A survey on employee engagement finds 97% of NHS trusts responding have systems in place for effective staff communication and supports a growing evidence base of the correlation between staff engagement and quality of patient care.
The Foundation Trust Network (FTN), the membership body for all provider trusts in England and Unipart Expert Practices joint report, 'Realising the benefits of employee engagement', is based on an FTN survey sent to chief executives and human resources directors in summer 2013.
Chris Hopson, Chief Executive, Foundation Trust Network, said: “ ‘Employee engagement’ has a crucial meaning in the NHS because trust, empowerment and staff satisfaction is integral to delivering high quality care to patients.
"A lot of the old NHS management paradigms of command and hierarchy are no longer fit for purpose and we need to think about how we make the most of the collective skills, ideas and talents of NHS staff at the frontline to continually drive up quality of care and improve patient experience."
Amanda Molloy, Head of Sector, Healthcare, Unipart Expert Practices, said: "The reports from Francis, Berwick and Keogh have all been published in 2013. It is clear that now is the time to ensure we have engaged NHS staff and harnessed their enthusiasm and commitment to set the tone for the future of the NHS."
Some of the key findings in the report include:
- Employee engagement is the foundation of sustainable success in the NHS. It increases employee potential, enables effective decision-making and drives productivity and innovation.
- Employee engagement is about both culture and structures; first you need to get the culture right, then you need to provide the processes and channels through which engagement can be delivered.
- Nearly 80% of hospital trusts responding said they had a strategy for engaging with patients and the public and all reported that they had a system in place to engage with patients.
- A major influence on an employee's engagement is the relationship with the immediate manager, reflected in the day-to-day workplace climate – what the chief executive says only has marginal impact.
- Authenticity and trust are essential. Employees will only speak up when they feel safe and when they know their opinions are both valued and will be acted on.
- Hospital trusts need to use a variety of channels to develop employee engagement and ensure they support both the individual and collective voice of employees.