Maximise Improvement by Empowering Staff

Picture of Kerrie Preston

Published on 22 July 2019 at 14:54

by Kerrie Preston

Maximise Quality Improvement Work by Empowering Staff

Healthcare organisations are defined by their people, so valuing employees should be at the top of the list, engaged staff encourages better performance which will lead to better outcomes. 


It comes as no surprise that the more disengaged, overworked and disempowered a workforce becomes it will eventually reflect in their day-to-day activities with organisations experiencing an upward trend in sick days, high staff turnover and lack of engagement. It is clear that an unhappy workforce effects patient experience and worse still patient mortality. 

David Astley OBE
, a former NHS Trust CEO who has recently run public hospitals in Qatar succinctly summed it up, “Happy staff make for happy patients”.


More explicitly still, MacLeod and Clarke (2009) identify the core element of engagement as the relationship; “it is when the business values the employee and the employee values the business.”


The value of employee engagement and empowerment can result in:

  • Higher staff morale, motivation and satisfaction
  • Lower staff turnover
  • Improved quality of care for patients and a better experience of care
  • Fewer medical errors
  • Less absenteeism, stress and incidences of burnout
  • Improved staff wellbeing and productivity

empowering staff - 01


Drivers for empowerment and engagement in Improvement:

Some factors are out of the organisation’s control, but for others the management and leadership plays an important role. Good communication and visibility across the whole organisation, from the board, through senior and first line managers is a key factor to empower your staff. Make sure to set clear objectives and that everyone is on the same page making it easier for the staff to see how they actions contribute to achieve the common goal. Involve them as much as you can to make them feel they have influence on the direction of their work.

Making every role count is another crucial factor to align staff engagement with the aims of the organisation itself. Every staff member should know how their role fits into the overall structure to understand better how they can help to achieve a better patient care. A good practise to increase staff engagement is to reward employees for their hard work and achievements. There are several tools and methods you can choose from, such as Joy in Work, celebrating success or share success stories.

Along with rewarding your staff, you should think about their professional development as well. The right training and development needs to be identified and provided to suit the needs of both individual staff and the organisation. This can help to achieve better quality of work and consequently improve the care for patients.



One model for a highly engaged organisation


PyramidModel - 01

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Source: Improving NHS Care by Engaging Staff and Devolving Decision-Making. Report of the Review of Staff Engagement and Empowerment in the NHS, Kings Fund.


What role can Life QI play in engaging and empowering staff for improvement?

Life QI is used to accelerate improvement. In doing so it means different things to different people in the organisation. For some it is a management platform, but for most it is a collaborative workspace for driving forwards improvement projects. No matter how you use it, it serves to enable visibility and ownership of improvement work and with this, brings a sense of empowerment and responsibility for pushing the organisation to improve as much as possible.


Specifically, Life QI enables staff engagement in improvement through:


Highlight the impact to patients

Shine a light on how improvement work improves patient care and experience using the wealth of evidence in Life QI. When staff see the difference QI projects make to patients they are more likely to engage.


Identify contribution

See how your efforts contribute to organisation’s strategy and priorities. Life QI allows staff to easily align their project with strategic objectives and themes.


Recognise effort and results

Easy access to projects and view of their progress can mean senior leaders can quickly and easily highlight outstanding pieces of work and give praise and recognition where applicable.


Improvement workspace

It provides teams with the process and tools needed to run QI projects in line with best practices and internal governance.


Target areas for greater engagement

Use the Analytics functionality to identify areas of the organisation to focus engagement efforts on. You can easily identify where low levels of QI activity are around the organisation.


Facilitate training

Easily train staff using the built in QI tools encouraging uptake of improvement techniques. The more staff are trained in QI the more empowered they will feel to go and run their own projects.



Being web-based Life QI can be accessed anywhere giving people the freedom to work and collaborate from anywhere.


"People will be empowered, and their experience of health and care will be transformed, by the ability to access, manage and contribute to digital tools, information and services"

NHS 10-year Plan, 2018





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