OD Superstar - Lucy Rutter


22 / 1 / 2015 10.55am

Lucy Rutter is the Head of Organisational Development (OD) at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Lucy has been in this role since 2013 and has worked for the organisation for 19 years. She started part-time as a recruitment and filing clerk and then went on to fill a variety of roles within the workforce and OD function, primarily as an HR professional. Lucy says she would not be where she is today if it were not for the support and development she has received over the years from those she has worked with.

1. How would you describe your role in the organisation? 

I am responsible for all aspects of OD to make sure our organisation has and will have the leadership capability needed to provide supportive people management, promote staff engagement, build effective team working and ensure the organisation fulfills its vision of delivering consistently high quality, compassionate and safe patient care. This builds on a culture of pride which is centred on our values and behaviours, where everyone takes responsibility and makes it a personal priority to ensure the success of the organisation as a whole, rather than focusing only on their individual or immediate team’s success in isolation.

2. What does OD mean to you?  

I often get asked what organisational development means. Will we ever be able to really define it?  For me it is about developing a healthy organisation and by this I mean one which is promoting a culture of trust and openness, engagement and continuous learning and innovation.  It is about developing opportunities for fundamental change driven through different ways of thinking.

3. What OD projects are you most proud of? 

Working with a committed team, we are most proud of:

  • Leading the implementation of a trust wide staff engagement methodology called ‘Listening into Action’ which has directly engaged over 25 per cent of our workforce and delivered in excess of 50 staff and/or patient led changes.  Changes that have benefited service users, employees and the organisation.  A couple of examples include: the introduction of a phlebotomy handover to junior doctors which has improved communication and reduced unnecessary blood tests and delays, and a 50 per cent efficiency improvement of portering journeys to and from the imaging department.  We are now embedding this methodology into our everyday practice.
  • The introduction of values and behaviours to individual performance reviews. Our 2013 national NHS Staff Survey results as well as the outcomes from staff conversations identified a need to develop and strengthen our appraisal system.  Therefore, extensive work was undertaken to develop a values based system that is fit for purpose. This included a trust wide survey; staff forums with staff from different professions, specialties and grade; research into good practice within the NHS and in other sectors; implementing relevant changes to Agenda for Change terms and conditions and two staff conversations with 140 leaders in the trust to develop a leadership behavioural framework.
    The policy now ensures that staff appraisals effectively assess progression and completion of objectives, compliance to essential skills and adherence to behavioural competencies in line with trust Values.  We have also seen a 37 per cent increase as measured by the national Staff Survey (NSS) 2013 to 73 per cent in our quarter two staff pulse survey of staff having clear objectives enabling them to do their job more effectively.
  • Eight per cent increase (to 52 per cent) in staff recommendation of the organisation as a place to work as measured by the 2013 NSS, with a further 13 per cent increase to 65 per cent as measured in the 2014 quarter two friends and family for staff test.
  • Being one of five beacon trusts for the national Culture Change project with NHS Employers and NHS Leadership Academy.

4. What would you like to learn more about? 

Everything! I have a practical learning style and am learning all the time.  Team dynamics is a favourite at the moment.

5. Who inspires you most? 

Everyone I come into contact with! I try to take the best from everyone I meet as everyone has something to offer.  If I look back over the years there have been many positive and negative role models in my life and the key for me has been to identify which is which and learn from that experience.

6. What’s your one 'must read' book / article / website on OD? 

Anything by Professor Michael West – particularly his easy to read blogs.

7. What would you like to achieve in 2015?

Continue to build on the fantastic work we have already started to deliver as a team.  However I would like to dedicate more time working alongside clinical colleagues to really understand what barriers they have to enabling them to do their job effectively and helping them to remove them.

8. What would your motto be? 

Little things matter!

9. What advice would you give to a budding OD professional? 

Build a network of passionate people from within the organisation you work and be really clear about where, together, you can make a difference.  Helping people see the value of what you do enables many doors to be opened!

10. What is your favourite sandwich? 

I haven’t eaten bread since February this year – carbohydrates are my enemy!

If you have any questions about Lucy and the organisation's work, then please feel free to connect with her via

Email: Lucy.Rutter@porthosp.nhs.uk
LinkedIn: Lucy Rutter

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