‘Down to Earth’ What does your #OnePP say about you?

Executive Director at Action on Hearing Loss, Louise shares how she uses her one-page profile professionally; introducing it into their recruitment process and using it to break the ice with colleagues and families when meeting for the first time.

Louise's one-page profile

Louise’s one-page profile

Written by Louise Pritchard

At Action on Hearing Loss we have made a commitment to personalisation and have a programme approach looking at ways we can improve as an organisation to be more person centred.

One of the things we have been doing is asking everyone working in our Care and Support directorate to have a one-page profile.  The process of creating these has helped people and teams to understand each other more, and provided an insight into the best way of working with colleagues. By creating my own one-page profile I recognised that I am a pragmatist and a realist and now my colleagues know not to be put off if I put creative ideas down, they know to work with me to find a practical solution.

We live in a culture where giving or receiving a compliment can feel uncomfortable.  Using like and admire in team meetings has broken down this barrier and people have said afterwards they feel they can be more honest and open with each other.  Staff have found it really helpful in appraisals and one to ones too. The profiles facilitate positive feedback and open up conversations.  We have found that talking about “how best to support me” makes it easier for staff to ask for the support they need from their manager.

I can see when a team has adopted one-page profiles as they “gel” together and work in harmony; they understand how to get the best out of each other. People have found it easier to work out issues when there is no blame – just “this is how I see it”. When other depts. have seen the positive impact this work has had its inspired them to create their own one-page profiles.

We use one-page profiles as part of recruitment, asking people to create their own profile and bring it with them to interview.  This means the people we support can get to know a bit about candidates and be more effectively involved in the recruitment. We want the people who work for us to understand they need to give something of themselves in order to create trust and build a relationship with the people we support.

My one-page profile has given me insight into the way I work, and how others see me. I have two BSL sign names that have been given to me by people I work with, one is a clawed hand on the back of the head as I always wear my hair in a bun, and the other is the sign for “down to earth”.

When I am out visiting services or attending events some staff can find meeting an Executive Director a bit daunting, but after reading my one-page profile it breaks the ice and people know they can just talk to me, hence the sign name “down to earth”.

I attend a lot of conferences and formal gatherings, and I get sent the conference pack with biographies of speakers, or asked to send mine.  They tend to be very formal about the person’s professional achievements and where they have worked, but don’t give you a sense of the person or what’s important to them.

I am often tempted to send my one-page profile instead of the traditional biography but I have so far held back as I wonder if people would know what a one-page profile was. Next time I will be brave and put it out there with the biography!!

First create your own, then support others to create theirs

An example of how by creating their own one-page profiles professionals can feel confident and empowered to support others in the process.

Written by Rebecca*

Rebecca's one-page profile

Rebecca’s one-page profile

I’m employed by a provider of learning, support and care for children and adults with learning disabilities. I manage two services and we encourage all members of staff and the people we support to have a one-page profile.

It is a really good way for families to know who is supporting them, and for them to get to know the kind of people employed. In the services I manage, there are often staffing changes due to the type of support provided and sometimes the support is brand new, having come from another provider. My one-page profile breaks the ice with a new family or member of staff, giving them information about me, so they see a person, not just a name or job title. This makes it much easier to communicate.

I completed my one-page profile myself, but found it difficult to think of the ‘what people like and admire about me’ section so I talked to friends, colleagues and family to ask them about what they thought. I completed it over a period of time, thinking about it in my work and personal life, to really reflect on what is important to me and the support that works well for me, which made it more comprehensive.

I use my one page-profile with my staff team and with people who I support so they can get to know me well. It was also used as an example to the people we support as the kind of thing that staff should be aiming for when helping them produce their own. Staff found it helpful to write a one-page profile for themselves before doing it with the children and young people they visit.

