14 / 4 / 2014 11.34am
Health visitors are a highly skilled workforce, having to undergo a nursing or midwifery degree and then an additional post-qualifying year of education.
As the population and delivery of healthcare changes, so do the needs of your community. Keeping your staff motivated, and their skills up to date, is important. This page describes some of the approaches you can take to invest in your health visitors and other staff.
What matters to them? Staff engagement
An engaged workforce is a better performing workforce. Professor Michael West, among many others has conducted studies which show how.
In his blog for NHS Employers, 'cultures of engagement', Professor West discusses the features of a well engaged workforce. He concludes that better engaged staff will be more intrinsically motivated and excited by their jobs. In the NHS, engaged staff should act as advocates for their organisations, recommending family or friends to get treatment there or to work there. They should be involved in decisions, proposing and implementing ideas for new and improved ways of doing things.
Health visiting managers at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust have engaged with their health visitors, and improved morale and retention as a result of listening to what's important to them. Listen to our podcast which explains what they did.
Our staff engagement toolkit has been developed to help you get the most out of your staff by involving them in service and organisational development.
Find out how Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust has improved engagement with its staff and its community by developing a health visitor 'app' in our case study.
A healthy health service
The NHS cannot deliver care without its staff, it depends on having a healthy and productive workforce. Investing in the health and wellbeing of your staff will help you to reduce sickness absence, improve morale and retention rates.
Access more information on our Health, work and wellbeing pages.
Not just about pay - Total reward
The NHS is under increasing pressure to deliver better services under financial restraints. There are a range of incentives you can offer to your staff to reward them for their hard work.
Providing continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities for your health visitors - and all staff - will be a worthwhile investment for you. There are numerous options available. In the Autumn of 2014, Health Education England and the Department of Health published details of their new education initiative, which offers new CPD opportunities for health visitors. Find out more on our education initiative web page.
Staff can also set up their own communities of practice, join professional membership organisations such as the Institute for Health Visiting (IHV), or undertake free courses such as Building Community Capacity.
Visit our Total reward in the NHS pages to help you think about your offer to your workforce.
'Grow your own' health visitors
Employers are also thinking creatively about how to develop the skills of their existing workforce to 'grow their own' skilled workforce. Read about how 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is investing in its support workforce to help it improve its health visitors and other services in our case study.