The annual NHS budget review is seeking management cost reductions of 45% while the white paper consultation is seeking to delayer and develop a very different landscape for commissioning. The impact on workforce and morale should not be under-estimated.
The scale and scope of the change facing the NHS can feel paralysing but in an uncertain environment, doing nothing may make it harder to engage staff later. Effectiveness now and the ability to realise the future vision are both under threat. Being an active participant in shaping the future will be key to success. PA’s health team provide some practical advice on what you can do now to take you and your team in the right direction.
Take a programme view of the transition
Do not attempt to make changes around the edges of the day job – staff will find security in a structured plan of action – knowing what is to happen and when. Clear plans and involving those affected in the programme to help shape their own future will reduce the level of uncertainty. As with any large scale programme, break up the work into manageable chunks, set milestones and celebrate success as each milestone is reached. Start work on the journey now, preparing the ground for future changes or even getting yourselves ahead of the rest in transition.
Involve the team throughout the process
The more you involve the wider team in the changes, the better it will be for all. Have confidence to work across organisational boundaries to look at the total picture for the future. Use your team to help you identify the opportunities for change and build bridges with other organisations. Identify the key influencers within your organisation – they exist at all levels – and get them involved to help drive the change.
Keep the communications channels open
Change is unsettling, especially where some organisations are already anticipating closure in the next two years. Keep communicating with your workforce, keeping your messages consistent and using a variety of methods (formal and informal) to get the messages across. It is important to be honest in your communications, even when the news isn’t good and don’t be afraid to say when you don’t know the answer.
Remember that everyone is different and has different needs
In an environment where there is a lot of noise, the single voice can struggle to be heard. Encourage all managers to take time out to have one-to-one conversations with staff to manage their individual concerns and provide support, even helping them to secure jobs elsewhere. Finally, recognise that people will leave however well you manage your transition. When they do, ensure they leave with favourable impressions – morale is improved if you treat leavers fairly and those departing may be prepared to return if you need them in the future.
Supporting your workforce, in an environment facing change on a large scale over a long time period, will be a key success factor.
If you look after your team and involve them in the change process it will be good for the organisation, will build the right future and support the individual.
To learn how PA can help you and your workforce have confidence in transition, or for more information on PA's healthcare services, please contact us now.