How Helen Sanderson MBE Has Created People-Centric Workplaces

In: BlogDate: Jul 13, 2021By: Henry Stewart

Helen Sanderson originally set up Wellbeing Teams in 2016 with the aim of radically changing the way health and social care is delivered. Inspired by the Dutch care company Buurtzorg, Wellbeing Teams are small, neighbourhood self-managed care teams. They have coaches, but no managers.

Find out how Helen created Wellbeing Teams as a self-managing organisation that is focused on letting team members be human with each other in Henry's blog.

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Imagine a care team that, compared to traditional home care organisations, has one third less sickness, five times better staff retention and where people are five times less likely to end up in hospital.

That is what Wellbeing Teams have achieved in Thurrock.

Helen Sanderson founded Wellbeing Teams. Inspired by the Dutch care company Buurtzorg, Wellbeing Teams are small, neighbourhood self-managed care teams. They have coaches, but no managers.

Helen attended the first Happy Workplaces Conference at Google in 2014. Encouraged by the ideas of trust and freedom, the real eureka moment came when she read Reinventing Organisations by Frederick Laloux.

"My father died when he was 53, and as I approached my 50th birthday it set me thinking. If I only had three years left, what would I do to make a difference?

"I was so excited by Buurtzorg and in my organisation, HSA, I stepped down from CEO to create a self-managing organisation."

Helen originally set up Wellbeing Teams in 2016 with the aim of radically changing the way health and social care is delivered. At their first CQC inspection in 2019 they were rated Outstanding.

After three years as a provider of home care, Helen has now moved to providing support for local authorities and care providers in putting the Wellbeing Teams model into practice.

That is what is happening at Thurrock, where — based on the results above — the Corporate Director is exploring expanding Wellbeing Teams across their care provision. Camden Council are also developing their own Wellbeing Teams supported by Helen and her team.

Helen has been immersed in the development of person-centred practices in the UK over the last twenty years. She was the Department of Health's expert advisor on person-centred approaches to the Valuing People Support and Putting People First Teams and co-authored the first Department of Health Guidance on person-centred planning, and the 2010 guidance 'Personalisation through person-centred planning'.

"What I like to explore is how we be human with each other in the workplace, recognising we spend more time there with colleagues than with our families. How do we make the workplace be somewhere we grow and develop as people, not just for our careers?"

Hear more from Helen at the 2021 Happy Workplaces Conference

Helen will be talking at the 2021 Happy Workplaces Conference on 22nd July on five key priorities for greater autonomy. Expect lots of detail and some good stories.

Other speakers at the conference include leadership gurus Tom Peters, David Marquet and Bruce Daisley.

Find out more about the event and book your place

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Next Conference: 2022 Happy Workplaces Conference

The Happy Workplaces Conference is our biggest event of the year, and we are very excited to announce that our 2022 event will be on 12th May! Once again we will be using Zoom to host the event, as it has been such a huge success online.

As always, HW22 will be hugely interactive with lots of discussion, laughter and opportunities to meet other people who are committed towards creating happy workplaces.

Save the date for 2022 and save 50% with our Early Bird discount!

Find out more and book your place

What can you expect from an online Happy conference?

  • Interactive and engaging - just like our face-to-face events
  • Regular discussions in break out rooms with other attendees
  • Fun activities to keep you involved throughout the day
  • A focus on stories, real-life scenarios and 'nickable' ideas

Henry Stewart, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer

Henry is founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd, originally set up as Happy Computers in 1987. Inspired by Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick, he has built a company which has won multiple awards for some of the best customer service in the country and being one of the UK’s best places to work.

Henry was listed in the Guru Radar of the Thinkers 50 list of the most influential management thinkers in the world. "He is one of the thinkers who we believe will shape the future of business," explained list compiler Stuart Crainer.

His first book, Relax, was published in 2009. His second book, the Happy Manifesto, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for Business Book of the Year.

You can find Henry on LinkedIn and follow @happyhenry on Twitter.

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