Networking scheme launches to connect HR staff across hospices

Categories: Care, Featured, and People & Places.

As part of its goal to encourage networking across the Hospice HR community, Hospice UK and its Strategic HR and Workforce Leads Network (SHaWL) are launching virtual randomised coffee trials (RCTs) from 1 November 2019, working in partnership with researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University and Huddersfield Business Schools’ Dr Julie Davies and Dr Fran McGregor.

The initiative was launched at the recent Hospice UK HR conference; Lead, Inspire Thrive.   RCTs connect individuals at random – they encourage people  to find time to chat with peers about whatever they wish for 20 minutes or so every month, virtually or face-to-face.   This idea was inspired by Pedro Medina and developed by Michael Soto and Jon Kingsbury of Nesta UK in 2013.

The RCT is designed to pair hospice HR staff with different peers who may work across different HR roles every month. The scheme encourages them to find time to chat with each other virtually about their well-being, professional development and other relevant issues for around 20 minutes over a beverage of their choice.

Dr Julie Davies explains: “HR professionals inevitably deal with emotional labour and in the hospice sector within a high compassion culture and this is particularly acute at times and in small hospices there may be only one professional HR practitioner. RCTs help you to make new contacts, build relationships, and, importantly, give you some headspace to reflect on your own well-being”

Anyone interested in taking part sends an email to a central address and asks to be randomly connected with someone else. An administrator collects these requests and enters them into a specially designed spreadsheet that matches people at random. The administrator then tells the person who they’ve been paired up with. It is then up to them to get in touch with that person, and organise a 20-30 minute chat, which can be face-to face-or virtual.

Dr Fran McGregor, who will be managing the scheme said: “It is hoped that this time for reflection will support networking, peer learning, and contribute to mental, social and other forms of well-being and personal productivity in the hospice HR community. It need not be a coffee – it could be tea, lunch or dinner. Whatever works best for you, and the meeting could be a virtual one, say over Skype.”

Jolekha Shasha, Hospice UK’s Head of Human Resources, said “Wellbeing is at the forefront of the HR agenda but HR practitioners don’t always make the time for their own self- care. A virtual RCT is a simple but effective pause and a valuable opportunity to connect with likeminded peers, which you may not otherwise get”.

Jaci Curtis Donnelly, Deputy Chair of SHaWL added: “It is recognised that HR can be a stressful function, even more so in the hospice and palliative care sectors. We look forward to hearing about how this national virtual randomised coffee trial is helping to support the well-being of HR practitioners in the hospice sector. Participation is voluntary but I would encourage everyone to take part”.

If you are interested in taking part please email your name, hospice and email address to with ‘RCT’ in the subject field.

The short clip below explains how the RCT will work:

Participants are also encouraged to tweet about this @hospiceuk, #HospiceHR #randomcoffee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *