One-page profiles for staff

In a few weeks time I am working with the Co-production group from Think Local Act Personal, to support them to develop their one-page profiles. The group want to have one-page profiles as a way to get to know each other better and in particular, how to support each person to be as effective as possible in their important role. It is encouraging to see so many organisations making a similar commitment for all staff as well as everyone they support to have a one-page profile.

Aisling, CEO of Certitude, explains why, in an email to all the staff:

"We believe that the more we understand about our colleagues the better we are in our jobs. This is why we are committed to supporting everyone in Certitude to develop their own one page profile and share these with their team colleagues. I know many of you already have one page profiles or are working on them as part of our commitment as a person centred organisation, which is great. Tools, such as these, do not in themselves create a person centred organisation but alongside our unwavering commitment to a culture of openness and communication, go a long way in creating the conditions where being truly person-centred is business as usual at Certitude."

If you read my blogs you will know that I am always concerned that one-page profiles do not simply become 'better paper', but make a difference. I was invited to attend a meeting with an organisation that are working to implement Individual Service Funds. The chair of the meeting asked everyone to bring their one-page profile to the meeting. She started the meeting, by asking everyone to introduce themselves using their one-page profile and share something that is important to them, and also one thing from the section that would be helpful for others to know, so that everyone knew how to support each other in the project.

If you visit the offices of Real Life Options, you will see a printed folder on the table at reception that introduces all of the head office staff through their one-page profiles. Upstairs, where the offices are, the Director's one-page profiles are framed on the walls. If you go to Dimensions website, all the Directors introduce themselves through their one-page profiles.

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One of the most powerful ways that one-page profiles are used is in matching staff to the people who use the service or in recruiting new staff. This requires the information in a one-page profile to extend beyond what matters to people about their work, and includes hobbies, and interests too.  As matching this way is usually only done with direct support staff, most managers have not included information about their home life on their one-page profiles.

I started to think about the message that this could give - that we wanted direct support staff to share more about their lives, but if you were a manager, you did not need to?  When I talked to a senior manager about this, she was surprised that I saw this as an issue. "Why would it make a difference for my team to know that I love horse-riding?" she asked. I think it could make a big difference. I know that Michelle is a keen (and award-winning!) darts and dominoes player for a team, playing on Monday nights.  This means that I can ask her how it is going (actually - it is more good natured teasing!) and try to avoid any work commitments that would impact on her Monday nights. I can celebrate her wins with her and if I saw something  (silly, cheap!) related to dominoes or darts, consider getting it for her, or have a birthday card themed around darts. I asked Michelle whether this made a difference to her and this is what she said….

"Most staff would rate feeling valued at work as one of the things that is important to them, and in this I am no different. Knowing that I work in a team that wants to get to know me as a whole person, not just a worker gives me a sense of belonging and worth, that pay and other incentives don't give. I'm very passionate and enthusiastic (if not talented) about my involvement in a darts and dominoes league, however my team at HSA knowing this, not only informs them about how I like to spend time on a Monday evening, but also informs them of my competitive nature (I hate losing a game of dominoes!) and also about being a real team player. I also know that I am supported when I plan my diary in a way that avoids work which would result in me missing out on playing, which helps me to manage my work life balance a little better!"

At HSA our public one-page profiles were based on work. We have now updated them to reflect more of our lives - at home and at work. I think that one-page profiles that help people know what is important to you at work, and how to support you to do your best work are great. I think that one-page profiles that help us learn about each other as whole people are even better, and make it possible for us to have deeper relationships with our colleagues.

What do you think?

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