nhsA NHS staff survey has revealed that although improvements surrounding staff engagement have been made, further steps still need to be taken.

In wake of the findings, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA) (who will join forces with NHS Employers to form an NHS HR Partnership) have stated that while some welcome improvements have been made, more needs to be done to improve communication by senior managers and consultation with NHS employees on important decisions.

The survey found that results for job satisfaction are slightly up from last year with 78% of staff satisfied with the support they receive from colleagues and 74% satisfied with the amount of responsibility they are given (up from 71% in 2011).

However the survey finds that only about a third of employees believe that communication between senior managers and staff are effective, while 28% believe senior managers involve staff in important decisions.

In addition to these figures, only 55% of employees claim that they receive clear feedback on their work from their line manager.

Commenting on the findings, Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD, said:

“Considering the huge amount of change and spending restraint in the health service, there are some positive findings in the survey, and other organisations could do well to follow the NHS’ example in the level of detail and transparency with which they are addressing issues of staff engagement.

“However, the findings suggest more needs to be done to improve communication and consultation with staff. For employee engagement and innovation to thrive, and for whistleblowers to feel protected, it’s important to create an open culture where senior managers consult staff about key decisions and employees trust their managers enough to be able to express their views whether asked for them or not.”

Willmott added:

“If you don’t consult staff as a leader you are effectively saying we don’t think staff have a valid opinion and that senior managers always know best. Consultation also has to be meaningful, allowing enough time for the effective consideration of employee opinions before decisions are taken.”

It has been revealed that the HPMA, the CIPD and NHS Employers are working together as the NHS HR Partnership to develop insightful and effective HR capability in the NHS, enabling and empowering HR professionals to improve people management practice, and patient care, in a challenging environment.