Ryalto welcomes new NHS wellbeing strategies

The team at Ryalto is delighted to see NHS Trusts across the UK launch innovative schemes to better manage staff wellbeing, stress levels and work-life balance (as highlighted in The Guardian). From personal leadership experience within the NHS and now, as a people-focussed partner, we’ve long believed that people who are cared for, care better. Feeling engaged, recognised and valued is fundamental to driving excellent patient services and outcomes.

The article cites a 100,000 staff shortage, causing an acute crisis in the NHS. We know this is as much a retention issue as a recruitment one.  We’re losing people – in droves – “from the bedside”. Fewer people than ever before are looking to work at the NHS. With high stress levels, lack of flexibility, underappreciation, feelings of disempowerment, and a culture of disconnect and bullying, people are either not returning after maternity leave, taking early retirement, or simply leaving altogether.

It’s great to see different Trusts take a multi-pronged approach to tackle these issues, on the path to becoming better employers:

  • Introducing wellbeing initiatives such as yoga, pilates and mindfulness classes to boost health alongside a “take a break” culture.
  • Creating more effective communication across and within Trust teams.
  • Exploring more flexible working patterns – from part time through to term time hours.
  • Encouraging more transparent conversations around mental health.
  • Looking at ways to reduce financial pressure on staff – from financial education to free parking.

Ryalto CEO Katrina Percy said, “We’re huge advocates of addressing staff wellbeing and paying attention to their needs. It’s a cliché but nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants, simply can’t pour from an empty cup. Wellbeing is a major issue that needs to be prioritised – whether it’s taking time out for team building activities, improving internal communications and engagement, offering flexible working, or encouraging downtime.”

Creating a Culture of Communication to Attract New NHS Staff

Ryalto mobile app for NHS staff engagement

A recent BBC article revealed that NHS bosses in England are turning to online parenting chatroom Mumsnet to attract and recruit new NHS employees as part of its interim People Plan.

The initiative will focus on both new NHS recruits and those who used to work in nursing but have left the profession. NHS employees not returning to work after maternity leave, or retiring early, has been an unfortunate occurrence in the NHS in the last decade, with Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, warning that the NHS is losing staff directly “from the bedside”.

This new initiative by the NHS will undoubtedly start to entice either new additions or staff returners to the NHS. However, alongside attracting new employees, it is equally important to empower these employees through flexible working and building a culture of recognition and communication. As Dido Harding outlined in a recent HSJ article, “boards should take culture as seriously as finance”. Attracting staff is important, but ensuring that staff are engaged and happy is equally significant.

So, what can help build a culture of communication and engagement in the NHS or other healthcare systems? By clearly communicating with staff, empowering them to communicate with each other, and providing the opportunity to work flexibly, organisations within the healthcare industry can build a workplace culture of transparent communication and recognition. Increased staff engagement and happiness ultimately lead to better retention, which will undoubtedly reduce the amount of employees leaving the profession.

The NHS is the backbone of the UK’s healthcare system, and by empowering staff to manage their own working lives they can continue to be an employer to be proud of.

Want to learn more about what Ryalto can do for your healthcare organisation? Get in touch today.