It seems to me that for much of my working life, I’ve been part of organisations that have claimed to be all about ‘Our People’. In reality, my own experiences often left me wondering whether such statements were entirely honest or accurately representative.
Things have definitely improved since I began my career as a young nurse in the 1980s! That’s not to denigrate my training – I’m proud of it all and to this day I still champion the way I was taught, but the workplace culture back then most certainly left a lot to be desired (character-building, maybe, if I’m being generous).
When, after a 30 year career spent both in and outside of the NHS, I launched Breakthrough Case Management with co-founder, Catrin May, we were focussed on embedding clinical and professional excellence in absolutely everything we do, from the outset. But one other thing we both knew: we wanted to build the type of company we wanted to work for.
As founders, we knew that it was our responsibility to develop a set of shared values that would sit alongside opportunities for career development and build a company that rewarded curiosity, dedication and endeavour with tangible benefits as well as acknowledgement. We both recognised that everybody wants to feel valued and appreciated; respected and supported; empowered and enabled and that, when this happens, real innovation occurs.
We think we’re getting it right. Let’s face it, life is far too short to be unhappy at work. We’ve developed strong support networks for our team as we’ve grown and we continue to build on this. We’ve created different pathways into a career with Breakthrough that includes both employed and self-employed options; we’re recognising worth with various staff benefits including options for share ownership; we’re developing training and offering approved apprenticeships, we’re working ‘with’ our team and listening to their ideas. The working world of the future should be an environment that allows people to thrive not just professionally, but personally too. Our differences should be championed and everybody should have a voice. At Breakthrough, we genuinely want to hear it.
If I’ve learned anything since launching Breakthrough, it’s that great things really can happen when we truly empower ‘our people’ and that innovation can arise from just about anywhere within a truly diverse, inclusive and inspired team.