Communications and relationships skills

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This factor measures the skills required to communicate, establish and maintain relationships and gain the cooperation of others. It takes account of the skills required to motivate, negotiate, persuade, make presentations, train others, empathise, communicate unpleasant news sensitively and provide counselling and reassurance. It also takes account of difficulties involved in exercising these skills.

 

Skills required for:

Level 1: Providing and receiving routine information orally to assist in undertaking own job. Communication is mainly with work colleagues.
Level 2:                 Providing and receiving routine information orally, in writing or electronically to inform work colleagues, patients, clients, carers, the public or other external contacts.
Level 3: (a) Providing and receiving routine information which requires tact or persuasive skills or where there are barriers to understanding, or
(b) providing and receiving complex or sensitive information, or
(c) providing advice, instruction or training to groups, where the subject matter is straightforward.
Level 4: (a) Providing and receiving complex, sensitive or contentious information, where persuasive, motivational, negotiating, training, empathic or re-assurance skills are required. This may be because agreement or cooperation is required or because there are barriers to understanding, or
(b) providing and receiving highly complex information.
Level 5: (a) Providing and receiving highly complex, highly sensitive or highly contentious information, where developed persuasive, motivational, negotiating, training, empathic or re-assurance skills are required. This may be because agreement or co-operation is required or because there are barriers to understanding, or
(b) presenting complex, sensitive or contentious information to a large group of staff or members of the public, or
(c) providing and receiving complex, sensitive or contentious information, where there are significant barriers to acceptance which need to be overcome using developed interpersonal and communication skills such as would be required when communicating in a hostile, antagonistic or highly emotive atmosphere.

Level 6: Providing and receiving highly complex, highly sensitive or highly contentious information where there are significant barriers to acceptance which need to be overcome using the highest level of interpersonal and communication skills, such as would be required when communicating in a hostile, antagonistic or highly emotive atmosphere.
Definitions and notes: 

 

From Level 2 upwards communication may be oral or other than oral (e.g. in writing) to work colleagues, staff, patients, clients, carers, public or other contacts external to the department, including other NHS organisations or suppliers.

Requirement to communicate in a language other than English. Jobs with a specific requirement to communicate in a language other than English, which would otherwise score at Level 2 will score at Level 3. Any score higher than Level 3 will be dependent on the nature of the communication, the skills required and the extent to which they meet the factor level definitions and not the language of delivery.

Barriers to understanding (Levels 3 to 5a) refers to situations where the audience may not easily understand because of cultural or language differences, or physical or mental special needs, or due to age (e.g. young children, elderly or frail patients/clients)

From Level 3 upwards communication may be oral, in writing, electronic, or using sign language, or other verbal or non-verbal forms.

Tact or persuasive skills (Level 3a). Tact may be required for situations where it is necessary to communicate in a manner that will neither offend nor antagonise. This may occur where there is a job requirement to communicate with people who may be upset or angry, be perceptive to concerns and moods and anticipate how others may feel about anything which is said. Persuasive skills refer to the skills required to encourage listeners to follow a specific course of action.

Complex (Levels 3b, 4a, 5b, 5c) means complicated and made up of several components, eg financial information for accountancy jobs, employment law for HR jobs, condition related information for qualified clinical jobs. Most professional jobs normally involve providing or receiving complex information.

Sensitive information (Levels 3b, 4a, 5b, 5c) includes delicate or personal information where there are issues of how and what to convey.

Training where the subject matter is straightforward (Level 3c) refers to training in practical topics such as manual handling; new equipment familiarisation; hygiene, health and safety.

Empathy (Level 4a, 5a) means appreciation of, or being able to put oneself in a position to sympathise with, another person’s situation or point of view.

Highly complex (Levels 4b, 5a, 6) refers to situations where the jobholder has to communicate extremely complicated strands of information which may be conflicting eg communicating particularly complicated clinical matters that are difficult to explain and multi-stranded business cases.

Highly sensitive (Levels 5a and 6) refers to situations where the communication topic is extremely delicate or sensitive e.g. communicating with patients/clients about foetal abnormalities or life-threatening defects, or where it is likely to cause offence e.g. a health or social services practitioner communicating with patients/clients about suspected child abuse or sexually transmitted diseases.

Highly contentious (Levels 5a and 6) refers to situations where the communication topic is extremely controversial and is likely to be challenged e.g. a major organisational change or closure of a hospital unit.

Developed skills (Levels 5a and 6) refers to a high level of skill in the relevant area which may have been acquired through specific training or equivalent relevant experience. It includes formal counselling skills where the jobholder is required to handle one-to-one and/or group counselling sessions.

Presenting complex, sensitive or contentious information to a large group of staff or members of the public (Level 5b) means communicating this type of information to groups of around 20 people or more in a formal setting, e.g. classroom teaching, presentation to boards or other meetings with participants not previously known to the jobholder. This type of communication may involve the use of presentational aids and typically gains and holds the attention of, and imparts knowledge to, groups of people who may have mixed or conflicting interests.

Communicating in a hostile, antagonistic or highly emotive atmosphere (Level 5c) includes situations where communications are complex, sensitive or contentious (see above) and the degree of hostility and antagonism towards the message requires the use of a high level of interpersonal and communication skills on an ongoing basis, such as would be required for communications which provide therapy or have an impact on the behaviour/views of patients/clients with severely challenging behaviour. It also includes communications with people with strong opposing views and objectives where the message needs to be understood and accepted, e.g. communicating policy changes which have an impact on service delivery or employment.

Communicating highly complex information in a hostile, antagonistic or highly emotive atmosphere (Level 6). This level is only applicable where there is an exceptionally high level of demand for communication skills. It applies to situations where communications are highly complex, highly sensitive or highly contentious (see above) and there is a significant degree of hostility and antagonism towards the message which requires the use of the highest level of interpersonal and communication skills such as is required for communications which are designed to provide therapy or impact on the behaviour/views of patients with severely challenging behaviour in the mental health field. It also includes communications with people with extremely strong opposing views and objectives eg communicating a hospital closure to staff or the community where the message needs to be understood and accepted.

 

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