Staff engagement in the NHS – is it a myth?

Sara Sabin Posted by Sara Sabin on July 26, 2015


Dilbert cartoon – Employee Engagement

How many of you feel a bit like Dilbert? Sometimes it can feel that whatever intitiaives or employee forums are introduced at work to make your working life better, it is merely just lip service. It is about being seen to be making an effort rather than actually making an effort. So when initiatives are eventually introduced, it is not really addressing the problem.

The NHS as an employer is quite often so bogged down in trying to care for patients on an increasingly limited budget, that it may just introduce something and then not even assess if the outcome was effective at all.

The BMJ has written an article commenting on the fact that the NHS needs to do more to assess the effectiveness of these measures. You can see their point, otherwise it is is just a waste of time and money.

Katie Bailey, a professor at the University of Sussex who has analysed studies of employee engagement, said that the dearth of research by the NHS on the topic was “disappointing.” She said, “We were really quite surprised at how little academic research had taken place in the UK in the health sector.”

When you have a plethora of demotivated and disgruntled staff working for you; it is not good for staff and it is not good for patients. Apathy will never make for a good quality service. That’s when your staff retention rates start to go down because at the end of the day doctors are just like anyone else, they want to feel happy, valued and appreciated in their jobs.

By contrast, evidence showed that people who felt engaged tended to perform better, help colleagues more, and be more satisfied with their work and life in general. If the NHS really wants a first class service, maybe it’s time to start focussing on the most important capital they have – their staff.

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