I’ve heard some organisations are introducing one-page profiles with colleagues – what are the benefits?

The fundamental aim of personalisation is to increase choice and control in the lives of people; to shift from a 'service and system' culture to a culture that focuses on the person and what makes sense in their life, whoever that person is.

 

 Getting Started with one-page profilesAs part of the personalisation agenda, one-page profiles are becoming an increasingly popular way of recording what we appreciate about a person, what really matters to that person from their own perspective and what makes good support for that person; what we need to know and do to support that person in a way that makes sense in terms of the life they wish to lead.

There are several important reasons, if we’re to lift personalisation from the pages of policy documents into practical applications in our work, that it’s just as important for us to devote our time and thought to making one-page profiles with all staff as it is with the people those staff support.

One-page profiles ask universal questions that apply to all human beings. We all have gifts we can contribute, and benefit when these are appreciated; we all have things that are deeply important to us, and reflect this in how we behave in our everyday working lives; and we all need support from other people, our friends and family, our colleagues, our managers and our organisations.

Introducing one-page profiles for staff is therefore simply asking staff to answer the same questions that we ask the people we support, and thus also showing that we aim to support staff in the same person-centred way as we aim to support the people that use services. One-page profiles are not something special that apply only to the lives of people with disabilities. They are a way that any human being can begin good conversations with the people around them about what matters to them and the support they need.

We therefore believe that one-page profiles are a fundamental tool for any organisation wishing to embark on the journey of personalisation. How could we even dream of delivering personalisation without also being person-centred with staff?

We need to have a person-centred culture in order to deliver personalisation. We can’t have a person-centred culture unless we’re being person-centred with staff. We can’t be person-centred with staff unless we know what matters to them and how to support each staff member well, and unless we think together about how best to apply their particular gifts to their work.

It’s not enough just to know this information about staff; we need to be acting on it as well. One-page profiles and the conversations they create are the foundation to this, and this is what we are covering in this paper.

Three reasons for implementing one-page profiles across a whole organisation:

  1. When we use one-page profiles across an organisation, we ‘walk the walk’ because every one of us is sharing person-centred information about ourselves with each other, with people we support and with their families, and we use this to improve the way we value and support each other. One-page profiles with staff model what is expected from staff. We want staff to value the gifts and skills of the people they’re supporting. We want staff to really know what matters to everybody they support, and also to support people in the way that makes sense to them.
  1. We gain a deeper appreciation of how one-page profiles work when we use them with seriousness and commitment in our own lives and work. When staff have one-page profiles that are used properly, we’re paying attention to what matters to them and how to support them – and they will certainly feel valued if that’s put into action by their managers and colleagues. We are using one-page profiles to learn the best ways to respect and support each other, whether we are managers, staff or people who use the service and their families.
  1. We can use one-page profiles to get the best match between the staff member and people that they are supporting, or to match staff to roles or tasks within the organisation. As a one-page profile shares information about the ‘whole person’, including the person’s hobbies, interests and passions, we can do a much better job of matching people within the organisation, and of applying people’s gifts most effectively.

One-page profiles with staff offer the opportunity to have a three-way win-win:

From a staff perspective, they have a better chance of having their talents used in their work and even sharing their passions and interests.

For managers, it means they get the chance to deploy staff in a way that matches those talents and interests to people supported as well.

For people supported in an organisation, it’s clear that the quality of a person’s life depends mostly on the quality of their relationship with the person who’s supporting them. People are happiest and safest when they’re supported by people who both like them and understand them.

You might be familiar with the well-known saying that’s sometimes known as the golden rule: “Treat people as you’d like to be treated”. Not in a person-centred organisation! In a person-centred organisation, we’re trying to treat people as they want to be treated, in terms of what matters to them, and how they want to be supported.

Well-supported staff – who feel valued, who feel that they are contributing to the learning of the organisation, who see that their gifts are appreciated and who are well matched with the people they support – are likely to provide better support themselves, feel more motivated, stay around longer and have more positive and productive relationships with the people they support.

 

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