East Sussex Healthcare Trust: Aspiring leaders

A collaborative approach to delivering external training in ‘the ESHT way’

Case Study

McCrudden Training are so easy to engage with… enthusiasm and devotion comes through. It’s clear that for Nicky, her work is a passion as well as a business.
“I really enjoyed the style of learning that was provided and would highly recommend this course to any managers at any level.”

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) provides NHS hospital and community services throughout East Sussex. It employs 7000 staff of which around 20% are managers of varying levels.

All ESHT’s employees are valued and respected, involved in decisions about the services they provide and offered the training and development that they need to fulfil their roles.

In 2019 the Trust engaged with McCrudden Training to support members of staff who wished to progress their career into management.

The Need

“Every year the NHS runs a national survey and a constant theme within this is people being equipped to do their role, to stretch and develop their careers, give them an opportunity to progress” says Susie Crawley, Organisational Development Manager, ESHT. “There’s also a theme about staff feeling that line managers are listening to them and that they are valued.”

Over the previous few years, the Trust has had been investing in managers to good effect, achieving the desired results in the national survey. However, Susie now wanted to look beyond this, at how staff who wanted to take the next step in their career, into a management role, could be supported better.

She says: “The next step for us was to develop our aspiring leaders, to prepare them for a role in management. We have found in the past that great nurses, fantastic physios and very knowledgeable IT specialists for example, can do their job really well, but when they are given an opportunity to progress their career to the next level, they struggle in their new role. We wanted to develop a training programme that would target the members of staff who were considering a role in leadership and give them an opportunity to dip their toe in the water, to explore for themselves their aptitude for this work.”

The Solution

As the Trust had been working with McCrudden Training on a course for line managers in their first management role since 2014, Susie was tasked with approaching the team to look at delivering the aspiring managers programme to both clinical and non-clinical staff.

The course would help people to explore how they would lead authentically, and the qualities they would need in order to create a positive workplace around them. The Trust was keen for the programme to be delivered in an ‘ESHT’ way. ESHT does have its own training team that deliver in-house courses, but they recognised the need for an external provider to support this particular programme.

Susie says: “Working with an external provider allows a far more objective view of what the course needs. You get a worldly viewpoint. We deliver many of our courses in-house but in this situation, we felt it far more appropriate to have that external perspective. And working with Nicky has been a partnership and a collaboration – it isn’t the typical consultancy approach with Nicky. It has been an absolute pleasure. She incorporated everything we wanted into the course. She has such a lovely way of connecting with people, and her knowledge and creativity bring a course to life.”

The Approach

Initially the programme was going to run as a face to face course. There were five modules and the McCrudden Training team would deliver three, with the Trust organisational development team running two of them in order to balance the benefits of an internal programme with learning from the external environment.

The course covered Privilege and social graces (day 1); Introduction to EQ, focusing on intra-personal aspects (day 2); Interpersonal EQ & communication styles (day 3); The best version of me and managing conflict (day 4); Learning review exercise (day 5).

The 2020/21 pandemic meant a decision was taken to give deliver the training with a blended approach. Three modules would be delivered online by Nicky McCrudden, and two face-to-face sessions would be delivered by the Trust team.
Susie explains: “We felt it was important to retain some face-to-face elements of the training.”

She continues: “Some of our clinicians are unfamiliar with MS Teams events and we wanted to ensure they were engaged in the course. We needn’t have worried though. They were engaged throughout. A particular element that worked well were the breakout sessions, different live rooms where smaller groups could work together online.”

The Results

Staff who attended the training also appreciated being given reading prior to the course starting.

Susie says: “These courses were delivered after a period when staff had been under immense pressure so in order to ensure their wellbeing and to limit the time the courses would take, allow for an earlier start, later finish, and regular breaks, we gave attendees an opportunity to absorb information before the session.”

Feedback on the course has been extremely positive. 100% of attendees would recommend the course to a friend or relative.

“Amazing course, very interactive. There was a good mixture of tasks with other colleagues and Nicky explaining various concepts”

The Next Steps

A second cohort of ten people commence training in September 2021. We hope further positive feedback from this cohort will mean funding will be available for more courses in the future. The demand has been high. People want to explore – it is a real niche about exploration into the role of manager.”

“I have learned a lot during this training. I am hoping there will be more training for others as it is very interesting and informative. Keep up the good work. More power to McCrudden Training.”

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