Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Being a great place to work in challenging times

A few weeks ago the Health Service Journal and Nursing Times unveiled their list of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare – and I’m proud to say that Pennine Care made the list.  

The list is hailed as a celebration of NHS organisations that have worked hard to promote great staff engagement and create an environment where people can enjoy their work.  Using data compiled from the national NHS staff survey, an independent research company called Best Companies Group identified the top 100 trusts and 20 clinical commissioning groups from across the UK.

The list looks at results in seven key areas that affect an employee’s experience of the workplace including leadership and planning, culture and communication, job satisfaction, work environment, relationship with supervisor, training, development and resources and employee engagement and satisfaction.

Making the list is a fantastic achievement for the Trust and I’d like to personally thank all of our staff for working together to make this a great place to work, even when faced with considerable challenges and pressures.

But we’ve still got a long way to go before we can truly say we are performing well in all of these areas and that all 6,000 staff have a positive experience of working here.   Perhaps this is a big aspiration considering the difficulties we face as the NHS, but it’s something that we must keep striving for.  

The national NHS Staff Survey provides us with an annual indicator of staff satisfaction levels at Pennine Care – some key headlines from last year’s survey are: 

  • 89% of staff agree that their role makes a difference to patients
  • 85% said they had received an appraisal within the last 12 months, but only 38% said this was well structured 
  • 90% of staff believe the Trust provides equal opportunities for career progression or promotion
  • 63% said they would be happy with the standard of care provided by the trust if a friend of family needed treatment
  • 55% of staff said they would recommend Pennine Care as a place to work
  • Our overall engagement score out of a maximum of 5 is 3.72
The things we scored particularly well on are staff working extra hours, staff experiencing physical violence or harm, staff witnessing incidents and staff experiencing bullying or harassment.   The areas we need to work on are staff reporting incidents, the frequency and quality of appraisals and staff feeling pressured to return to work after illness.

The full results of last year’s NHS Staff Survey can be found online.

Although we are doing ok on the whole, there is a great deal more we can do to make Pennine Care a great place to work for everyone. I fully recognise that staff are working tremendously hard, faced with increasing demands, financial pressures and constant change.  All of which can impact your experience as an employee. 

Something worth noting is that the national NHS Staff Survey only recognises categories for acute trusts, acute specialist trusts, community trusts, mental health trusts and clinical commissioning groups.  They do not currently have a category for integrated trusts such as Pennine Care, so we have to fall in to one of the categories and historically we are listed under mental health.  I know this isn’t ideal and we are pushing for the categories to be reviewed so they reflect the more modern arrangements of the NHS but it is not something that is currently within our control.  

We launched our first challenge on the Spark system to ask for your ideas for how we can improve the experience of our staff, which generated 35 initial ideas that are going to be explored and taken forward.  But we need to keep listening to what’s important to our staff and what will really make a difference to your experience of working at Pennine Care, no matter how big or small. 

We only had a response rate of 32% in the last NHS Staff Survey so to make the results more meaningful and representative we need everyone to be taking part. The next survey is due out in September, so please do take some time to complete it.  

It would be brilliant to stay in the Best Places to Work list, who knows we could even win it in the future.