Producing my one-page profile helped me to think about the things in my life that are important to me and therefore helped me to think about what was important to the people I support.  Perhaps before, I might not have thought about it in that level of detail. For example, because my family are important to me, it made me realise that it was vital to include children’s families when supporting them to complete their support planning process. It was helpful for me also to see that the things in my personal life that were important to me impacted on the way I like people to work with me and support me. As a result of developing my own one-page profile I am more confident; family and friends have been proactive in helping me to think positively about myself, I feel reassured in my way of working and feel uplifted as a result. It’s increased my respect for myself and given me greater confidence in working with others.

Having a one-page profile has been really helpful, particularly in building those crucial initial relationships with the families we support. It has helped them to get to know me as a person, with specific interests and has opened up conversations helping them to feel more confident about the company. It has achieved much for the service, especially in helping other staff to complete them for themselves, and for the children and young people they support. One-page profiles are developing more throughout the service, with staff members and people we support, people are enjoying creating them and using them to get to know people better.

*names have been changed.

My profile evolves with me

An example of how people use one-page profiles in the workplace to help build effective and harmonious working relationships. Steve’s story also highlights how one-page profiles work best when they continually evolve with a person.

Steve's one-page profile

Steve’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Steve Inch is the co-chair of Dimensions Council. He retired from his role as Dimensions’ Deputy Chief Executive in 2012 and now spends some of his own time working to develop Dimensions’ involvement strategy.

The Dimensions Council is a representative body of the people Dimensions’ support, and brings important issues to the Board’s attention twice a year.

Whilst at Dimensions Steve was introduced to one-page profiles and created one with his friends, family and work colleagues past and present. In the section where people describe what they like and admire about Steve, his calm, fair and considerate nature is highlighted; something that helps put the people that work alongside him at ease.

Steve’s one-page profile has been used to introduce him to the members of Dimensions Council, particularly those that have not worked with him before. Is was important that he found ways to help people understand his work-style as well as his general approach to people and life, so Council members could work with him effectively and harmoniously.

Steve has shared his one-page profile with all the Dimensions Council members. He has also shared and reinforced elements of it within Council meetings and everyone has had opportunity to read it carefully in their own time, in fact all Council members have a one-page profile and they are all shared across the entire membership.

Steve keeps his one-page profile up-to-date by reviewing it in his own time when reflecting on his learning from both his work and life experiences. If ever his one-page profile is updated he shares this with his co-chair and the Council membership so that it continues to evolve with him.

The cornerstone of being a person-centred organisation

An example of how one-page profiles have improved communication, daily interactions and strengthened relationships in this working environment. Tony Pearson describes one-page profiles as the cornerstone of being a person-centred organisation.

TonyWritten by Tony Pearson

Following a 20 year career in the public sector, in which I was a manager in both the NHS and in Local Government, I joined Real Life Options in November 2009. I am a member of the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM) and of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

As the Director of Human Resources and acting Director of Operations, making sure that colleagues feel valued and part of the wider organisation is an area of upmost importance. Recognising people as individuals, acknowledging their skills and strengths and supporting any areas for development are key to an engaged workforce. If our staff are happy, they will provide support to the best of their abilities. One-page profiles are a really good way to demonstrate person-centred values.

I gave my one-page profile a great deal of consideration before getting anything down on paper. At first it can feel slightly alien to be considering your strengths and the best ways in which others can support you. As a Director it has been a great opportunity to let others in on details that might seem insignificant but are actually quite important, for example my preference for face to face contact over emails or telephone conversations, and that it’s ok and actually appreciated when people remind me of deadlines. The section that addresses what people like and admire about me was gathered during an exercise in a Head Office meeting where we all worked together to develop our first one-page profiles.

My profile is displayed on the wall at all the regional offices, so that colleagues from all parts of the organisation can familiarise themselves with what I am about. I use mine to send out to people prior to a meeting, this is especially useful in situations where we may be meeting for the first time – It always gets a positive response.

Having a one-page profile has made a substantial difference in my every day interactions. It stands to reason that if you communicate what is important to you, who you are and what support you need that interaction becomes easier, and relationships are improved and strengthened. It is also good to have an opportunity to let people in to a little about your personal life. I mention my family on my one-page profile as they are very important to me.

