More than half of today’s NHS workforce are ready to exit their job. Nearly a third of staff (29.8 per cent) are actively looking to change jobs within the year and 28.9 per cent of NHS staff are considering a new post. This will create additional pressure to fill vacant posts and to train new intakes
Continued failures in workforce recognition is leading to deepening strain and dissatisfaction among NHS staff.
That’s according to new research from staff reward provider The Voucher Shop. The study has warned that the NHS risks a mass exit of highly skilled staff if this issue is not addressed.
The Voucher Shop NHS Employee Survey was completed by a total of 3,204 NHS employees across the UK. Respondents were based in more than 250 NHS Trusts and included employees at all levels within the NHS from cleaning and administrative staff to midwives, nurses and doctors.
The 2015 NHS Employee survey revealed:
- NHS staff continue to feel the pressure of living costs: 87.5 per cent of staff said that they were not being given assistance with the rising cost of living. This is an increase of 4.1 per cent since 2013.
- NHS staff feel undervalued: Seven out of ten staff were feeling “unappreciated” or given “not enough praise” for their work. This figure remains unchanged from 2013.
- More than half of today’s NHS workforce are ready to exit their job: Nearly a third of staff (29.8 per cent) are actively looking to change jobs within the year and 28.9 per cent of NHS staff are considering a new post. This will create additional pressure to fill vacant posts and to train new intakes.
- Communication about employee benefits is getting worse: 52.2 per cent of staff described communication from their bosses about additional benefits as “very poor” or “poor” (compared to 44 per cent in 2013), with only two per cent saying it was excellent.
- Long service milestones are being overlooked: 23 per cent of NHS staff said that long service milestones were not celebrated, 26 per cent said that service milestones were too infrequent and a further 15 per cent didn’t even know if long service was celebrated in their Trust.
Kuljit Kaur, head of business development at The Voucher Shop, said: “No one underestimates the extreme challenges that our NHS faces. However, in an age where austerity still governs, inexpensive recognition schemes and cost neutral benefits can be a quick and alternative way of motivating staff in the absence of pay rises. In fact, they could be the catalyst to create a significant shift in staff motivation and engagement within the workplace.”
According to The Voucher Shop there are some simple measures that can be put in place to help increase staff engagement and to help staff feel more valued in their roles:
- Engagement strategy. If you don’t have one, get one! Engaged employees are twenty times more likely to display job satisfaction, loyalty and productivity.
- Implement a reward programme. If pay increases are not possible, then consider non-cash incentives. Recognition of good work has been proven to be effective at motivating staff against measurable criteria. Cash incentives get lost among everyday bills, whereas non-cash rewards retain their presentation value.
- Determine the behaviours you would like to see in your ideal employee and recognise them. By creating a culture of recognition from both managers and peers you’ll motivate employees to display desired behaviours throughout the year, which will impact on organisational performance.
- Review your employee benefits. When salary freezes are commonplace it is essential to offer staff ways to make genuine savings on their everyday spending and demonstrate that your organisation is helping them to cope with the ever-increasing cost of living.
- Make reward and recognition obtainable by all, not just your top performers. Hospitals and Trusts can achieve greater gains by ensuring that their reward programmes set targets based on performance improvement and can be achieved by any member of staff, not just the top 10 per cent who are probably already giving everything they have.
- Empower managers and give them greater autonomy. Give managers the tools they need to create development programmes that evolve throughout the year. Don’t wait for the annual appraisal, use recognition scheme data to give an indication of how well colleagues regard an individual and act on this information accordingly.
- Focus on measurement. Decide how you will determine if all these initiatives have made a genuine impact on staff motivation, retention, and improvement in patient care.