Changing your landscape and why it’s good to ‘walk and talk’

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This month I’m grabbing my phone and headphones and taking some of my meetings outdoors. I can walk while I talk, see the sky and get some fresh air into my lungs. It boosts my productivity and helps to ward off any January ‘blues’.

Switching my working landscape from inside to outside also brings perspective. By stepping away from the desk, my mindset changes and I get more space to reflect on wider issues, such as our priorities as a business going into 2022.

I’ve written before about the power of ‘mission’ – that is, having ultra-clear operational objectives that everyone understands and works towards. But I’m also a big fan of ‘purpose’. This goes deeper than mission and focuses on the fundamentals: what we do and why we do it.

At NHS Professionals, we spent time on this issue last year, asking each other and our stakeholders for feedback. The data suggested we had more work to do on solidifying our purpose and making this clearer to everyone.

Core purpose

We felt that having more clarity around our core purpose could speed us up internally as a business and improve the quality of the services we provide to our Bank Members and NHS Trust clients. As a critical flexible workforce provider to the NHS, these things really matter to us.

So we got to work on creating a clear statement and the result is this: our core purpose is ‘Putting People in Places to Care’.

Each of the main words in this phrase help to clarify different parts of what we do and our relationship with the wider healthcare system. I’ll expand a little:

Putting – our role is to source flexible workers for the NHS and put opportunities in front of them so they can book shifts and placements around their work and life commitments.

People – everything we do is focused on people: our Bank Members, client Trusts, their patients and our staff

Places – places may be specific wards and departments within a Trust, community healthcare settings, or wider geographical areas within an Integrated Care System (ICS)

Care – this goes to the heart of everything our Bank Members and client Trusts do and the values they stand for. It’s their prime motivation – and ours too.

We’re launching a campaign to circulate our Putting People in Places to Care message more widely to external audiences, accompanied by a video that you can see here. We’re also sharing it internally to help maintain our shared focus and drive up our operational effectiveness this year and beyond.

Brilliant basics

Service excellence and getting the basics of our business right is a central part of our operational effectiveness. We know how busy our Bank Members and client Trusts are, round the clock, pandemic or no pandemic. They certainly don’t need extra complications. They deserve simplicity so they can stay agile and focus on patient care.

We’ve named this work ‘Brilliant Basics’ and one key feature is a new Digital Member Platform to help personalise our Bank Members’ digital experience. It will streamline credentialling and compliance so we can place qualified and vetted flexible staff in NHS Trusts at pace, and ensure they receive a warm welcome on shift.

Other features will be upgraded learning and development resources and new pathways into NHS careers - for example, through apprenticeships, or a new Care Support Worker role that proved very successful in the pandemic. The platform will also look to transform our ‘Gateway’ service for overseas doctors and nurses, with new technology to improve how we find and keep track of international talent. In addition, we’re looking closely at the character and clarity of our printed and digital communications with Bank Members and client Trusts.

A flexible career for life

Alongside this granular work, we’ll be concentrating on major enterprise projects that align with national strategy including NHS People Plan and ICSs. A key project for us this year is strengthening the continued professional development and learning of our Bank Members, clinical and non-clinical. We’re also working on further ways to support their health and wellbeing in these difficult times.

It’s about focusing on the person as well as the professional. Perhaps triggered by the pandemic, we’re seeing increasing numbers of people re-assessing their priorities and seeking a better work-life balance. More and more are choosing flexible working not just as a stop-gap, but a lifelong career. We’re committed to supporting them on that exciting journey with high-quality resources so they thrive both professionally and personally.

Back to that walk…

In a sense, ‘walk and talk’ meetings are a great example of flexible working. They are healthy multi-tasking because you’re thinking, talking and moving at the same time, rather than just thinking and talking. You’re doing more without working harder. You’re also swapping one view for another, and that helps to trigger new ways of thinking. You’re working differently, in a more agile and energetic way, and that’s what flexible working is all about.

I’m encouraged to see many of my NHS Professionals colleagues choosing, like me, to ‘walk and talk’ this month to help us stay fresh and continue Putting People in Places to Care.

Fancy joining us?