Project Listen: June update

We continue to make good progress in delivering on our Project Listen commitments. 

BVA Good Workplace Code (‘The Code’)

Momentum is growing around our overarching commitment to provide tools to enable practices to embed The Good Veterinary Workplace  Code (The Code).  A key focus in April was around engaging various stakeholders across the organisation around The Code, with Gudrun Ravetz leading a virtual briefing session for Practice Managers with great engagement and useful feedback.

A gap analysis has been completed to map the 64 recommendations underlying The Code against the available resources and projects in progress.  This has been an enlightening exercise showing the significant resources currently available while also providing a guide for ongoing work.   

Gudrun commented that; “During the first month it has been motivating to engage with various teams, see the level of commitment to The Code, the resources already available and engage with projects in progress.  Building a meaningful and accessible resource hub that provides the support and tools to achieve The Code is a journey that will take time but the work so far has identified that we are starting with a strong base.”

Over the last two years the Joint Venture Council has worked closely alongside the People team on key initiatives.  Hayley Baker, JVP and the People lead on the Joint Venture Council commented “I am proud that as a company, we are committing to not just caring for pets but caring for our colleagues.  I think we all acknowledge there is a recruitment crisis within the Veterinary Industry, but the retention challenge is just as big an issue, but less well publicised.  This is where the Code comes to life, as even small changes within each practice can lead to big changes with regards to colleague experience and therefore overall retention of the workforce.  I am very excited to see how this evolves over the next few years”.

Our commitments to Health & Wellbeing

We prioritised our wellbeing commitments when we considered the phasing of our response to Project Listen.  Our wellbeing handbook is now available in all practices and we continue to receive positive feedback from JVPs, Practice Managers and colleagues.  We are also building up the resources available to support colleagues around financial wellbeing as we recognise that inflationary pressures are impacting household budgets and promote our colleague hardship fund which is available to all colleagues after 12 months service.

We continue to see the number of Mental Health First Aiders grow – we now have over 420 qualified across practices and hope to achieve 500 by July of this year.  Our partner Talkout has delivered all the training and is working with us to deliver a programme of CPD.  Every month we run a CPD event – in May we covered Loneliness and Isolation.  These events are restricted to qualified mental health first aiders, but they complement the sessions we run which all colleagues can access earlier in the year we had Jim Lawless who delivered a session on resilience and preparing ourselves for change.  

Within Project listen it was highlighted that our colleagues and the veterinary industry face challenges with client and colleague incivility.  In response to this we are partnering with Vetled to deliver civility training.  We like the research and evidence-based approach that VetLed offer - drawing from experiences in other safety critical and caring professions – and the practical application they support and encourage.  The design and delivery plan is being worked up currently with a target date to launch mid/late June this year across all practices.

Our commitments to flexible working

One of the more complex and challenging commitments to land is a flexible working toolkit for practices.  During April, a small project team – including clinical, People and Operations specialists – met for a 3 days workshop to evaluate the current evidence and information available both internally and externally (and there is a lot!).  From here, they have started translating this into a high level 1st draft of a practical toolkit.  There is much to do on this in the coming months and we anticipate that the toolkit will be ready in the autumn.  We are keen to test the tools and approach thoroughly in practices before national deployment as we recognise the importance of turning the evidence and insight we have into practical tools.

Over the last few months, we’ve been developing a new operating model which will be the template for new practice openings in the future. We have started the roll out of the model, which has been well received by clinical and non-clinical colleagues alike. The vets are finding it to be an efficient way of working which gives them more time to focus on patient care and manage their workload, and we are continuing to learn and refine with their feedback. So far, we have introduced the model in 8 practices and have a plan in place to introduce it in many more over the coming months.

Our commitment to work benefits

Our RewardHub has been launched and is gathering momentum!  Colleagues are benefiting from access to our range of benefits and the discounts available through a broad range of retailers.  Once colleagues access the portal, engagement is high.  We need to do more to encourage uptake of this valuable platform. This is and will continue to be a focus in the coming months.

We recently shared a prototype of the total reward statements we will be launching in the summer. The statements will be available to all colleagues and will provide the detail of their overall package.  Feedback has been exceptional.  The team are planning to complete a pilot in the coming weeks to test the functionality and we are on track to launch to all colleagues in 3-4 months depending on how the pilot goes.  

Read the April updates

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