To understand what we learned from our organisational response to the pandemic, towards the end of 2020, we commissioned an independent review from Lucy Hurst-Brown of Blue Giraffe Vision. Lucy interviewed stakeholders from across Certitude to assess our performance and evaluate our learning. We have subsequently used this learning to inform our work as the pandemic has continued to affect day to day life in 2021.
1. Leadership and values
Certitude’s leadership team responded quickly and effectively to the crisis. Our Business Continuity Plan and COVID-19 Task Team proved effective. The calm, measured approach of our CEO, Aisling Duffy, gave staff confidence that the organisation was on top of the crisis. Certitude’s unique core values provided direction for difficult decisions.
We have continued with a Covid Task Team throughout 2021 as well as regular Leadership Team meetings focusing on our response to Covid to ensure we are able to respond to and where possible pre-empt the impact of government guidance.
Support workers demonstrated enormous commitment and coped very well with the extreme pressures, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic. Central staff, such as our Finance team, also worked hard to ensure important functions like payroll continued despite huge levels of disruption.
The compassion and commitment of our staff meant they were prepared to go above and beyond to ensure the people we support got the best possible care. However, we have also learned that as strict COVID-19 regimes remained in place, levels of anxiety in staff did rise.
We recognise that people have continued to go above and beyond for far longer than initially envisaged. Our focus this year has been supporting people’s health and wellbeing including ensuring colleagues have access to the right support when needed, identifying the ways in which a long-term combination of office and home working can maximise both people’s productivity and wellbeing.
While broad messaging throughout the pandemic proved successful, delivering large quantities of constantly updated, detailed material to all colleagues proved a challenge and we have learned that getting internal communications right is important. Channelling all Covid updates through our intranet hub and introducing online all Certitude meetings have been a couple of ways we have streamlined information and increased connectivity and engagement.
4. Decision making
Quickly establishing a COVID-19 Task Team enabled quick and effective decision making and the Leadership Team is applying this approach to other internal projects. However, the review also noted that, in some instances, the lack of face-to-face contact between operational staff and remote working managers, created a decision-making gap.
We have over the year reintroduced face to face meetings where possible, bringing people back together has been hugely positive whilst continuing the benefits of ensuring choice and control over decision making is kept as close to the people being supported and their teams as possible.