“Dean’s experience demonstrates how digital technology can transform and deepen engagement, providing new ways of listening to staff feedback and acting on the insight it provides. It shows that whatever the size and location of your NHS organisation, collecting feedback through digital channels increases engagement, improves retention rates and ultimately leads to better patient care.
However, for this switch to digital to succeed five things are vital. Firstly, make digital channels easy to use and access, and embed them in existing processes so that they are part of everyone’s working life. Go beyond social media and stand-alone apps to use mobile-first digital platforms that all staff are comfortable with, and that use existing information (such as from the NHS Electronic Staff Record) to provide a personalised experience and a wide range of ways to provide feedback. Secondly, ensure you are listening across the employee lifecycle, gaining insight at key touchpoints such as when staff join, return to work after leave – or even on exit. This will enable you to improve processes and increase productivity and retention going forward.
Thirdly, be aware that digital is a major cultural change that many staff and managers may find potentially threatening as it opens up new, less formal communication channels. Provide the necessary support to overcome any objections so that the whole workforce is engaged. Fourthly, take a joined-up approach – bring together feedback data in one place so it is easy to access, avoiding silos and allowing you to link it to other information and Key Performance Indicators. Finally, complete the loop – show staff that their feedback has been acted on and is making a real difference. This means integrating structured processes to review feedback and make changes at the right level of the organisation. Everyone understands that the NHS faces significant challenges – overcoming these involves listening to employees and using their feedback to drive change.”