Look Ahead One Page Profile Case Study

“Using One Page Profiles has been positive across the organisation. They are very important for relationships and mutual respect. Honestly, I can’t think of a single reason not to do it.”

In May 2014, Ceri Sheppard from Look Ahead told Sitra all about how positive they have found displaying the One Page Profiles of Look Ahead staff in all their services, and offered some advice to other providers thinking of implementing One Page Profiles as part of Sitra’s campaign.

Look Ahead started using One Page Profiles about three years ago, after investigating different ways to make services more personalised. They chose to implement One Page Profiles because they are a simple but effective idea, and piloted them before rolling them out into all Look Ahead services.

 Introducing One Page Profiles

Ceri told us that the response of services to the idea of implementing One Page Profiles was initially mixed, depending upon the managers and on the existing relationships between staff and customers in the service. Some staff were initially reluctant to use One page Profiles, as they understandably felt that revealing information about themselves would be unprofessional and would make themselves vulnerable. Ceri reassured them that this was not at all the case.

“It just means taking a bit more time to unpick the idea, and realise that actually it’s not about giving lots of personal information away, it’s about improving the relationships between staff and customers. It’s about helping to improve the services and it’s about human beings relating to each other.”

How did Look Ahead services use One Page Profiles?

Different services used One Page Profiles in different ways, depending upon the needs of the service users. However, all services had a noticeboard with the profiles of all staff members displayed for the service users to see. Some services wanted to encourage staff members to be creative in expressing themselves through their profiles and choose their own format. Other services wanted all the profiles to have the same format, to make it clearer for service users to understand.

Results of having staff One Page Profiles displayed in services

“Services found that the engagement really improved and customers could not get enough of the profiles. They would say to staff, for example, “Oh, I didn’t know you liked heavy metal music, I love that too!” Some of the connections that were made were really important for people moving forward in their lives.”

Ceri emphasised that the major benefit that Look Ahead have enjoyed after introducing One Page Profiles is that customer engagement has significantly improved. Through staff sharing some basic information about themselves, customers find it easier to approach their support workers and talk to them about their interests and topics other than their support needs.

“It is not always about people having something in common. Sometimes it’s just a way to start an adult conversation. It’s just telling people a bit more about yourself, saying that you like photography, saying that you like your tea with lots of milk. When you know every intimate detail about the customer, sharing some information about yourself doesn’t balance the scales but it shows a humanity that people have really appreciated.”

Ceri’s top tips for other service providers considering implementing One Page Profiles for staff.

  • If you are not sure, talk to other services that are already using One Page Profiles to hear about their experience of the benefits.
  • Have a conversation with staff and customers to decide what should be included on the profiles, to ensure that they can be useful for everybody.
  • Include photographs on the profiles, as it helps the customers know who is who. Being camera-shy is not a good enough reason not to!
  • Use bright colours, clear fonts and make sure the page is not too crowded.
  • Make sure that there is nothing offensive or off-putting included on the profiles, such as “I don’t like grumpy people”. This might make customers feel that this member of staff is unapproachable.
  • “It does need to be looked at in the much broader context of personalisation and coproduction. It needs to be embedded in some way. It must be something that is seen very positively at a senior level.” Look Ahead chose to embed One Page Profiles in their quality auditing framework, but there are other ways that it could be embedded in policy, such as through supervision or management practices.
  • Ceri would strongly recommend implementing One Page Profiles in your service. “Customers have talked about recognising that staff are human as a result. They are very important for relationships and mutual respect. It’s very easy to do. Honestly, I can’t think of a single reason not to do it.”

Thank you to Ceri for sharing your insights!

Look Ahead support around 8,000 people each year who need support to achieve their goals, realise their dreams and live independently. They provide specialist personalised support and care services across London and the South East.

In April 2014, Sitra launched the One Page Profiles challenge for the supported housing sector, aiming for 100 new profiles to be created and shared by the 1st of July. Find out more here and get involved by emailing genij@sitra.org or tweeting @sitrapolicy, using #onepp