We’ve also been exploring talent development, which for this case study, is a key driver for achieving a vision that all leaders within health and social care will be compassionate leaders by 2030.
Allow us to introduce the inspiring people at Health Improvement and Education Wales (HEIW).
Sitting alongside health boards and trusts, HEIW are the only special health authority within NHS Wales. They have a leading role in the education, training, development and shaping of the healthcare workforce in Wales, supporting high-quality care for people across the country.
Established on 1st October 2018, HEIW brings together three key organisations for health:
- The Wales Deanery
- The NHS Wales Workforce Education and Development Services (WEDS)
- The Wales Centre for Pharmacy Professional Education (WCPPE)
Their purpose is to integrate and grow expertise and capability in planning, developing, sharing and supporting the health workforce. This is to ensure Wales has the right staff, with the right skills, to deliver world-class health and social care to its people.
HEIW has a leading role in the delivery of the leadership agenda in line with the ambition to transform the healthcare workforce in Wales.
HEIW required a bilingual leadership portal that could be accessed by anyone across organisations without the need for a login. However, the biggest challenge faced by the Leadership and Succession team at HEIW was sourcing a platform that had both bilingual functionality that provided high levels of access.
“Our vision is very clearly defined in the workforce strategy for Health and Social Care in Wales: that by 2030, all leaders within health and social care in Wales will be compassionate and collective leaders,’” says Helen Thomas, Assistant Director of Leadership & Succession at HEIW. “Building a social movement around compassionate and collective leadership required a versatile solution that could be easily accessed, was intuitive, professional and engaging.”
HEIW’s aspiration was also to provide those participating on management and leadership events with a highly personalised experience, which would enable them to tailor specific interests, resources and learning pathways reflective of modern learning.
“We needed to provide a personalised environment as well as opportunities for networking so people could connect across different disciplines, professions and organisations,” says Emily Millar, Programme Manager at HEIW. “We wanted people to communicate across diverse networks as well as within their own leadership programme.”
So, what was it about Thinqi that made the Leadership and Succession team at HEIW feel it was the right solution?
For Helen, Thinqi was a modern, intuitive and bilingual solution that was flexible and tailorable to meet their requirements.
Emily agrees. “As soon as we explored the product and its capabilities, it was clear to see we could deliver our vision and more. With Thinqi, we’ve created a whole infrastructure that is publicly available, modern and easy to use and share. This has enabled us to develop and share digital resources across NHS Wales.”
Getting started with new technology can often be daunting, but with the help of the customer success team at Thinqi, Emily found the process both simple and intuitive. “I’ve really enjoyed the experience of getting started on the platform. It’s given us the flexibility and freedom to follow step-by-step guidance as well as design something completely different and bespoke – such as our ‘Talentbury’ event.”
Importantly, both Emily and Helen found that the platform had a robust governance structure that adhered to their strict permissions and ensured that all content could be checked prior to publication.
During the COVID-19 crisis, when many organisations had to adapt quickly to digital learning, Thinqi’s content creation and conferencing features formed a critical part of education and training delivery at HEIW. The ‘Playlists’ feature has enabled HEIW to develop content that could be published and made publicly available. This includes the ability to add playlists of content to learning pathways, as well as adding quizzes and assessments.
“It’s so versatile and provides so many options,” says Emily, reflecting on her experiences creating content with Playlists, which is her favourite feature on the platform. “We are developing tailored materials which we are adapting into digital content. The Playlist functionality provides a building block for resources that can be added to and updated as required.”
This seamless process has enabled even non-account holders to access quality leadership content, as per HEIW’s initial requirement.
The pandemic may have put a hold on face-to-face workplace learning events this year, but with Thinqi, the screen was no barrier to the delivery of a virtual festival of leadership, learning and collaboration. The ‘Talentbury’ festival of leadership was hosted by HEIW in October via Thinqi’s dedicated virtual conferencing tools. Spanning four days, the event was aimed at providing a valuable leadership experience for aspiring clinical and non-clinical executive leaders.
A virtual festival map was created with different ‘stages’ for various topics and speakers. Using Thinqi, delegates could navigate between these areas and book onto the individual workshops most relevant to them.
Sessions were also recorded and later made available as playlist resources via an ‘On Demand’ link.
Having recently scooped Gold at the 2020 Learning Technologies Awards for their digital transformation in response to COVID-19, it’s safe to say that results so far for HEIW have indeed been worth celebrating.
“As networks continue to grow on the portal, in line with GDPR guidelines we are able to gather this data and draw a picture of how different users are accessing the resources,” says Emily. “This indicates to us what’s working and what isn’t.”
“We can look back and see who accessed Talentbury, for example. This helps us to understand who is engaging so we can take positive action and target interventions in response.”
80% progression on organisational objectives
One of the strategic objectives at HEIW was to deliver a digital learning portal which would become a central hub for anyone wanting to access credible, evidence-based leadership and management resources.
“This was the initial vision and when we reviewed our progress recently, we found we were about 80% of the way to achieving it,” says Helen. “The final thing is to embed within the solution a talent management process, which will occur over the next few months. I think we’ve realised this initial vision and we can now go beyond it to really transform the way in which we deliver bilingual easily accessible education and training in an inclusive way.”
“Use of the HEIW leadership resources are really growing and reaching wide audiences,” Emily notes. “I believe that this digital leadership portal is an enabler to help us achieve our vision that by 2030 our leaders across health and social care will be displaying compassionate and collective leadership.”
Increased return on investment for events
The first virtual Talentbury festival was a resounding success with Thinqi.
“Talentbury was, I think, one of the most creative and brave things we’ve done,” says Helen. “Doing that during a time when we were unable to do anything in-person meant that people could continue to engage through synchronous and asynchronous events. For me, Talentbury really pushed the boundaries and proved that virtual learning can be managed effectively.”
Emily agrees. “Talentbury was a huge undertaking and quite intimidating as it involved a 4-day conference with 24 virtual sessions. It was aimed at senior leaders, so needed to be something of a high standard so they would continue to engage throughout the 4 days. Through Thinqi, we were able to create a festival-style event on public-facing web pages with a virtual map for users to engage with and book onto sessions.”
“We had such a diverse and well-established number of speakers,” says Helen. “We were able to record their talks, harness their knowledge and utilise these recording for other leadership programmes. The return on investment has been significant.”
With significant progress made already, what’s next for HEIW and Thinqi?
One of the things Helen is keen to implement is a talent management solution. This will offer the ability to link to success profiles and competence requirements for managers and leaders across the NHS in Wales, enabling both self and peer assessments.
It’s been an impressive few months for HEIW in the face of unprecedented challenges, but this is still only the beginning of their journey with Thinqi.
We can’t wait to see what they achieve next.
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