The Welsh Ambulance Service has been recognised by Chwarae Teg for its commitment to promote a healthier workplace and creating equal opportunities for staff.

The Trust, which employs more than 3,000 people, has been awarded ‘Exemplar Employer’ status by Chwarae Teg for its approach to flexible working.

In 2011, the Trust set out to analyse all workforce data, including a review of sickness levels, and decided there was a case for change.

It joined forces with Chwarae Teg, and set up a dedicated task and finish group to ensure its approach to flexible working went above and beyond legislation.

A series of workshops helped improve managers’ understanding of the benefits of flexible working, and ensured they were equipped to deal fairly and consistently with requests while taking into account the needs of their team and the Trust.

A revised flexible working policy was published in September of this year, and managers now embrace a flexible working environment and accommodate requests where possible to ensure a healthier work-life balance for staff.

Jonathan Sweet, a Locality Manager in Rhondda Cynon Taf:

“Staff had become conditioned to a fixed roster system and some would be checking their shifts well into the future, but a flexible approach to rosters allows us to align resources to demand.

“After workshops delivered with support from Chwarae Teg, we now have a better understanding of flexible working, and are in a far better position to explain to staff why on occasion we are unable to accept the request and work more closely with them to modify future requests. This clearly benefits the staff, the team and ultimately the patient.”

Judith Hardisty, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, added:

“The health and wellbeing of our staff is vital. We recognise that a sensitive approach to flexible working, including for part-time working, job sharing and flexible rostering, will greatly enhance the benefits for employees and improve their wellbeing.”

She added: “We are thrilled to have been recognised in this way, and hope that this newfound status will re-energise other work going forward.”

The Evolve Exemplar Employer Scheme recognises Welsh organisations that go above and beyond legal compliance in the areas of equality and diversity to create flexible workplaces and equality of opportunity for all workers.

Emma Richards, Project Development Manager at Chwarae Teg said:

“We are delighted to award Evolve Exemplar Employer status to the Trust, who have taken a progressive and proactive approach to implementing fair and equitable working practices.

“Their initiatives have fostered an inclusive workplace which has benefitted both employees and the service, enabling them to recruit from the widest pool of talent and retain the best staff.”

View the Twitter Timeline for: #ExemplarEmployer.