Encouraging staff involvement in the People Pulse – Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust provides integrated healthcare for children and young people. This includes community and mental health care as well as acute and specialist services.

Their vision is “to create a healthier future for children and young people” through three aims: Outstanding Patient Care, Brilliant Place to Work and Leader in Child Health. Ensuring colleagues feel involved and heard is crucial to achieving this vision.

The People Pulse offered the trust the opportunity to listen to staff and take frequent action to improve employee experience, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The trust worked hard to ensure that feedback was not only collected but acted upon as part of empowering employee voice.

The trust encouraged colleagues to take part in the People Pulse through the following:

  • Tailored communications: The communications team adapted the People Pulse imagery to reflect their organisation’s branding which allowed colleagues to see that it was supported by their organisation.
  • Regular reminders: The team placed calendar reminders in colleagues’ diaries by way of reminding them to complete the survey. This helped to increase their response rate.
  • Support from senior colleagues: The trust’s Executive Team acted as advocates and encouraged colleagues to take part in the People Pulse.
  • Alignment with the staff survey: Despite initial concerns of survey fatigue, the staff survey and People Pulse have proven to work well together. The trust has used the People Pulse as a way of gaining a regular overview of employee experience and to gather input against specific concerns or topics. The less frequent but more in-depth staff survey has delivered further insight on employee feedback for longer term action and focus.

The People Pulse forms an important part of the trust’s employee engagement work, with colleague feedback leading to the following trust-wide actions:

  • Enhanced health and wellbeing offer: Following feedback, the trust has promoted greater flexibility of working patterns, and have shared further details of their wellbeing, mental health and financial wellbeing support available.
  • Better connection between teams: The People Pulse helped the trust to identify that they needed to enhance their sense of team solidarity. They hosted virtual quizzes and refreshment catch ups to give colleagues a space to speak to one another informally aside from work commitments. They also established Countdown to Christmas, which included daily fun activities and colleague benefits throughout December to help colleagues feel connected and to lift morale.
  • Better technological support: The trust has placed greater emphasis on ensuring equipment is accessible for colleagues in all job roles so they can stay informed through regular comms and e-news bulletins.

The trust’s wider employee engagement approach, as well as the People Pulse as a key element, includes regular Open Meetings, colleague conferences, equality groups and informational feedback opportunities. All of this has contributed to improvement in the annual Staff Survey, with Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust now above average in nine out of ten survey themes.

For more information on how Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have used the People Pulse, contact Lea Fountain, Associate Director of Communications lea.fountain@nhs.net.

If you are interested in taking part in the People Pulse, contact the Staff Experience and Engagement team nhsi.peoplepulse@nhs.net.