High Performance High Engagement

A work approach for DHBs.

On this page:

High Performance High Engagement (HPHE) is a way of working through engagement between management and unions. Although a partnership is sought between management and unions, all of the workforce will be involved, regardless of whether individuals are union members or not.

High Performance High Engagement sees “the people closest to the problem (or opportunity) involved and engaged in solving the problem (or opportunity)”. [1]

Setting a foundation

To enter into HPHE requires setting a foundation that includes:

  • strategic understanding at leadership levels
    • shared understanding of business and union challenges
    • a vision for HPHE
    • an HPHE charter and objectives
  • setting up joint HPHE governance structure and processes
  • joint training in the process – includes interest based methodologies and decision making including consensus.

HPHE requires engagement at all levels

HPHE requires engagement at all levels so delegates and business managers can deal with problems as they arise, focus the organisation on performance and jointly provide leadership for HPHE. HPHE allows projects to address priority issues of concern to workers and to the business. HPHE seeks development and deployment of a frontline structure for engagement and continuous improvement.

To build HPHE into an organisation there is a need to develop continuous improvement methodologies and internal capabilities, and to integrate HPHE practices and behaviours into the culture of the organisation. It is possible to continue with other initiatives already in place.

Four stages of HPHE development

The methodology suggests there are four stages of HPHE development:

  1. Build understanding of union and management leadership and then make the decision to get started
  2. Establish the foundation and the initial projects
  3. Deploy a structure for front-line engagement
  4. Actualise frontline teams to improve performance.

National Framework for High Performance High Engagement (HPHE)

In September 2017 a group of four DHBs and 3 unions took part in a two day workshop to develop a national framework (previously called central framework) for HPHE.

A group of about 30 keen participants worked hard over the two days and many of the participants including the external consultants remarked on the level of energy at the workshop.

The group completed a draft national framework which has subsequently been considered by senior leaders in each of the participating DHBs and unions and has now been approved by the Health Sector Relationship Agreement (HSRA) Steering Group.

The framework was presented at the national Chief Executives and Chairs meeting on 7 December 2017 and will be sent out by email to all DHBs and participating unions. Download the framework in Word or PDF:

The national framework will become the on-going reference document for HPHE and related matters including how decisions going forward are made about HPHE locally and nationally.  It is envisaged that the HSRA endorsed national framework will be offered to all future DHBs that wish to enter HPHE.  Although this a national framework it is accepted that there will be local variations and individual DHBs will have the opportunity to develop local charters while upholding the principles of the national framework.

The framework is a comprehensive document and areas covered include:

  • Vision
  • Objectives
  • Scope of HPHE
  • Governance
  • Decision making
  • Engagement
  • Integration with other initiatives
  • HPHE dispute resolution
  • HPHE protocols
    • Selection of participants
    • Confidentiality
    • Dealing with collective issues
  • Dealing with Employment security for HPHE initiatives
  • Rostering and pay for HPHE activities collective issues

South Canterbury DHB launch

In early November South Canterbury DHB (SCDHB) became the first DHB to officially launch HPHE in their DHB.

By all accounts it was a very successful workshop with full and willing participation from leaders, managers, and unions alike.  The DHB reported finding the workshop invaluable and the unions and DHB noted that it was very useful to have the national framework to guide discussions.  A SCDHB Charter was developed which lays out the local application of the national framework.  Participants also selected four main projects to move forward with using HPHE principles.  The projects are:

  • the surgical journey
  • the mental health journey
  • annual leave and sick leave
  • ensuring the organisation is ready for the ITI strategy and the overall IT strategy.

The next step includes a meeting on 30 November 2017 to set up the DHB governance structure for HPHE.

The DHB had representatives from all workforces at the workshop and there were also three unions represented.  Although HPHE is essentially an engagement programme between employers and unions representing employees and the important role of the unions is acknowledged, it has always been agreed that in DHBs all workforce members will be involved regardless of whether they are union members or whether individual unions are represented.

Ministry assistance / Criteria for entering HPHE

The Ministry’s role, as one of the tripartite parties, is to provide assistance to DHBs entering HPHE. Some funding has been approved and as DHBs engage in development work and training and any resultant work with consultants they will be able to access funding. In order to access the funding each DHB must complete the Criteria for Entry form:

Once completed, email this form to [email protected].

Next steps in DHBs

The government has indicated support for HPHE programmes where employers and unions wish to work together to implement HPHE systems designed to lift productivity through worker participation in decision making.

As one of the parties to HSRA, the Ministry has provided support for the initial stages of the HSRA sponsored HPHE initiative including the workshop in February 2017, Ministry and CTU visits to 17 DHBs between April and June 2017, the national framework workshop in September and the SCDHB launch in November 2017. Several other DHBs have already indicated a likelihood that they will launch HPHE in their DHBs early in 2018 and ongoing progress reports will be provided.

DHBs interested in finding out more about HPHE can email [email protected]

DHB updates

Since the Forum and DHB visits in 2017 there has been progress in introducing High Performance High Engagement (HPHE) to DHBs.  It was always the intention to provide some updates as progress occurred so DHBs can follow what is happening in the HPHE arena. 

South Canterbury DHB has made significant progress in getting their projects underway and Nigel Trainor has provided his thoughts on the HPHE journey in South Canterbury DHB.  Please find Nigel's article below.  As more DHBs reach milestones we will provide ongoing updates.


[1] From HP 2 presentation at February 2017 Forum

Back to top