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Recognition is the key to a motivated workforce

Tagged In:  NHS

In the 2014 NHS Staff Survey, only 41% of respondents felt that their trust valued their work. Now NHS Employers is encouraging more trusts to run employee award schemes to give hardworking staff the recognition they deserve.

As someone very wise once said, 'Valuable employees should be valued'. Nowhere is this more apt than in an essential public service such as the NHS. For healthcare staff, personal effectiveness isn't simply about meeting sales or production targets. It's about looking after the wellbeing of our nation and saving lives.

NHS Employers has acknowledged that trusts need to do more to make their employees feel valued. In November, it issued a briefing note entitled Approaches to Staff Recognition, which discusses how formal staff recognition schemes can help create a workplace culture in which staff feel positive and engaged. "The NHS could improve in this area as only four in ten staff say their organisation values them, according to an NHS Staff Survey," says the briefing note. "Although this has improved in recent years, it is below levels achieved in other sectors."

The benefits of employee recognition schemes have been widely appreciated for some time, particularly in the USA. A 2012 survey by leading HR research company Bersin by Deloitte showed that organisations with effective recognition programmes had 31% lower voluntary staff turnover than those with ineffective schemes.

The good news is that some NHS trusts are ahead of the curve. The NHS Employers briefing note includes case studies highlighting model employee recognition schemes run by Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust. But these are just two of the successful schemes that have been introduced by trusts across the country. Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust runs monthly and annual staff awards, as well as giving awards for long service. Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust  also has an annual awards scheme. And SEPT Stars offers colleagues, patients and carers the chance to nominate staff at South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) for one of their 'In Tune' awards.  

As for Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, they've gone as far as setting up a dedicated web portal for their Staff Recognition Awards (now in their 10th year) and mount an Oscars-style presentation ceremony each year at Edgbaston Stadium. 

Setting standards

Organisations that regulate or represent healthcare professionals have long been aware of the importance of recognising the achievements of their members. As well as issuing Fellowships, Honorary Fellowships and Distinguished Service Awards, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy runs an annual awards scheme that rewards best practice across its whole membership of practising physiotherapists. As for occupational therapists, as we reported in a previous blog post, the annual OT Show included an Occupational Therapy Awards Programme for the first time this year. 

For nurses and midwives, there are several schemes which recognise excellence, including the Royal College of Midwifery Awards, the British Journal of Nursing Awards and the RCNi Nurse Awards. The Royal College of Nursing in Wales Nurse of the Year Awards includes several specialist categories, such as Children and Midwifery, Clinical Nurse Specialist and a Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Nursing Award.

"We can design innovative new care models, but they simply won't become a reality unless we have a workforce with the right skills, values and behaviours to deliver it.  That's why ensuring the NHS becomes a better employer is so important..." So says the NHS Five Year Forward View. With increasing pressures and continued shortages of staff in many areas, valuing NHS employees and recognising the vital work they do is a major step towards that goal.

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