Building a Better Health Service


What we do and say matters

Staff Forum

When we talk about an engaged workforce the first thing people ask us is what do we mean!  Thanks to the efforts of the National Staff Engagement Forum, we now have a health sector definition that captures what it means to be engaged. 

Not only is it written by staff working in the system but it focuses on the need to know that what we do and say matters and that we are valued by the organisations which we give so much of ourselves to. We have also proofed it with people outside the forum and so far everyone has said they can relate to it.

National Definition for Staff Engagement

The members of the Forum have put significant work into developing a definition of staff engagement for the health sector. Well done to everyone involved in developing the national definition which can be used throughout the health sector.

The Role of Members

Members of the forum defined their own role.  In joining the forum, each member agrees:

  • To participate fully in each Forum meeting
  • To share their individual experience and perspectives of staff engagement with the forum
  • To provide a voice for staff who are not directly involved in the forum
  • To increase awareness of the staff engagement forum in our own areas
  • To identify drivers, barriers and potential solutions to challenges to staff engagement
  • To be an agent of change within their own system.

The Purpose of the National Staff Engagement Forum

The members of the National Staff Engagement Forum defined their purpose as follows: 

  • To create a space for conversations about what matters to staff in terms of engagement and gather suggestions on how to improve it by building on existing approaches and continually looking for new ways to engage staff.
  • To give a sense of ownership and personal responsibility for engagement, building positive and effective communication between all people regardless of their position.
  • To share good examples of staff engagement.
  • To provide feedback and advice to the health sector on improving staff engagement in the design and implementation of organisation wide initiatives and policies.
  • To promote staff engagement throughout the health sector to create a positive working environment for staff and service users.

The Forum decided that a number of items are outside its scope - these include recruitment, funding, industrial relations, site specific issues and negativity!  However, it was agreed that as the Forum needs to be a space where staff can share honest feedback, if staff raise these concerns, they will be shared with the relevant department.

In our recent meetings we have invited speakers from different parts of the organisation to share experiences of projects that engage staff for example, Forum members have provided feedback to the National Communications Division in relation to digital and social media and the organisation’s InSpire Hub.  Members have also been informed about the work of the organisation’s Programme for Health Service Improvement and Values in Action project.  

We are proud to be part of a Forum which acknowledges the expertise of staff and which will use this to help develop guidance for services on the top ‘Staff Suggestions for Engagement’.  The Forum will continue to gather suggestions for how to improve staff engagement and share these with health sector organisations. 

We look forward to the Forum becoming a place where ideas for creating a positive place to work can be heard and developed.  For more see our staff forum