During the past 15 months, the National Health Service has been tested to capacity, responding to the shifting priorities and surging demand caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. We have admired the professionalism, perseverance, and dedication to duty of the NHS staff as they have cared for us under intense pressure, despite being exposed to much higher risk. Now the NHS needs to repay the favour; the organisation that has relied on its staff to show up, must do more to show up and support its own team members.

In the 2020/2021 NHS People Plan, the NHS Chief People Officer and Chair of Health Education laid out the Our People Promise to set expectations about leadership and what would make the greatest difference in improving NHS employees’ experience in the workplace. It focuses on how NHS People must continue to look after each other and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging, as well as take actions to develop and grow its workforce, invest more in its people and effectively work together to deliver patient care.

There are four critical commitments outlined in the plan 1) looking after people; 2) belonging in the NHS; 3) new ways of working and delivering care and 4) growing for the future. While it is inspiring to see employees at the top of the totem pole there will be undeniable challenges to address on this mission to modernise the NHS.

Critically, how will the People Plan be measured? Setting ambitious goals is one thing but how realistic and achievable are they currently? How will the NHS know whether the plan is working? How will employee experience improvements get measured? How routinely and uniformly will that be undertaken? How equipped is the NHS now to implement change on the ground?

The changes being rolled out such as tackling discrimination, focusing on quality health and wellbeing support and effectively utilising existing staff skills, will undoubtedly improve the employee experience, but many of these changes will be small and incremental. They will require a change in daily habits to really impact the culture. For these practices to be impactful, the NHS needs to monitor those habits and analyse the outcome for an accurate picture of best practices i.e.  what works, how it works and how do we implement and maintain it.

In our recent SAP and Qualtrics e-book, we explore the challenges facing the NHS today and ways the NHS can harness the power of technology to listen more actively, respond more quickly and work more effectively to better service employees, communities and patients. We’re honoured to be able to offer these insights on behalf of the people who look after us so well.

To find out more click here to download our e-book.