Helping Your Healthcare outperform most NHS employee survey responses

Since 2014, The Survey Initiative has been providing an annual employee engagement survey for not-for-profit social enterprise Your Healthcare. Your Healthcare, a Community Interest Company (CIC), delivers healthcare services on behalf of the NHS and local authorities in the boroughs of Kingston and Richmond – providing learning disability services to the latter, they have also won, and been shortlisted for awards for their exceptional work in the community. As a member-owned organisation, focused on high levels of care for the individual, Your Healthcare relies heavily on its staff – known as members.  It is therefore keen to communicate with and consult each member, both to assess levels of engagement and to identify areas which can be improved to give employees better working conditions. The data collected in the annual engagement survey is central to this.

From the outset, the surveys that we have designed for Your Healthcare have gained a far larger response than the average among other healthcare sector providers. While similar staff surveys typically achieve a response rate of around 53%, those conducted by The Survey Initiative for Your Healthcare consistently achieve percentage response rates in the mid to high 70s. A section of each survey consists of questions that must be asked as part of a commitment to the NHS. Therefore it is vital to ensure that those questions that we are free to formulate are highly relevant and encourage responses which give plentiful clear data to analyse.

The survey is sent to the entire workforce across support, frontline and leadership teams, so it must elicit a response from everyone. Your Healthcare has a deliberately and unusually flat organisational structure, so the opinions and views of every member of staff are highly valued. Writing questions which include everyone, requiring us to use all our skill as research experts, is therefore key.

Your Healthcare values our experience in employee engagement in other fields and industries. As Managing Director, Ed Montgomery says, “It has been invaluable having The Survey Initiative to advise us on the kinds of questions that other organisations are finding helpful and illuminating, things that we would not have thought to ask, but which have led us to valuable insights.

“We have been very encouraged that we have continued to receive a high level of responses and engagement throughout the pandemic, which was of course a huge challenge for our teams, the vast majority of whom were certainly on the front line.”

Your Healthcare has been particularly keen to include every one of its members, illustrating the core values of transparency, innovation and freedom to question, which lie at the heart of the organisation. Response rates here have also been high. Furthermore, as Board Lead Front of House, Julie Sherlock, explains, “We also wanted to include those who didn’t have frequent access to online technology during their working day, to complete a digital survey. We also sent paper copies of our surveys to the home addresses of anyone who wanted to use a pen and paper approach and these completed forms are also processed and the data combined with that collected online. It’s important to us that everyone has a voice.”

In 2022 as the nation finally emerged from the worst of the pandemic, the annual survey was completed with even greater enthusiasm, responses being more immediate than usual. “We didn’t need to leave the survey open for as long a period this year,” says Ed Montgomery, “So our track record of acting on the survey findings and the wording of the questions must have allowed our teams to express themselves with ease and feel that they would be listened to. It also shows that our teams are keen to communicate with us, just as we are with them, which is very encouraging.”

Your Healthcare understands entirely that the perception, by employees, that progress will be made as a result of survey findings is fundamental, as it helps to ensure high response rates, so we worked with the team to ensure before each survey that employees knew that the leadership team were listening. Indeed, our advice to clients is that you should not conduct a survey unless you are prepared to act on the results – a concept that we did not need to explain to Your Healthcare.

Your Healthcare also treats its survey findings with unusual transparency. Many of our clients opt to distribute survey findings to managers who use them to plan, then may communicate some findings down the line. In contrast, Your Healthcare, reflecting its flat management structure, makes the survey results and feedback available to everyone within the organisation.

Your Healthcare operates from four key locations, Surbiton Health Centre, Hollyfield House, Sheridan House and Cedars Ward at Teddington Memorial Hospital, while providing other services based in community locations such as schools. The community healthcare services that they deliver include district nursing, health visiting, school nursing, rehabilitation, rapid response service, continence services, respiratory services, a tissue viability & leg ulcer service, an Integrated Care Team, physiotherapy, podiatry, and neurodevelopmental services including learning disabilities, and speech & language provision. In addition, the social care services teams also provide the local community with reablement & home care, as well as a Shared Lives Scheme (formerly Adult Placement Scheme).

As a not-for-profit social enterprise, Your Healthcare is proud to deliver patient-led, high-quality health and social care community services for Kingston and Richmond boroughs, and more broadly across South West London, alongside our partners including the NHS and voluntary sector. As a CIC, their status allows them to reinvest any surplus or profit into front line services for benefit of the community.

Working with the Your Healthcare team has been very rewarding for us, as we have felt that, over the years, in a small way, we are also helping those dedicated to delivering vital front line NHS services.

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