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This is who we are [tales from an NHS trust]

Sally Northeast has one of the longest job titles in the world. She is Deputy Director, Organisational Development, Participation and Communications at Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust. It suits her. Sally is generous and uber talented, and she has kindly agreed to share her compassion, enthusiasm, excellence and expertise in the field of health comms and engagement at the Granicus Digital Engagement Summit on 20 September in London. Here’s a warm-up to Sally’s talk in which she’ll share tips for putting staff at the heart of your brand, and why that’s so important:


This week I’ve been on a panel to shortlist finalists for our staff heroes awards. This is one of my favourite jobs of the year, along with running the ceremony where people receive their awards. It’s a timely reminder, when you work at the centre of an organisation, that it’s all about people.

Reading through the nominations for the awards, I was struck by the way these people’s stories came alive. Some were written so well, you almost felt like you knew the person. These staff, whether back office or frontline, have made such an impact that another person was moved to make sure they were recognised for their efforts.

My team of communications, organisational development and participation specialists works incredibly hard to ensure people are connected, both inside and outside the organisation. We nurture and support a culture that enables people to be better every day through compassion, excellence and expertise (our vision). Our efforts have real results with, for example, our NHS Staff Survey score for staff engagement increasing year on year.

And yet, an individual’s real experience of us as an organisation will be based on the people they’ve come into contact with. Whether you’re a member of our staff, a patient or service user, a carer or a partner, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

That’s why our people are at the heart of the way we communicate about ourselves, both to colleagues and the outside world. Through photography, video and case studies, we tell the story of our trust through the people who work for us and with us and through the people we serve.

Earlier this year we ran our annual Road to Wellness Awards, celebrating people who’ve battled hard in their recovery from both physical and mental health issues. The stories we heard were inspiring and humbling, and clearly illustrate the strength of the human spirit in overcoming adversity.

These people demonstrate, more than any press release, the value of our services and the real difference they make to people’s lives. As long as we remember that in all our communications, we’ll be spreading the word with authenticity and heart.


Give your team a morale boost!

Wherever you work in the public sector, sometimes winning an award can help bring a team together and restock energy levels. We encourage you to enter your best people and communications and digital projects into the Digital Strategy Awards by 12 August. Your hard work deserves recognition and we’d love to help celebrate your achievements. Winners will be announced on 20 September at #GranicusSummitUK.

awards 2018