10. Running the staff feedback event
This event aims to enable staff to highlight their priorities for improvements within their service. It is also a key opportunity to show staff that the project seeks to form a genuine partnership between staff and patients.
The staff feedback event is a facilitated meeting that brings members of the service team together to discuss and share their views about the service. The meeting, which usually lasts at least two hours, follows a clear agenda. (See staff feedback event agenda template. The project facilitator opens by explaining the purpose of the meeting and setting the agenda for the day. Then, findings of the interviews and observations are fed back to the group (including lots of direct quotes from staff), and the facilitator seeks staff feedback and discussion about these views.
Following the discussions, the facilitator supports the group to identify issues needing service improvement and then to narrow this long list down to four or five key areas that could be taken forward through the experience-based co-design groups. These are then added to the priorities highlighted in the patient feedback event to produce the final list, which will be discussed at the joint patient-staff event.
- For this and all the events within the project, book the venues well in advance. Think through arrangements for food, accessibility, transport and clear signposting. Try to achieve an atmosphere that is not too formal or clinical but that is sufficiently professional for staff to take it seriously.
- Encourage as many people as possible to attend, however much or little contact they have had with the project to date. Arrange it at a time and place that makes it easy for people to attend – probably a venue within the service. Make sure that people are invited by an influential member of the team, and provide lunch or refreshments.
- Help people to interact by seating them at one large, or several smaller, tables or circles (depending on the numbers) and starting the event with an icebreaker (for examples of icebreakers see the Mind Tools website). Facilitate sensitively to ensure that the more senior or confident members do not dominate the discussions.
- The findings must be fed back by someone who works in and leads the service, to demonstrate ownership of the project. The speaker must be well briefed, familiar with the content, and adept at inspiring commitment and discussion among the audience. (See staff feedback event agenda template)
- Pick a method for helping staff select the service they wish to prioritise for improvement. Staff could vote by raising their hand. Another idea is to ask each participant to write down on sticky notes one thing that works well in the service, and one thing that needs improvement. There is often much consensus and overlap. These can be stuck on a board and used as a basis for discussion. Another approach is for participants to move the sticky notes into order of priority.
- (More information on voting techniques is available on the Creating Minds website).
- Help staff to identify those issues that could be worked on effectively alongside patients.
- When seeking interview feedback from staff, ask for their views on the positive and negative perceptions of working in the service/experiencing the service as a patient. Ask what they think are the priorities for improving staff and patients’ experience of the service. Take observational notes and quotes during the feedback session.
- There may be some issues that are not suitable for the staff–patient group but that the team may want to address as a separate process – for example, complaints about how the management team communicates with the staff team. These will need to be addressed or parked, to ensure that discussion moves on to other issues.
- To learn what went well and what could be improved in this event seek feedback from the attendees. (See sample staff feedback form).