Renewing our purpose, vision and values is part of a wider alignment of the organisation’s culture that is currently occurring. As an organisation, we need to be values driven. At the heart of these values there is a need to reflect the intrinsic dignity of every person and the fact that in health we are entrusted and privileged to be able to care for people. This is a profound responsibility that can be lost in the business of everyday service delivery – our purpose, vision and values help remind us of the importance of what we are doing and why we are doing it.
Our wider work programme developing our culture and values has clearly defined our organisation’s purpose:
- to prevent, ameliorate and cure ill health
- to promote wellness
- to relieve suffering of those entrusted to our care
The vision, our promise statement, is "Best Care for Everyone". Our focus on Best Care for Everyone means we strive to offer the best care we can to every person and their family receiving our services.
Our vision and values represent our guiding principles to achieve our purpose, to inspire us to seek to be the best we possibly can always. They remind us that in healthcare, there are many people working together to improve health outcomes, that as a community we must have a deep respect for each other and that we need to work together with our community to achieve our purpose.
Our vision and values also serve as a decision rule for staff undertaking discretionary action – action for which there is no clear decision rule. When there is not a previously identified “right thing to do” staff can refer to the values as an aid in making this decision: “is what we are planning for this patient consistent with our values?” The values that are more likely to be used in such a circumstance are those that connect directly to staff member's own personal values.
Therefore, our aim was to develop a set of organisational values that help reconnect staff to the reasons they choose to work in health care.
What have we done?
In January 2012 more than 100 representatives from Waitemata DHB, Primary Health Organisations (PHO), Non-Government Organisations (NGO), Health Links [a group of community representatives from the Waitemata district] and our community participated in our yearly 2012/13 annual plan workshop. We took the opportunity to discuss the organisation’s promise statement and values.
The senior leadership team had previously identified some ‘territories’ the values should evolve from:
- clear / overt people focus
- emotional / compassion/care focus
- aspirational professional benchmark / standards across all job types/tasks
- connection with the community – staff and external population
The workshop attendees participated in robust discussion on the principles and a draft set of values was generated.
We then held six interactive meetings with staff at a variety of locations, asking them to consider the proposed draft values and provide feedback. Again, there was robust discussion and while staff were very supportive of the value principles they were less supportive of the value words. Further feedback was sought and the outcome of the consultation was presented to the senior management team in June and July 2012.
The senior management team agreed with the renewed purpose, vision and values, and recognised that while the value words were important, so too were the supporting explanations that accompany each value word as these were key for ensuring understanding of the promise and values. The Promise Statement and the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) agreed values and supporting explanations were then finalised.
Next, we rolled out the values across the organisation and began working with our staff to develop a set of behaviours that support the new values.
Approximately 200 ‘Values Champions’ were identified throughout the organisation and were invited to attend a series of training workshops. Each of the champions were responsible for working with their teams to better understand how they reflect the values in their everyday work and identify the behaviours that support the values.
We also developed a series of videos with staff and patients telling their stories and stating their expectations of what ‘living these values’ look like in real life. These videos are used in learning sessions and are available to all staff on our intranet.
All of the information completed by the values champions and their teams was collated and analysed by our values project team. The project team is a multidisciplinary group with staff from our human resources, planning and funding, nursing, allied health, public health and communications departments. A group of themes and a draft set of standards and behaviours were developed.
Where to from here?
We are now planning to work with our community and consumers to ensure our values and the behaviours that reflect these values mirror what matters to them, their needs and expectations.
Our purpose, promise and values will be the anchor for all we do within the organisation.