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Sharing Ideas and Issues

As a Trainee Internal Auditor carrying out audits mostly for a single acute hospital Trust, I found it useful to attend their monthly staff briefs as often as possible as a way of getting to know who’s who and finding out about new developments.

So when the regular session underwent a change in format to become less formal and more led by questions and topics raised by those present, I was slightly sceptical and supposed it might no longer be of such benefit to me. How wrong I was! 

The first relaunched “TeamTalk” I went to was very well attended by a range of colleagues from right across the Trust. It’s a great opportunity for all staff to get involved, highlight issues or anything they're proud of and want to share and discuss.  Everybody is encouraged and welcome to come along for the hour (or even part of) and feedback their views to senior colleagues.

Once the ball has been set rolling on a subject raised, there is usually plenty of discussion among Trust colleagues. This often ultimately relates to how we can continue to improve care for our patients and how we can best look after each other.  One topic tends to lead into another, going quite straightforwardly from decluttering offices and storerooms, via the familiar environment we are blind to, to undertaking peer reviews and challenging normalised behaviours.

It’s really positive to hear the exchange of ideas, knowledge and information between colleagues from separate teams and at different levels. Offers of cross-department support are invariably made and contact details exchanged.  Staff are able to broaden their perspective and learn from the experience of others.  A question from a member of Recruitment produced a flood of excellent examples of teams engaging with new employees prior to their start date, whilst another query sparked a lively debate on resolving difficult situations.

Frequently a common theme becomes apparent in the thoughts and suggestions contributed in response to individual matters discussed, validating the usefulness of a particular tool and reinforcing the Trust’s values. For example, conversations originally about security, vacancies and HR policies could all be linked back to attaining a fair and just culture.  Other times a simple solution to a specific query or problem is proposed by a fresh pair of eyes, such as ways to best connect with a select but dispersed and changeable target audience within the Trust.

A summary of the points talked about at each session is communicated to all employees afterwards.

Whilst suggested adjustments to the format, timing and delivery of the interactive staff get-togethers continue to be trialled to improve its effectiveness and reach, TeamTalk has become a regular fixture in my diary and I look forward to seeing the results of positive changes inspired by it.

I would highly recommend to audit colleagues that they give similar local sessions held by their client a go if they want to keep in touch with current Trust issues and news which may often be relevant to their audit work, with the added benefit of making themselves visible and approachable to the client.