"The NHS is facing challenging times as it seeks to improve the quality of patient care while improving productivity and achieving efficiency savings on a scale never attempted before. The NHS Employers organisation is encouraging the NHS to view recruiting and retaining the right staff as an important response to these challenges.
"We recognise that this is no easy task. With early signs of growth in private sector recruitment, some potential recruits will inevitably be drawn in that direction. And the NHS has its own set of issues. More of the NHS workforce is near retirement age and will leave posts vacant, while new and existing staff increasingly expect to negotiate options for part time and flexible working."
"One of the key ways of dealing with these challenges is for organisations to develop their talent “pipelines”, identifying skills gaps and promoting experienced staff from within, while looking to recruit the rising stars. This means engaging with the workforce and being able to identify:
- what talent is currently available - where those people are and how good they are
- what skills and experience they will need to progress
- how to develop these staff to meet future needs.
"It is also vital to communicate the total package of rewards available to staff. We need to move beyond the notion of joining the service for a salary and a pension. There are a raft of other rewards available to staff, apart from pay and conditions, and the pension.
"The NHS is comprised of many organisations with excellent schemes to support new staff to feel in control and able to contribute to their own development. The challenge is to ensure learnings from these schemes are shared between organisations both within and outside the NHS. And there is much the NHS can learn from how private organisations use total rewards schemes to motivate and support staff and much we can share with other sectors.
"The best plans cover staff at all levels and at all stages of their careers, identify the characteristics or competencies their future leaders will need, and take into account the need for a diverse workforce where the different strengths of individuals are appreciated and nourished. This is how true success can be achieved."
This article appeared in HR and Training Journal, issue 10, summer 2011.