Driver Diagram:


Please find some of the team’s supporting documents:

Matrix Sheet

Matrix Graph

Draft QI responses matrix


Note from the Project Lead: Please see below for videos I used to help create the matrix I showed. I have also attached the graph and Excel sheet for your information as requested. We pulled together change ideas using post-it notes and created a Driver Diagram in Life Qi.

The matrix was created by asking staff to rank the change ideas (Draft Q Matrix) in order of a) most important and b) Most needing change. I used Survey Monkey to do this.



















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