Defining and measuring good staff engagement in major change


Q need your help to shape a new understanding of good staff engagement and how to effectively measure it, during this period of substantial change and unprecedented service pressures for health and care.

Information for participants


The health and care system relies heavily on the energy and expertise of its staff to keep it running from day to day. Evidence for the importance of engaging staff well, and the positive effect that this can have on care, has been growing for years.

Good staff engagement, in practice, has always varied. But service pressures and workforce shortages, made worse by the pandemic, have led to a more complex and challenging context for those trying to deliver change. Now, more than ever, we need a measurement approach that supports organisations to improve the way they engage their staff.

So far in this project

In the first task of this project, we asked what good staff engagement looks like to you, thinking about your own experience, role and organisation.

In the next task we asked you to rank and comment on the leading themes and ideas shared by participants, and to tell us about your own recent experience.

More recently, we showed you what this draft definition of good staff engagement looks like and started hearing your ideas on measuring these in different contexts. Whether you took part in the earlier tasks of this project, or you’re joining us for the first time, we need your help to identify new ways of measuring staff engagement.

We want to understand

Your experience of staff engagement – both good and bad

How you define “good” in the current context of service pressures and staff shortages 

How we can use a new definition, developed together, to guide measurement

Anyone with an interest in health and care delivery is invited to take part. We're particularly keen to hear from people with experience of improvement in healthcare

Help shape a new definition of staff engagement that can be used in times of major change

Coming soon...

How you can be involved

Task 1

You will be asked to tell us a bit about your experience of staff engagement, and then explain what’s key to a definition of good staff engagement. (COMPLETE)

Task 2

You will be shown a summary of the results from Task 1, then you’ll be asked to rank, vote, and comment on what’s emerged as important. (COMPLETE)

Task 3

We will present you with your co-created definition of good staff engagement. We’ll then be seeking your views on what measurement should look like for staff engagement and identifying current gaps. (COMPLETE)

Task 4

In this final task, we’ll be asking for your feedback to help us finalise our approach to measuring good staff engagement in major change. (COMPLETE)

Step by step

Create your Thiscovery account and verify your email address
Give consent
Read the information for participants and agree to take part in the project
Complete survey
Complete the final survey of this project

Information for participants

Key things to know

  • We’re looking at what good staff engagement is and how we can measure it, particularly in periods of substantial change and pressure.
  • The first task asked for your views on the subject via a simple survey.
  • In task two, you were shown a summary of what participants said overall. You were then asked to vote and comment on what you do and don’t agree with.
  • In task three, you were invited to read our new definition of good staff engagement in major change and to identify any existing or new measures of these key features of staff engagement.
  • In the final task, we’ll ask you to review our list of survey and self-checklist measures created so far. We’ll also be asking for any examples you might have of these principles put into practice.
  • Participation in this project is entirely voluntary. If at any time you decide you do not want to take part, that’s not a problem. Please let the research team know by emailing
  • Your confidentiality will be maintained at all times.
  • This webpage explains the project in more detail.

About this project

All services, and particularly those in health and care, are dependent on the staff needed to run and keep them going. When there are periods of major pressure and change, it is particularly important that those who experience this change are engaged with by leaders and organisations, so that they can shape and lead this change.

Evidence suggests that better levels of staff engagement lead to improved outcomes, including the quality of care received.

To improve staff engagement, it is necessary to understand what this means, especially in the context of major change. Such environments make engagement even more important, but also may change the type of engagement that is needed.

What's happened so far?

In the first task, participants told us what staff engagement meant to them, in their own words. For task two, we summarised that so that participants could have a vote on the most important of these. We then asked if participants could tell us a bit more about what this looks like in the current context of prolonged pressure and change.

Task three asked for participants to identify any existing measures of these features of good staff engagement. We then asked for their thoughts on other ways these features could be measured to support improvement.

What will happen and how will you be involved?

We will begin by asking for your consent. You will then be shown our overall draft definition of good staff engagement, and asked to leave any final comments. After this, you will be asked to contribute your ideas for measurement of this definition in a range of contexts.

This project is hosted by an online platform known as Thiscovery. If you would like to take part, you will need to register on the secure Thiscovery platform, which has been developed by The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS) Institute at the University of Cambridge and facilitates consultation projects like this one. The key features of the platform are set out below:

What is it? – Thiscovery is a secure online platform developed by THIS Institute. It facilitates members of the public, including people who access healthcare as patients, carers and service users, healthcare professionals, and policy makers, to engage in research through the platform.