On an organisation-wide scale as well as personally, one-page profiles have influenced the way in which people interact and communicate with each other.  It’s the cornerstone of being a person-centred organisation as you need to know these kind of details about others from the outset in order to be able to be supportive and treat people as individuals, respecting their needs and viewpoint.

The first Social Care provider in Scotland to commit to one-page profiles; How they did it

Written by Karen Pratt

CEO Karen Pratt

CEO Karen Pratt

My background is commercial. I worked in hospitality for many years and my last role was as National Business Director for a private healthcare company.  I’m used to sitting on boards where decisions were almost always profit focused and things happened quickly because little red tape stood in our way. My move into Social Care three years ago was a bit of a culture shock but not as much as you might imagine. I am CEO of an adult learning disability support provider in North East Scotland. Inspires, support around 300 people in their own homes, in housing, employment and training. We employ over 500 staff and our vision is to empower people’s life choices

Because of a shift in the way support providers are expected to deliver services, can achieve funding and need to interact with customers, there has been a big change in the way organisations like ours operate. Whereas before providers often negotiated bulk contracts with local authorities to provide support services, we now operate in a market that puts the end customer much more firmly in the driving seat. We now need to speak to people face-to-face, find out what an individual wants and needs and tailor our service to meet their needs. Self directed support is only just filtering through in Scotland, and we are still some way behind England in terms of implementation but it is the future and as such it has very much changed the way we operate in the here and now.

People aren’t always comfortable with the concept of marrying commercial business principles with social care. It can feel a little cold and technical to discuss business models, profit and loss, forecast and projections in relation to services that have traditionally been described as third sector, charities or non-profit making. The truth is though, all organisations have to generate funds in order to operate. One of my jobs as CEO has been to ensure that the team believe in generating profits; not so that some shareholder somewhere can benefit, but so that we can allocate money into having the very best staff with the very best training, delivering exceptional services.

When I consider how much the third sector has changed in recent years, my move from commercial business to social care feels far less dramatic. I have always been customer focused and whereas before we support providers might have provided a one-size-fits-all model, now we work hard to find out about the individual, what they want, need, what their budget is, what their aspirations are for the future, what is important to them; we develop a support package that works with them to achieve this.

I’m always looking at new ways to improve our services for the people we support and to ensure that we are providing our staff teams with the very best experience. When one of our Directors first told me about one-page profiles I was keen to learn more. We learnt from social care provider, Dimensions, that profiles can help people direct their own support, match people working together, build better relationships and make good introductions. Dimensions has introduced profiles across all staff and people they support and have been fundamental in us rolling out the practice within Inspire.

I strongly believe that one-page profiles will help us to deliver person-centred support to our customers.  The profile itself is a simple and succinct tool that communicates what people like and admire about a person, what is important to someone and how to support them well. By using it within our teams we can be sure that we’re supporting staff, celebrating their gifts and understanding them well. By using it with people we support we can understand and appreciate them as individuals, match them well with others and empower them to direct their own support.

We are in the early stages but so far all head office personnel have written one-page profiles, as have service managers. We are in the process of introducing them to more support workers and to the people we support.  This is how we are doing it:

  1. Learning from the experiences of other social care providers who have taken a similar approach to personalisation
  2. Committing internally to their use at senior management level
  3. Introducing to teams at team meeting
  4. Sharing examples of one-page profiles monthly using a team brief email so that people can learn more about each other, work better together, improve relationships and see how a profile works in practice
  5. Sharing profile templates and profile writing guidelines on the intranet
  6. Sharing team member profiles on the website for customers and family members to access.

I’m hoping by sharing this practice in this blog, other providers will see how profiles can be rolled out within their organisation. I believe that as our sector continues in its customer focused drive, tools like these will become commonplace. For now though, I think we are ahead of the game and possible the only social care organisation on Scotland to have committed to introduce one-page profiles with everyone we support and employ! Something we can be proud of.


