Leading an agile workforce in the NHS
With many people considering agile working policies to be the ‘new normal’ in their workplace, how can these policies be implemented to those working on the frontlines of our healthcare system?
Following the Covid-19 lockdown, the 2020 NHS People Plan indicates that agile-working (moving beyond traditional work-boundaries of time, location, role) is now a strategic aim to better meet patient, worker and organisational needs in a post-pandemic world. Yet, little is known about (i) the specific resource and management needs of agile workers in the NHS, (ii) how to effectively lead agile workers in the NHS to meet these needs, and (iii) how to ensure that the personal and organisational goals of both leaders and workers in the NHS are not compromised in the process.
Led by Dr Emma Russell and Dr Zahira Jaser with funding from NHS England, this research project aims to:
- Develop understanding of NHS agile workers resource and management needs,
- Identify the behaviours of effective NHS leaders in meeting the needs of their agile workforce,
- Understand how to support NHS leaders so that personal and organisational goals are not compromised, and
- Provide recommendations for developing ‘agile’ leadership training in the NHS. The research can be used to shape future training programmes and support leaders in an increasingly agile NHS.
Given the novelty of the research area, the project uses a qualitative, inductive research approach. In particular, undertaking interviews with leaders and workers in clinical and non-clinical NHS roles, especially relating to how agile working in the NHS has been managed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impact and outreach
The research can be used to shape future training programmes and support leaders in an increasingly agile NHS. On completion, the project leaders will work with the NHS to identify how they can assist in the design of any future leadership training programmes, and the dissemination of findings from the project to stakeholders in the NHS.