Appreciating an engaged Alberta Health : increasing employee engagement in Alberta Health using appreciative inquiry
Blue, Norman Dean
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This study attempted to understand how an appreciative inquiry approach could improve employee engagement in Alberta Health. A review of the literature on employee engagement (including engagement in the public service), the drivers of employee engagement, and appreciative inquiry supported this research study. This qualitative research allowed participants to identify what positive characteristics of the organization lead to increased employee engagement and which of these elements could be actioned as part of a strategy to increase engagement. This research adhered to the Royal Roads University Research Ethics Policy and was conducted in a way to minimize potential harms to participants. A modified full-day appreciative inquiry summit and a follow-up survey generated the data for this study. The study found that participants were more engaged when trust is high between employees and between employees and organizational leaders, when employees feel empowered to act within an organizational vision, when their skills are recognized and tracked, and when the organization offers opportunities to use and enhance their skills by working outside of their normal work areas. Recommendations for the organization to increase employee engagement based on the results of this study include: (a) establish a whole-of-organization mentorship program that offers short-term networking opportunities between senior leaders and employees; (b) implement a skills inventory system specific for employees of Alberta Health; (c) implement a process that allows staff deployment to other areas of the department for short-term projects and exchanges; and (d) engage employees in business planning processes, including the divisional business plans that are separate from the broader government planning cycle.
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