Staff engagement in the NHS - Part 1

27 January 2021

I once worked somewhere where we could hear little scratchy mice feet scampering along the ceiling panels above our desks day in day out. The overhead lights were full of mouse droppings. You’d tell Facilities. Nothing ever happened. It’s not a good feeling to work in an organisation where you feel nothing you do or say makes a difference. People just shrug and disengage.

Contrast this with high-performing organisations with engaged employees. With work environments designed to enable the development of employees and support systems designed to help people excel in their jobs. Academic research has shown that engagement is essential to success.Staff engagement in the NHS

The King’s Fund has reported that NHS staff engagement has many significant associations with patient satisfaction, patient mortality, infection rates, Annual Health Check scores, as well as staff absenteeism and turnover. The more engaged staff members are, the better the outcomes for patients and the organisation generally.

However, it is often uncertain how management teams should improve staff engagement and what strategies to explore to increase this metric. In the overloaded and stressful situation the NHS finds itself in, it can be tempting to park this for another day.

But there are some easy wins. By involving staff in decisions and communicating clearly with them, organisations can seek to maintain and improve staff morale, especially during periods of difficulty and change, for example:

· Use technology to keep staff updated with engaging content that is easy to access

· Ask staff to tell you what they need to make their lives easier and then do it – there was a long thread on twitter recently with lots of ideas from haircuts and colouring to grocery drop off points

· Do a quick Pulse Survey to see how staff are feeling

Catherine Davies is an adviser to tech companies partnering with the NHS so people get the care they need

 

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