Published: 16 October 2020
Following on from our recent research on staff experiences of COVID-19, we have now captured the main findings and suggestions for improvement in some useful infographics. As you know, the HSE, in partnership with Core Research began the first stage of this project in July 2020 with an online Pulse Survey which focused on staff experience during the period from March to June.
The second stage of research took place from 15 to 23 September 2020 in the form of 9 virtual Focus Groups representative of the 6 staff categories across geography and healthcare settings. The purpose of the Focus Groups was to delve deeper into the information already captured in the Pulse Survey and to explore what might have changed from the period of June to September.
The main themes of the research are:
- Staff Recognition: Show genuine appreciation & support ALL staff (emotionally, physically and technically) to do their job to the best of their ability.
- Health & Wellbeing: Focus on safety, enhance social connections and better promote the supports that are available.
- Workplace Culture: Foster and promote collaboration, communication and connect the goals and actions of staff with the wider purpose of the HSE
- Communication & Information Sharing: Engage staff in continual two-way dialogue, be empathetic and fully transparent.
- Involvement in Decision Making: Provide the opportunity for staff voices to be heard and acknowledged, while streamlining decision making.
- ICT supports: Upgrading and standardising IT capabilities ensuring an efficient remote working and digital service provision.
Infographics have been created to reflect the main findings and I would be obliged if you could circulate these infographics widely to your managers and staff by including them in local news bulletins and newsletters encouraging staff to take on board the suggestions for improvement. I would also request that where possible the posters are printed off and displayed in staff areas.
Each of the infographics can also be downloaded from our Staff Engagement website www.hse.ie/staffengagement
Thank You to all staff who took the time out of their busy schedules to participate in both the Pulse Survey and Focus Groups in order to share their experiences. The findings of this research offer an important opportunity for us to learn from staff feedback and inform recovery and action planning into the future.
Staff Survey part 1
In July 2020 Core Research on behalf of National HR conducted a survey about your experience of COVID-19. 7000 responses were collected from staff in a variety of different roles across the HSE.
Some things that you felt worked well during this period included:
- improved teamwork across many areas of the HSE
- better adherence to infection prevention and control
- those that could work from home felt the benefit of the increased flexibility and an improved work/life balance
Some key issues for you during the period from March to June 2020 were:
- greater clarity around redeployment
- increased workloads with already stretched resources
- lack of clear guidance on how to prevent the spread of COVID while continuing to work
- concern around exhaustion and burnout of frontline colleagues
Staff Focus groups in part 2
In part 2 we spoke with representative staff groups to understand the detail behind new work practices since the beginning of COVID-19 in March 2020.
It is anticipated that the findings from this research will inform recovery planning and the redesign of services in the future.
Findings of the staff focus groups
The second stage of the research took the form of 9 virtual Focus Groups. These groups were representative of the 6 staff categories across geographical and healthcare settings. The purpose of the Focus Groups was to delve deeper into the information already captured in part 1 of the Pulse Survey and to explore what might have changed from the period of June to September.
Who did we speak to?
We received a large response from staff who wanted to take part in the focus groups. Researchers put measures in place to ensure there was an adequate mix of regions, gender, age and cultural diversity. Nine virtual focus groups were conducted:
- Community Doctors
- Consultants & Dentists
- Nurse Managers
- Staff Nurses
- Health & Social Care
- Patient Care & Gen Support Staff
- Management & Admin (Senior)
- Management & Admin (Junior)
What we learned from the Quantitative Phase
- Focus on Action over Information: The need for simple, clear instructions for staff and accurate information
- Promote Increased Interaction with Managers: Opportunity for staff to increase their involvement in decision making & planning
- Promote Positive Workplace Culture: refocusing on shared goals
- Maintain and Plan into the Long-Term: Investment in planning for the medium to long-term.