How is it accessed? – Thiscovery can be accessed on PCs, phones, tablets and other devices using the following link: To use Thiscovery, potential participants first register to use the platform by providing the following details: name, email address, and current location (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales).

What are the benefits of registering? – By registering for an account, participants can review the projects and tasks they’ve completed on the platform and receive information and updates on Thiscovery based research.

Within Thiscovery you will be asked to complete an initial set of eligibility questions, to read a consent statement and provide consent electronically. Following consent, you will be emailed a link to the project information on the Thiscovery website, and a copy of your completed consent form for your records. Once you have given your consent, you will be able to access survey materials through the Thiscovery platform.

This final task will take you around 15 minutes to complete.

What are the benefits of this project?

Although there will be no direct benefit to you from taking part in this project, we have designed this project to be interesting and relevant to those working in this space. By engaging with our questions and having your say, we hope that the project will equip participants with ideas and insights to take back into their work.

Your contribution will also improve our knowledge of good staff engagement. We will use this to make practical recommendations that can influence how staff engagement takes place and how it is measured.

Are there any risks?

We do not expect there to be any risks or disadvantages of taking part, other than the time it will take to participate in the survey. You do not have to answer any question that you do not want to.

What do I do if I want to withdraw from the project?

If you change your mind about taking part in the project you can withdraw at any time without giving a reason. However, it may not be possible to remove project data that has already been submitted through your Thiscovery account.

To withdraw please email

Personal data used to register for Thiscovery will be securely stored on Thiscovery, as set out in the Thiscovery terms and conditions. If you decide at any point after registering with Thiscovery that you no longer want your contact details kept by Thiscovery, you can de-register by emailing

For more information on how to manage your Thiscovery account, please see the privacy policy.

How will your data be used?

We will keep all information about you safe and secure. The Health Foundation will be using information from you in order to carry out this project, so The Health Foundation is the data controller for this project. This means that they are responsible for looking after your information and using it properly. They will keep identifiable information about you for as long as it is required. This will be stored securely by The Health Foundation. Some of the information that you provide might be considered as data that would be classed as Special Category data under Article 9 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As part of the consent process for this project we therefore need to seek your consent for the processing of this data.

We will need to use the following information from you for this project:

  • Your consent form.
  • Your name and contact details so that we can tell you when our tasks go live, and share with you project results if you request.
  • Your anonymous survey results.

Only the direct recruiting team and data management teams will have access to your personal information. All information for analysis and all reports will be robustly anonymised. Your data will have a code number instead.

Once we have finished the project, we will keep some of the data so we can check the results. We will write our reports in a way that no-one can work out that you took part in the project. Personal identifiable information will be deleted 24 months after the end of the project. This is to allow us to communicate any results from the project to those participants who want to be kept informed and agree to be re-contacted.

What are your choices about how your information is used?

You can stop being part of the project at any time, without giving a reason, but we will keep project data that you have already submitted. Please read the earlier section on withdrawing from the project for full details.

We need to manage your records in specific ways for the project data to be reliable. This means that we won’t be able to let you see or change the data we hold about you.

Where can you find out more about how your information is used?

You can find more about how we use your information via the following:

What will happen to the results of the project?

We think that staff, leaders and the healthcare system as a whole will benefit from a refreshed definition of staff engagement, and an actionable system to measure and improve this.

We expect to make the findings of this project publicly available. We are likely to publish our framework and accompanying analysis by Spring 2023.

All results published in this way will strictly preserve the anonymity of the project’s participants so that no participants are identifiable through this output.

Who has organised and funded the project?

  • This project is led by Henry Cann, Evaluation, Data & Impact Manager at Q, run by The Health Foundation.
  • This project is funded by The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS Institute) – an independent research institute co-created by the University of Cambridge and The Health Foundation (an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK).

Get in touch

For questions or concerns about anything to do with the project, please email For technical problems or questions about the platform, please contact the Thiscovery team using the chat or email at

For any complaints or concerns

Contact The Health Foundation, 8 Salisbury Square, EC4Y 8AP: 020 7257 8000,

If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your information, you should contact the research team at

If you are not happy after that, you can contact the Data Protection Officer at

If you are not satisfied with their response or believe your data is being processed in a way that is not lawful, you can complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) at or telephone 0303 123 1113.


This project is led by researchers at Q (The Health Foundation)