The necessity for leaders to freshly engage with and motivate staff is the silver lining in these tough times, writes Rachael Heenan
In association with
Capsticks was delighted to take part in this HSJ top chief executives roundtable on engaging and motivating staff through the current NHS pressures.
At a time when the NHS struggles to recruit the key staff it needs and retain existing staff, whilst seeking to improve patient care, how are leaders dealing with this challenge? These issues have been thrown into even sharper focus by the effects of the Leave vote (see #loveoureustaff on Twitter for more on this).
Several themes emerged at the heart of the debate. Staff morale is taking a battering as significant factors such as long term pay restraint, industrial disputes and the impact of financial pressures join forces.
Leaders recognise that their staff are getting tired with the relentless pace and the fact there is no longer any “down time” to recover.
Our panellists said that their role was to help staff pace themselves and create an environment where they want to come to work; to that end, leaders need to shelter them, where possible, from continual external pressures.
Understanding the motivation of a different generation of staff now coming into the health service was another key area for discussion
Chief executives at the roundtable also said they’d had to become adept at managing external relationships to protect staff and increasingly be system leaders, rather than the leader of a single trust.
This required a mind-set change as organisations will be required to relinquish their sovereignty in part. There was a need to follow through and commit to work on agreed plans with partners. How can this happen across the country?
Understanding the motivation of a different generation of staff now coming into the health service was another key area for discussion. Both government and regulatory bodies need to understand them better to ensure they are motivated and stay within the NHS.
And what now with the Leave vote? It is too early to tell how changes that might have to be imposed as a result of this will impact staff.
However, the silver lining is that chief executives have renewed interest in motivating and working with all staff, making it a better workplace for everyone while also focusing on producing a better system for patients.
Rachael Heenan is a partner at Capsticks
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