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Driving improvements with reverse mentoring

Date: 01 February 2021

Tanoh Asamoah-Danso, who has been taken part in reserve mentoring

Staff at the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) are mentoring senior leaders as part of an innovative project designed to provide a vital insight into the challenges they face so that improvements can be made.

The reverse mentoring initiative has been spearheaded by the Trust’s BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) network to maximise opportunities for development and improve staff retention.

Its first phase saw six members of the Trust’s Board paired up with operational colleagues to hear more about their experiences of working for EEAST.

Each pair met virtually once a month, with the senior leaders taking forward actions following each session based on their discussions. Phase one mentors have all been members of the BME Network, however more staff will be given the chance to take part when the scheme is rolled out more widely later this year.

Nicola Scrivings, Trust Chair, took part in three sessions alongside Senior Paramedic Tanoh Asamoah-Danso, and described them as “incredibly powerful”.

“I have gained a huge amount from our reverse mentoring sessions so far,” she said. “It has been incredibly powerful as it has helped me see our Trust through the eyes of another and to walk in their shoes. It has been a really useful way to get a different perspective and find out how colleagues elsewhere are feeling and what they think we should be focusing on.

“Tanoh has helped me enormously. We have discussed everything from inequality to recruitment and retention, along with his ideas for ways we could attract a more diverse workforce. I have already taken away actions from our meetings so that we can make some positive changes which reflect the views of our staff on the ground.

“I hope that this initiative will show that our senior team is open and happy to have conversations with all of our staff so that we can work together to move the Trust forwards.”

Tanoh, who has worked for EEAST for the past six years and is based in West Essex, said: “I have really enjoyed the experience, and feel this is a valuable initiative which has come at an important time, both in society and the direction the Trust is going.

“It has given me the chance to share my views from the frontline with someone who is high up in our organisation and is able to make changes more easily. This is vitally important as it gives senior leaders at the top a better understanding of their staff and what is happening at the bottom.

“I would absolutely encourage others to try reverse mentoring as it gives you a chance to have your voice heard directly by a senior leader. It is an opportunity for a one-on-one dialogue which resonates louder. Because it is personal, it gives the person in the position of leadership more onus to do something about what is being said.”

  • Summary:

    Staff at the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) are mentoring senior leaders as part of an innovative project designed to provide a vital insight into the challenges they face so that improvements can be made.