We are a team

The NHS is first and foremost one huge team: We are 1.3 million strong. We are all walks of life, all kinds of experiences. We are the NHS.

And by working in teams, we can deliver much more: our jobs make a difference, and they are rewarding, but they can also be challenging and stressful. We need to give each other the space to innovate, to develop, and to learn – but also support each other when times are tough and celebrate success.

NHS staff have been challenged by the response to COVID-19 on a scale and at a pace not previously seen. These pressures have brought out the very best in our people – we have seen considerable numbers of clinicians returning to support the NHS during this period; teams previously unknown to each other now working together to support patients and service users; and our NHS workforce stepping forward to work on the frontline.

Similarly, leaders across the NHS have shown how compassionate and inclusive leadership behaviours keep teams safe and well. Flexible clinical leadership and distributed leadership have also proved to be more critical in recent months: we have worked across geographical, organisational, and structural boundaries at an accelerated pace.

We want to capitalise on this compassionate, inclusive and collaborative culture by building on the motivation at the heart of our NHS to look after and value our people by creating a sense of belonging.

To do this, we need to create an organisational culture where everyone feels they belong, and to have diverse teams who represent the communities and population they serve.

The NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated relationships across multidisciplinary teams and increased appreciation of each other’s skills. Flexible and remote working also enabled teams to run virtual multidisciplinary team meetings, case presentations and teaching sessions. We want to continue this sense of belonging and collaboration, and being part of a broader team.

Recognising commitment

The quality of our work – and our collective commitment in line with the four pillars of the People Plan – is being recognised. We must recognise commitment, innovation and passion, and celebrate successes to do things well for #OurNHSPeople. And we want to thank each and every one of you for continuing to demonstrate our values and behaviours throughout these challenging times.

What initiatives can I take forward now?

We will retain our people by creating an open and honest culture where they’re comfortable enough to share how they feel. Here are some additional ways you can promote this kind of environment:

  • Ask ‘how are you?’and listen to the response. This demonstrates that you care about how others are, and that you care about the answer. During one-to-ones with your staff, rather than starting with the first item on a list of tasks, begin with an enquiry into that person’s health and wellbeing. It’s so important that we are inquisitive and show compassion for ourselves and one another. It can make a massive difference.
  • #hello my name is… is an inspirational campaign founded by Dr Kate Granger. The feature is used to raise the profile of those working across our organisation and the different roles that we all carry out. It’s also a really good way of colleagues working in a large organisation like ours to get to know each other.
  • Make use of the health and wellbeing support offers available to you and your workforce, including coaching, counselling, leading through COVID, among others. General staff support offers are also available, including support with finances, depression, bullying and harassment. Take a look at our We are safe and healthy page.

Use online e-learning support resources

Check out the learning hub from the NHS Leadership Academy. There are a range of five minute e-learning clips to help keep you inspired as well as short bitesize e-learning guides. These resources have been designed with NHS colleagues at all levels to meet current and emerging needs with a focus on how to support yourself and others, leadership tips, short courses and team well-being ideas.

  • The learning hub is free and available 24/7.
  • We will continue to listen to our people to make sure these easy-to-access resources remain relevant to support our managers and leaders across health and care. Save the NHS Leadership Academy’s Learning hub to your favourites and re-visit regularly.

If you are a manager or team leader, why not take a look at #ProjectM, a place and space for team leaders and managers to connect, share and learn together and join the conversation on Twitter with #ProjectM. Based on feedback, contributions and emerging themes, new content is released to help managers reflect, learn, practice and thrive. There are also regular webinars that focus on sharing key leadership lessons, allowing for managers and team leaders to learn, share and connect.