Generation Y are more likely to choose a job for a cause than any other reason. Their energy is what will inspire positive change in the NHS faster than ever before and that is why the health service needs them
I am a 20-something performance manager at King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust and I graduated from the management training scheme just over a year ago.
Action speaks louder than words, even words in the HSJ. This is my call to action to NHS leaders to embrace the millennial workforce and enable them to develop into the positive leaders of tomorrow, up to the challenge of transforming our health and care services.
‘I am so proud to be part of a health service that can do so much’
My dad was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer five years ago, and the NHS cured him. Three years later, it was my mum with myeloma cancer. She might not be so lucky, but I am proud of the NHS for the outstanding care she is getting.
Like many others, I joined the service because I wanted to dedicate my life to making it better, to making my country healthier and because I am so proud to be part of something that can do so much.
- Visit HSJ’s Inspirational Women 2014 page
- See who is on the HSJ Inspirational Women 2014 list
- HSJ celebrates inspirational women in healthcare
- Download a free PDF of the top 50 list
- Join the debate using hashtag #HSJWomen
- Emerging leaders pen the future
- Where now for the NHS’s best leadership talent?
- Give practice managers the leadership tools they need
A leading generation
In my short career I have been bowled over by the passion NHS staff have and the opportunities there are to make a difference.
I have taken these with both hands, both in my day job constantly looking to help others and develop the service and outside of the working day: volunteering in a care home, establishing NHS Change Day, and working with others to create a share vision for the NHS over the next fifty years.
‘Despite the negative press, people want to be managers in the NHS’
At work, I have looked to learn from others, to develop a skill set and apply it and constantly tweak it to ensure I am always contributing in the best way possible to deliver excellent care for patients.
I am not unique to my generation. I am a typical “millennial” - born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Research shows that this generation are more far more likely to choose a job for a cause than any other reason.
The NHS is keeping people healthy, and caring for them in their hour of need. Its popularity with millennials is backed up by the success of the graduate management scheme, recently highlighted in NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens’ speech at the Kings Fund.
Changing the world
Despite the negative press, people want to be managers in the NHS.
What should you know about what makes millennials tick - probably an app on our smartphones - and how do you get the best out of us?
Our generation has been shown to put an equal value on time, networks and money when determining where to work. Milllennials choose jobs based on passion, we embrace technology, and we love to work in groups.
We are digitally savvy, and constantly connected to each other in so many ways and various social networks that we don’t recognise tribalism. We embody diversity.
‘Our mission is to be able to do good and make a tangible difference through the work place’
Our mission is not to be recognised for doing good. Rather, the point is to be able to do good and make a tangible difference through the work place.
As a result, they relate to causes and issues more than they do to organisations. This means that holding a job is no longer the priority: it is more the ability it offers them to use their strengths, to connect with their purpose, and to work alongside others who are able to do the same.
Did I mention NHS Change Day? It isn’t going to stop.
A shared purpose
Do millennials sound irritating and unmanageable with shiny toy phones and opinions they haven’t earned yet? Doubtless, some see it that way.
Yet is it credible that the future NHS workforce and user base will be less digitally connected and less technologically capable? In the future, this will shape much of what we do.
Leadership will become more about standing up together to mobilise around a cause. Technology will move forward, enabling working patterns to change, and health services will be delivered through a person centric model.
Change will be inspired by narrative and shared purpose, and the energy behind it will mean things move at a much faster pace.
‘Current leaders need to enable millennials to make a difference’
However, for this vision to occur we need to ensure the NHS continues to attract millennials to work in the health sector.
Current leaders need to enable us to make a difference. They need to give us space to create change and support us through facilitating opportunities, joining our networks and listening to our ideas.
We need to come together to cut down on the paperwork and box ticking which is turning millennials off the NHS. To work to provide them with the skills they need whatever they are, in methods that millennials can understand such as virtual learning and storytelling.
And as millennials, we need to inspire the NHS to do this. We need to stay engaged, stay social and take full advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. We need to trust that together we will make a better future for the NHS.
Pollyanna Jones is regulatory performance manager for King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust