Evidence shows that employee engagement in the NHS is linked to staff wellbeing, patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes such as mortality. Put simply, engaged staff deliver better, safer care. Engagement in the NHS has increased over the last two years but there remains significant scope for improvement.
The NHS is facing an ‘unprecedented squeeze;’ demand is growing and costs are rising whilst budgets are frozen. At the same time, following the Francis Report into the disaster at Mid Staffordshire, the NHS is being expected to deliver ever safer and higher quality care.
The report ‘Meeting the Challenge – Successful Employee Engagement in the NHS’ – produced for Healthcare People Managers Association and NHS Employers – is based on case studies of employee engagement at eight high performing NHS Trusts. The report identifies the approach and interventions associated with high levels of engagement, and provides some recommendations for trusts looking to drive up engagement. It shows that only through effectively engaging with employees will the NHS be able to meet the challenges it faces in coming years.
These are hard times for NHS workers. Ongoing pay restraint, increasing work intensity and organisational change risk undermining engagement. Yet, in order to meet the challenges the NHS is facing, engaging with the workforce is more important than ever. Engaging with employees can unlock their potential for innovation, allowing them to make services more effective and efficient. And involving staff in decision-making is vital during these times of change in the NHS.
Employee engagement must be seen as a key priority for the NHS and as part of the solution to the challenges it faces in the coming years.
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