Celebrating the NHS

Last week saw the 70th anniversary of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The ground-breaking, innovative creation of a state-funded health care for all UK citizens. Sadly, at the moment the NHS is in a precarious state. I was listening to stories on the radio about the first nurses to work in the NHS in 1948, how innovative it was and the sheer amount of love the UK has for the NHS. The staff that have saved lives, supported recovery and seen people through their darkest times. Especially poignant for me are the nurses that came as part of Windrush and the invaluable contribution they have made. More recently, the nurses from the Philippines, many of whom came in the 1990s. Caring is a global profession with qualified people brought in from around the globe. The NHS could not have survived without this global workforce.

The current picture

In the same month, July 2018 the largest a recruitment drive for nurses has been announced for 70 years. The campaign aims to increase the total number of applications to the NHS by 22,000 as well as double the numbers of nurses returning to practice and improve retention of staff in all sectors.

It is useful to reflect back and see how revolutionary and cutting edge the NHS was when it was established. Now press reports do not always portray it in such a light consistently. Just as organisations go up in the innovation stakes they can also go down. I think what the NHS set out to do and is essentially still about is a global best practice example. Can this be done in all organisations and if so what small step changes can be made in existing companies big and small?

Innovative Organisations

  • I posted on LinkedIn about FundApps a start-up that has eliminated their maternity and paternity pay. Before you gasp in horror it’s good news. All parents (biological or adoptive) non-binary, female and male are eligible for 12 weeks paid leave to take as they wish. Simple, effective, hugely innovative and common sense.
  • How about giving your staff a set amount each year to spend as they like on a personal development programme of their choice? Isn’t that a bad investment decision? Research shows that providing appropriate high quality training to staff is one of the best ways to retain staff, develop innovation and boost morale. It also don’t have to be work-related training to help an employee’s professional or skills development. Letting then decide what would would work for them and sharing with colleagues creates self-autonomy and boosts an organisation’s reputation.
  • Happy UK let’s their staff choose their line manager. Yes, that’s right so you can have a line manager that you choose that understands you. 49% of staff would take a pay cut to have a different manager.What has been shown is engagement, morale and organisation satisfaction increase considerably. You can read and hear more here: https://www.happy.co.uk/let-people-choose-their-managers/
  • Glass Digital in Newcastle have a great duvet day practice, i.e. a day where people can stay at home if they don’t feel mentally 100%. They let staff have option to take duvet days at the last minute. This means employees also have the flexibility to stay home when they’re feeling groggy, the weather is bad, or there are transport issues. positive The feedback, unsurprisingly has been very positive without any impact on productivity. Type A Media in London found that Duvet Days resulted in a reduction in sickness absence and a spike in productivity.
  • Thrive Global published this email from Tim Junio is the co-founder and CEO of Qadium had sent to his staff about wellness and self care. You can read the full message here. The aim was to encourage staff to look after themselves, outline some techniques that Tim had used and how the company are going to support staff with their wellbeing.

Trying it yourself

Before dismissing anything as too radical or deciding it can’t be done why not give it a try? Take a calculated “risk”, pilot and review. In order to be innovative we must all keep pushing the boundaries, just like the NHS did. Who knows here could you be in 70 years’ time.

What innovative practices have you initiated for staff? Do let me know in the comments below.

Find out more about how Diverse Minds can support you to innovate in your organisation here.