Staff engagement - Stories and resources to inspire


In this section, you’ll find some stories about our work and examples to support you.

View Staff Listening Sessions

Once we had completed the listening sessions with staff, the next step was to use a Front Line Ownership approach to engage staff in quality conversations

Front Line Ownership

CUMH Ideas Forum

Resources and Evidence

There is a lot of useful information available online about staff engagement. 

The benefits of engaging staff are widely recognised in international literature to improve not only staff engagement but patient outcomes and experience.  If you want to improve service delivery, consider how you might use this approach in your work. 

We use the principles of Front Line Ownership in our work – they are simple and easy to use.  We hope you find them helpful.  

The principles of Front Line Ownership are:

  1. Go slow to go fast
  2. Invite the unusual suspects
  3. Work with those who want to work with you
  4. Participation is voluntary
  5. Nothing about me without me
  6. Change can spread bottom up, top down, and sideways
  7. Make the invisible visible
  8.  Act your way into a new way of thinking

To find out more about the HSE commitment to engagement click on the following links:


There are many useful resources available for leaders to access and in particular the NHS Employers Agency, the Kings Fund, Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Point of Care Foundation are all worth looking at.

We especially recommend reading the document ‘Leadership in Healthcare - A Summary of the Evidence Base’ (West et al. 2015). View other resources from Prof Michael West @WestM61 and the NHS

Another excellent resource is the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Framework for Improving Joy at Work.  This document has some excellent ideas for improving joy in work, along with examples and some measurement and assessment tools.

The Kings Fund "Staff Engagement Six building blocks for harnessing the creativity and enthusiasm of NHS staff" summarised below is also highly recommended.

Kings Fund six building blocks

Some useful websites include:

If you have access to your local library, the following resources may be of interest!

  •   Alimo‐Metcalfe, B., Alban‐Metcalfe, J., Bradley, M., Mariathasan, J., & Samele, C. (2008). The impact of engaging leadership on performance, attitudes to work and wellbeing at work: A longitidunal study. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 22(6), 586–598.
  •   Bailey, C., Madden, A., Alfes, K., Fletcher, L., Robinson, D., Holmes, J., … Currie, G. (2015). Evaluating the evidence on employee engagement and its potential benefits to NHS staff: a narrative synthesis of the literature. Health Services and Delivery Research, 3(26), 1–424.
  •   BMJ Quality & Safety Published Online First: 09 September 2013. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2013-001947
  •   Culture and behaviour in the English National Health Service: overview of lessons from a large multimethod study
  •   Dixon-Woods M, Baker R, Charles K, et al
  •   Hawkins, S., Glenn, R., Oswald, K., & Conway, W. (2013). Creating a Culture of Performance Excellence at Henry Ford Health System. Global Business and Organizational     Excellence, January /, 6–22. 
  •   Lipmanowicz, H., & McCandless, K. (2013). The surprising power of liberating structures. New York: Liberating Structures Press.
  •   Lowe, G. (2012). How employee engagement matters for hospital performance. Healthcare Quarterly (Toronto, Ont.), 15(2).
  •   Macleod, D., & Clarke, N. (2009). Engaging for Success: enhancing performance through employee engagement. Department for Business Innovation & Skills, 1, 1 –124.
  •   Perlo, J., Balik, B. Swensen, S., Kabscenell, A., Landsman, J., Feeley, D.  IHI Framework for Improving Joy in Work.  IHI Whitepaper.  (2017) 
  •   Schaufeli, W. B., & Bakker, A. B. (2003). UWES Utrecht Work Engagement Scale Preliminary Manual. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, (November), 58.
  •   Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational Culture and Leadership. John Wiley and Sons.
  •   The King’s Fund. (2012). Leadership and engagement for improvement in the NHS: Together we can.
  •   The King’s Fund. (2015). Staff engagement. Six building blocks for harnessing the creativity and enthusiasm of NHS Staff. The King’s Fund.
  •   West, M., & Dawson, J. (2012). Employee Engagement and NHS Performance. The King’s Fund, 1–23.
  •   West, M., Armit, K., Loewenthal, L., Eckert, R., West, T.& Lee, A.  (2015).  Leadership in Healthcare - A Summary of the Evidence Base.
  •   West, M., Eckert, R., Stewart, K., & Passmore, B. (2014). Developing collective leadership for health care. 

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