Staff support networks provide staff with space to come together and share their experiences. They can also help to address problems faced by staff from under-represented groups.
Staff networks also provide an avenue for employees’ voices and aim to create a fairer and more equitable environment for staff.
CIPD published a guide on establishing staff networks, some key recommendations included:
- Ensure networks have long term objectives.
- Meetings should be regular (anything from weekly to monthly) and clearly structured to help to meet the networks broader aims.
- Meetings should be opportunities for both learning and tangible change.
- It is essential to secure buy-in from senior leaders for networks to function effectively.
- Consider appointing a network chair or representative who can act as a first point of contact.
- The discussions of employees personal experiences can evoke strong emotions in staff. Ensure that staff feel comfortable to raise sensitive issues and that facilitators have the training and skills to appropriately manage these discussions.
- Consider setting up an umbrella organisation to integrate networks and help them work together.
You can find more information on different types of staff networks within NHS England here:
- Disability and Wellbeing Network (DAWN)
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT+) network
- Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) network
- Women’s Development Network
Each organisation may have information on support networks for staff within the area. You may be able to find more information about this on your organisations intranet.