Shedding some light on the Lighthouse project

Shedding some light on the Lighthouse project

A fresh idea to help businesses think of ways to reduce the legal and commercial risks when an employee develops a disability, reduced capability or long term health condition within their working life whilst at the same-time looking to best support the interests of the company and the employee.

The idea being explored is based around the realisation that many respectable employers find themselves faced with legal and commercial risks when one of their employees develops a permanent impairment or condition that may impact on their capability during their working life with the company or organisation. This can often cause stress and uncertainty within an organisation when the employer finds themselves reluctant to take action in fear of being labelled as discriminating, and then the employee is left feeling confused, sometimes unsupported and unsure about where they stand.

Ann Johnson of Wave-length, Mary Hobday of Corazon Health and Carl Kovacs HR Consultant have bought their expertise and experience together in order to create the Lighthouse project and offer its services to those who need it most.  Ann has experienced this first-hand when she developed an illness that has left her using a wheelchair whilst working as a practicing HR professional, Mary works to support and assess capability in the workplace and Carl has had a number of experiences working in businesses and with clients who have struggled to know how to respond professionally but with compassion.  commercial risks when one of their employees develops a permanent impairment or condition that may impact on their capability during their working life with the company or organisation. This can often cause stress and uncertainty within an organisation when the employer finds themselves reluctant to take action in fear of being labelled as discriminating, and then the employee is left feeling confused, sometimes unsupported and unsure about where they stand.

Ann from Wave-length said “many employers focus on the people joining their organisations with a disability but focus less on those already within the organisation who might gain a disability, struggle with mental health or other long-term health conditions.  In the UK disability as defined by the Equality Act affects 1 in 5 of the population, of which 78% will gain the disability in their working life, so this is something employers cannot ignore.  Often ignoring this need can be at great cost to the organisation in increased absence, reduced capacity and low morale.  So I am very excited about the launch of the Lighthouse in managing capability with fresh approaches to intervention and solutions that gain the best results for both employers and employees.”

The first pilot was held at a Care Home where issues were addressed and discussed to demonstrate how the Lighthouse project works and how it can help a company work through initial barriers or problems.

An example of the types of issues we have supported and the areas then addressed:

A nurse with knee and spinal problems seemingly caused by years of unsatisfactory manual handling (in the NHS). She is still a great nurse but she just can’t do the physical stuff. The care home is not big enough to absorb such a person (how many light duties can any business afford). But can they help her to retrain/realign cost effectively to make a transition to another job with another organisation that has a need for her competencies (rather than a problem with her in-capacity)?

–        How do we bring the parties together?

–        Without communication there can be no solution.

–        How do we analyse the situation and understand the options?

–        How do we identify and apply help and support from 3rd Parties?

The purpose of the trials is to experiment with different types of intervention that can make a significant difference in aspects such as:

–        Opening up communication through conferencing, mediation and advocacy

–        Exploring competency with the professional input from Occupational Health specialists and identifying specific sources of financial and non-financial support for retraining and development.

–        Mentoring and coaching to facilitate transition. Inspired in part by the process models of Outplacement that are used to help redundant people to find their next job or new career path and also by the rehabilitation methods used by organisations such as Help for Heroes working with injured servicemen.

The trials will explore and expand these techniques and eventually help us develop a commercial model to deliver across the UK.

The pilots have already attracted the attention of a legal firm in Manchester where Ann and Carl have attended meetings to discuss the advantages and future of the project.  Ann will address the HR Exchange in Manchester to share her views with HR professionals on this subject and some of the areas the pilot has already addressed.

It is hoped that the Lighthouse services will be fully launched in October 2014.

For more information on the Lighthouse project and its activity so far, please email lauren@wave-length.org.uk

 

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