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.
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