#ThisisNPH - Respecting Each Other Case Study
When Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) came to us, there had been a handful of instances of banter and comments that had raised some concerns; nothing that had led to any action and the sorts of examples which are pretty commonplace in working environments. But John, the L and D Manager and Julie, the Assistant Director of HR took a very forward-thinking approach, preferring to take proactive steps to embed the right culture, rather than wait for something more serious to happen.
Around the same time, NPH had developed its Behavioural Competency Framework, using staff focus groups to capture what they thought about how they should treat each other as colleagues. Seven competencies form the Framework, one of which is “Respecting Each Other”. This was the perfect title and “hook” on which to design and develop the programme to address the banter incidents.
NPH had 4 clear objectives:
- To help all employees understand where the lines are between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour and what we really mean by “Respect” in the workplace
- To build managers’ confidence to role model and nip inappropriate behaviour in the bud
- To raise visibility, awareness and importance of their new behavioural framework
- To ensure the behavioural changes were sustainable
We worked closely with the HR and L and D teams to design a programme with a staged approach to meet the 4 objectives and particularly to bring the behavioural framework to life.
- The first stage was to run a series of full day interactive workshops for the leadership team and then for all managers at every level. This helped them understand the importance of behaving with respect and inclusion, as an essential foundation in the workplace. It also allowed them to think about how to lead from the front and gave them an opportunity to look at scenarios they might encounter and how to deal with them
- The second stage was to roll out a series of half day interactive sessions for all employees, with mixed groups made up of participants from all departments - from repair and maintenance to finance
- The third stage was to put a number of steps in place to ensure the learning was embedded. This included:
- Encouraging Managers to hold a debrief discussion with their teams and keep workplace behaviour on future team meeting agendas
- Setting up a group of “Respect Champions”. There are 5 from different teams who take on the role for 12 months. We supported them with a dedicated session to help them take on the role with confidence - particularly in terms of understanding the boundaries of the role and the proactive part they could play
- Developing the existing Induction process to incorporate a specific session on Respecting Each Other – all new employees attend this half day workshop
- A dedicated session for the Board to ensure the right behaviours are being led from the very top
- Speak Up sessions have been piloted - highly practical sessions to give everyone the confidence to speak up on behalf of themselves or others, if they feel uncomfortable
The programme has made an impact in a number of areas:
- Over 200 people have attended the programme with 97% rating the facilitation as excellent and 87% saying they could apply the things they had learned
- We ran a confidence check for all managers before and after the programme with clear outcomes demonstrated.
- “I am confident I know what is and isn’t appropriate” rose from 35% to 63%
- “I am confident that I consistently role model appropriate behaviour” jumped from 12.5 to 42% in the “all the time” category
- “I am confident that know when to “nip things in the bud” rose from 32% to 47% in the “all the time” category
- The NPH biannual Employee opinion survey showed the following increases:
- 54% of employees agreed that the senior management team treat employees with respect in 2016 and rose to 66% in 2018
- 60% of employees agreed that their line manager treats all individuals/team members with respect in 2016 and rose to 70% in 2018
- John Chambers L and D manager has commented that “The word “respect” is heard a lot more in conversations around the office. It is clear that as a word it has become embedded within day to day language and is often used in a light-hearted situation showing people are aware of the impact that their behaviour and the behaviour of others can have”
- One of the champions shared that had it not been for the workshops and her role, an incident may have not been “nipped in the bud” and a relationship rescued
- Mike Kay, CEO, commented “This has been a really important initiative for us. It is not always easy for people to know where the boundary lines are drawn, and the programme Focal Point designed for us really worked for everyone because it was, down to earth, practical and helped raise awareness through active participation. How we behave with and towards one another is crucial for creating a happy, safe and productive working environment and this has been an important part of creating and sustaining that culture”