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A Forum Filled Week - Staff Engagement Forums in the HSE

A Forum Filled Week – Staff Engagement Forums in the HSE

It was indeed, a forum filled week last week for the Staff Engagement team. On Tuesday the 17th of September, HR Colleagues from across the HSE attended the HR Division Staff Engagement Forum. First up on the agenda was a presentation by Emer Carroll, Health and Safety Manager from the Workplace Health and Wellbeing Unit. Emer truly captured the attention of her audience with her lively and interesting description of the Work Positive Tool and its successful trial in CHO5. This tool will be very useful for managers and staff across the HSE for measuring work-related stress – an area requiring action as per the 2018 Staff Survey results. Following on from the presentation, and taking full advantage of the selection of HR staff in the room, members were then split into 3 groups to brainstorm how they would address 3 main themes as set out in the People Strategy. These included: Collective Leadership, Exceptional Talent and Excellent Capability. 

Linking back to Emer’s presentation on work-related stress, the Forum then spent time reflecting  on their own lives by doing a “Wheel of Life” exercise. This reflection tool gives the user a helicopter view of how they are spending their time and energy across the different areas of their lives. Members were then encouraged to develop a work plan on how they could improve their “wheel of life”. Of course, it couldn’t be a Staff Engagement Forum without Staff Engagement getting a slot on the agenda. Members were briefed on the “Engaging Health Staff – An Action Plan 2019 – 2021” document,  which is a response to the 2018 Staff Survey Results and can be found here. All in all it was a very productive morning with a lot of engaging networking and discussion.   

Staff at the HR Forum meeting  

Image 1: HR Staff at the HR Division Staff Engagement Forum, Tuesday 17th of September 

The next day on the 18th of September, The National Staff Engagement Forum (NSEF) meeting took place in Dr. Steeven's Office. The agenda was chock-a-block with back-to-back sessions organised for the members. The forum was opened by Dr. Philip Crowley, the National Director for Quality and Improvement who introduced the forum to the new National Director for HR, Anne Marie Hoey. The HR and QID departments co-sponsor the NSEF and have been key to its success so far.

Philip Crowley open the National Staff Engagement Forum  

Image 2: Dr Philip Crowley (ND QID) opens the National Staff Engagement Forum. Image 3: Anne Marie Hoey (ND HR) address the forum members

Membership of the forum is based on a proportional representation of staff working in the HSE meaning that forum meetings are like having a meeting with a mini HSE. Sláintecare have used this unique opportunity to gather feedback and information from the forum. On Wednesday the Sláintecare team facilitated an interactive session around how information about the Sláintecare programme should be disseminated to the public and, more importantly, what information the Forum believed the public would engage with. Maureen Flynn and Nicola Gary from the QID team followed with a presentation seeking the NSEF’s feedback on their project to bring staff and patient experience to the consciousness of the Executive Management Team at their monthly meetings. But it wasn’t all work and no play, after lunch Adrienne Lynam led the group down to the court yard for a stretching session as well as an interactive role play to re-energise the group for the afternoon.

Forum members have been very proactive in “walking the talk” about staff engagement within their own areas. They promote the benefit of having an engaged health workforce and are committed to driving the agenda through their own work. Group projects have been established through the NSEF with members working on topics that they are passionate about or felt was important. The afternoon was spent working on these projects and updating the other forum members about their progress so far. 

Shann Morris and her poster

Image 4: Shann Morris, NSEF member with the poster she developed 

All our forums are great opportunities for HSE staff to network, learn and share experiences with colleagues. We hope that all members embrace this opportunity and then bring the nuggets of information they gain back to their own workplace to spread the word. Setting-up Staff Engagement Forums are a great starting point for those interested in beginning a staff engagement journey in their workplace. We have several successful forums across the service e.g. the National Ambulance Service, the South-South West Hospital Group, Mayo University Hospital…to name but a few. Some NSEF members are also involved in these local engagement groups and their experience and knowledge is of great benefit to their success. Through these forums we aim to create a culture of engagement that becomes embedded into our way of working in the HSE.

If you would be interested in joining a staff Engagement Forum, please contact:

HR Division Staff Engagement Forum: Sinead.woods@hse.ie

National Staff Engagement Forum: breda.odowd@hse.ie