Employees don’t fit into a cookie cutter profile

An example of how one-page profiles can improve employee satisfaction. Suzanne’s profile empowered her to express herself, her personality and how best to support her; creating a happier working environment that she feels she can perform well in.

Written by Suzanne Hala

Suzanne's one-page profile

Suzanne’s one-page profile

I am the Marketing and Communication Manager for Real Life Options and I have been with the organisation for over two years following a career in retail marketing. I’m currently studying for an MBA and enjoy running and being active in my spare time.

I use my one-page profile to tell people about important things to me, to make sure that I can be my best. I support various people around the organisation with their marketing projects. Some I have met on lots of occasions and some I only ever speak to on the phone, so it’s good to have a way to seamlessly add a personal touch to everyday interactions

I found out about one-page profiles from being part of the Leadership Team we formed to embed person-centred values into the organisation. Creating our own profiles was the first thing we did as a team. I had no prior expectations about how having a one-page profile might benefit me or others. The concept was very new to me, especially against a background of working in the private sector for manufacturing companies where figures, targets and finance are the only way success is measured. In retrospect it is clear to see how problems arise in organisations where people are not valued as individuals. The profiles do value individuality. They encourage you to record your own personality and to express how others can best support you. As well as finding the process personally very beneficial, it was a great team building exercise, especially when considering what we liked and admired about each other

My profile is available on the public drive on our computer system. Anyone can access it at any point to learn a little more about me. I update it when I learn something new about myself as opposed to updating it because I have changed in some way.

Having a one-page profile at work has made me feel more valued as a person. The one-page profile moves away from the old fashioned perception that employees should fit a cookie cutter profile. Being encouraged to express my quirks, strengths and preferences gives me a sense of feeling important and appreciated as an employee. It makes complete sense as most people are happiest and perform at their best when they are in an environment where they feel able to express themselves and empowered.

‘Meeting’ someone before you meet them

How a one-page profile can help families feel at ease when meeting Support Providers and talking about their support needs. Marina’s one-page profile gives both personal and professional information. Families get a sense of who she is which helps them to feel comfortable and relaxed when first meeting her.

Marina's one-page profile

Marina’s one-page profile

Written by learning disability and autism support provider, Dimensions

Marina works as a Support Advisor for support provider, Dimensions. She talks to potential new customers and their families about what kind of support is important to them and what is available; this helps them work out what they want and how much it will cost.

Marina’s one-page profile is used to help introduce her to customers and their families. When meeting for the first time the challenge is often to break the ice, get to know one another, and feel at ease. It was hoped that sharing information beforehand about who Marina is and how she approaches her life and work would help.

Marina developed her one-page profile with her work colleagues, family and friends. All Dimensions’ Support Advisors hold an up-to-date profile and they have found that they support and aid internal working relationships and productivity. It was thought that extending them to potential customers and families could have similar results.

The profiles used by Marina and her team have made a big difference in helping working relationships to quickly settle. Families, in particular, have really taken to them and have commented on their benefits. They have said that it is nice to put a face to someone’s name when looking at the photo, which makes them feel like they have ‘met’ Marina before she arrives at their doorstep.  There has been an emotional difference too. People and families take comfort in getting to know Marina through reading about what is important to her and have found this very ‘warming and settling’.

Marina sends out her one-page profile to people and their families before meeting them face-to-face as a way of introducing her and her approach to work.  She updates it from feedback received from people and their families, as well as from discussions with her team members and manager.

In her one-page profile Marina talks about being passionate about her job as well as being committed and not giving up. She also provides some lighter and more personal information that lets people know she cares about her own family and has room for fun in her life too. This information presents a reassuring balance for people and Marina has noticed that it has made her more approachable.

Of her profile, Marina said: “It has helped iron-out the uncertainties and unease that sometimes comes with meeting people for the first time, particularly (and understandably) when people are seeking out any hints or clues that will help them build trust and confidence in the relationship. It helps clarify the best way forward and ensures I can get on with my job with confidence.”