As the Operations Manager of an East Midlands based youth organisation, Ruth was feeling increasingly frustrated by the behaviours of staff within her team.
It had just been announced there would be spending cuts in local government but they had secured funding to continue operating as a provider of employability skills training. As an organisation they were undergoing a culture change and mindfulness was an approach they wished to explore. The organisation were becoming much more results orientated; the focus was increasingly on measuring outcomes and assessing impact.
Some staff were resistant to the change, wanting to work “the way they always had”. Others were simply struggling to realign their skills with the new performance indicators. The aim of the intervention was; “to lead a team that were compliant with the new ways of working and would be able to deliver results despite an increasing caseload, in order to drive the organisation forward.”
Our method would assess the needs of the organisation and deliver a bespoke programme to introduce and then embed mindfulness based approaches in the organisation, staff and young people (clients).
After the organisation’s free consultation that identified learning and development needs and preferences the course material was developed. Throughout this process all material was approved by the host organisation. This meant at the point of delivery we ensured work remained relevant and there were no surprises. It also allowed us to ensure we could meet any emerging needs.
It became apparent that Ruth and her team would benefit from mindfulness-based interventions that focused on helping her an her team respond rather than react to emerging pressures and challenges whilst at the same time developing and maintaining positive relationships with young people. More specifically mindfulness would help them to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them, to accept increased delivery demands and to shift their focus while still feeling positive about their roles.
Practicing mindfulness can give individuals better insight into their emotions, boosting attention, concentration and improving relationships (by promoting being fully present in the moment rather than preoccupied). This had applications for the staff’s engagement with their clients, but importantly could provide the young people with a better learning experience, enhanced self-awareness and self-esteem.
At an organisational level they were required to increase the productivity and motivation of employees, reduce absenteeism, staff turnover and to nurture a culture that could accept and deal with change. It was important for the existing team, with its extensive experience to remain intact and implement the processes and procedures to measure and record the Key Performance Indicators outlined in their funding requirements.
Ruth and her staff are now much less stressed at work and are implementing a robust set of procedures to measure the outcomes and impacts the work has. Staff are now much more compliant with the new focus and really see it as providing evidence of the effect their work has on young people. As a result job satisfaction increased and staff turnover has been reduced.
“Staff now have access to learning and development opportunities that will continue to develop their self-awareness, emotional intelligence and provide the skills needed to embed mindfulness-based approaches into our programmes.”.
Since delivering the initial project Now Unlimited has provided additional mentoring and peripheral services to enable staff to continue to adjust to the new ways of working and nurture continued culture change and mindfulness practices.