NHS Employers and Robertson Cooper

staff in a meeting

08 / 4 / 2014 3.18pm

Roundtable event - Wednesday 5 March, London

The conversation initially focussed on the challenges facing NHS staff  and the impact this was having on their emotional wellbeing. The group felt maintaining good emotional health and resilience when change was constant was difficult.  

Whilst change was recognised as a factor which could impact negatively on us all, there was also a view that in some places we do manage change well and that staff and teams have developed resilience to enable them to cope. 

Staff engagement

The importance of engaging with staff through the changes was mentioned many times, with participants round the table agreeing that we need to be involved in shaping the change, and that we are more positive about something if we have been made to feel a part of it.
The conversation moved onto a discussion about the factors which underpin emotional resilience. It was felt that social skills were key and that some of the values based recruitment activity currently taking place in the NHS will help recruit staff with the right sort of approach to deal with some of the inevitable challenges they will face.

We all experience emotion, but it is how we deal with it that is important. The group also discussed the importance of emotional wellbeing as a prerequisite for giving honest feedback and speaking up – we need to be emotionally sound to give feedback.

Support from managers

There was agreement around the table that in every trust there is groups of managers who are behaving in a way which supports positive emotional wellbeing – we know who they are, one person said, and they are in every trust. Cary suggested that one of the things we should be doing is help to recognise these managers for the good work they do and for them to act as role models.

Support from leaders

There was shared support that the behaviour of leaders was crucial. If the leaders are good role models in the field of emotional wellbeing it sets the tone for the rest of the organisation – the example of the banking industry was quoted as one to look at where wellbeing and staff engagement are becoming increasingly important following the disclosure from some key leaders in that industry that they were suffering mental health problems.

This roundtable was the first of a series of activities which will take place during March and April to gather the views of NHS staff on the issue of emotional wellbeing, what it looks like, how we can measure it, the impact it has on us and how we can make changes to improve.

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