Life QI and Joy in Work

Picture of Erika Kittow

Published on 29 November 2021 at 12:48

by Erika Kittow

Joy in Work - 01

Now, much more than ever, we understand how important joy in work is to our colleagues.

Burnout among staff affects the quality and safety of healthcare and clearly the wellbeing of those providing care. The added pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic have put staff under even greater pressure. The same factors that cause burnout also diminish joy in work. Thankfully many healthcare organisations are tackling this complex issue head on.


From working internationally with Joy in Work collaboratives, we have seen first-hand how the underpinning principles of the IHI Joy in Work framework has been used to restore engagement and relationships across organisations.

How does joy in work advance healthcare quality and safety? This video from Don Berwick gives a great insight into this:



Source: Institute for Healthcare Improvement YouTube channel


The IHI Framework for Improving Joy in Work (below) shows the critical complements of a system for ensuring a joyful, engaged workforce.



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Source: IHI Framework for Improving Joy in Work whitepaper



To support this framework, and because of the pandemic the IHI have released a further paper: ‘Conversation and Action Guide to Support Staff Well-Being and Joy in Work – During and after the COVID !9 Pandemic’


This guide is intended to supplement and build on the Framework and includes actionable ideas that leaders can quickly implement during the response and aim to build longer term foundations for joy in work.



How Life QI is being used to support Joy in Work collaboratives

Over the last few years, we have seen an explosion of Joy in Work projects and collaboratives being run on Life QI. Teams from all corners of the globe are working to tackle their local issues impacting their joy. It is fantastic to see improvement science being applied to bring about positive change in this area of healthcare.


Some organisations are running single or standalone Joy in Work projects but many run it as organisation-wide initiative using the programme functionality, with multiple projects run under one overarching programme. This approach is increasingly common amongst NHS Trusts in England in particular. There are also examples of multiple organisations coming together to address the subject collectively, on both a national and international scale.


Joy in Work teams are turning to Life QI for the same reason other QI project teams do.


Having a consistent way of sharing ideas, data, and a place for discussions to bring teams together can be somewhat logistically challenging and time consuming. The use of Life QI to run a Joy in Work collaborative overcomes these challenges and is a simple solution to effectively support spread and scale. It provides an easy and methodical approach for teams to document their findings in a systematic and innovative way that encourages transparency and collaboration. Once the structure of the work is step up, the teams taking part have the autonomy and drive to bring about inventive ways of working to embed and spread joy in work.



The benefits of using Life QI to run your Joy in Work project or collaborative


  • Spread successful ideas quickly - easily share successful PDSAs across teams so others can adapt and test locally. The ease of sharing and learning doesn’t have to be limited to successful PDSAs, sharing the failures can equally speed up the process for others to reach a solution that works for them.
  • Understand where the joy is (and isn’t) – by monitoring Joy at team/department level, and then bringing this together to analyse across the organisation and aggregate up to provide an overarching picture, it’s possible to understand which teams in which parts of the organisations are experiencing more, or less, joy than others. Such a rich data over time picture makes it possible not just to see the story today but how that story is unfolding as the improvement work progresses. And all this visualisation and aggregation can be automated in Life QI’s SPC charts.
  • Remove geographical boundaries - As well as running a Joy in Work collaborative in an organisation, we have partners running national and international multi-organisational collaboratives. Life QI undoubtably supports this approach and provides a single space to allow teams to remove geographical boundaries to work together in a systematic way to improve joy.
  • Promoting Joy in Work - Whether your approach to QI is ‘Board to Ward’ or ‘Ward to Board’, Life QI will support teams to share their Joy in Work change ideas, track when teams are having a good day or a bad day and demonstrate to leaders what matters to them.

Fostering joy in work is in everyone’s interest. So why not kick start 2022 by pulling together team to improve joy in your workplace?


Find out more about creating and running improvement collaboratives in Life QI


Learn more about the theory and practicalities of improvement collaboratives



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