The Improver
Episode 8 - Recruiting, retaining, and celebrating the flexible workforce

Episode 8 - Recruiting, retaining, and celebrating the flexible workforce

March 1, 2022

“NHS staff already know how to improve things – we just now need to give them a voice.” So says Nicola McQueen, CEO of NHS Professionals – the largest temporary staff supplier to the NHS (which provides just over 3.5 million clinical hours every month) – and CEO of Doctors Direct, the locum service for NHS Professionals. She is also non-executive director of ImproveWell. Here she shares her experience of mobilising huge swathes of staff during the pandemic with Lara Mott and Na’eem Ahmed.

“Nobody told me in my interview that I was about to lead a business through a pandemic!” To say Nicola was thrown into the deep end (after just five months on the job) would be an understatement. But good things happen in hard times, as she tells us. And after 20 years in staffing strategy, she found there was still more to learn.

At first, a vigorous sense of mission was more crucial than ever – and at NHS Professionals this was getting as many workers to the frontline as quickly as they possibly could. “Anything that was going on in the business at that time, if it wasn't to do with [that mission], we just stopped it and we stopped it flat,” explains Nicola. But on top of this, efficiency needed to rocket, and empathy brought to the fore. There was a feeling of connectedness in that everyone was throwing themselves at the cause. But, as Nicola points out, “we're not all in the same boat, we just happen to be sailing in these same unpredictable seas”. Nicola’s mission became about “promoting honesty, integrity, accountability,” as well as making the organisation “agile, flexible, fast and creative”.

Find out why:

  • welcoming and celebrating staff is about more than paying lip service;
  • empathy in leadership is more important than ever;
  • the ‘sprint then fall off the cliff’ mentality is lethal – downtime needs to be in-built;
  • we do need to sweat the small stuff;
  • technology is important in the journey;
  • building in long-haul energy is a long-term goal; and
  • looking after the workforce is a key priority.

“We've got a huge responsibility to try and keep hold of all of those people that stepped up through the pandemic.” Everybody has got staff retention at the forefront of their mind with the huge labour shortage the NHS is facing. “I think that making sure that we're addressing staff experience is just more important than ever now,” she says.

Plus, discover a no-brainer of a Small But Mighty idea, which has saved a lot of time and frustration.

 

Learn more about ImproveWell

Connect with Nicola, Na’eem and Lara on LinkedIn

Follow Nicola on Twitter

Episode 7 - Have you fallen in love with the problem?

Episode 7 - Have you fallen in love with the problem?

December 16, 2021

Hassan Chaudhury believes that herein lies the rub. He explains to Lara Mott and Na’eem Ahmed why you not only need to own the problem you’re trying to solve, but you also have to distance yourself from it to get perspective. And always listen to the data.

If anyone knows the lay of the land, it’s Hassan Chaudhury. Not only does he promote the UK Digital Health sector abroad at Healthcare UK – a joint initiative of the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the Department for International Trade (DIT) – but he is also part of the commercial team at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, a member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Innovation Committee, the PM Society and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Healthcare Sector Executive Committee, and holds an Honorary Research post at Imperial College London for his work in data science.

But he hasn’t always been so deeply embedded in the system. Hassan admits that when he was an entrepreneur, he didn’t use the resources that he now promotes (‘I was a complete lone wolf’). He learnt his lesson. Now he helps the healthcare sector export and encourages innovators to come to the UK in what he calls a ‘matchmaker’ role, which builds propositions.

“Before you scale, you've got to get your hands dirty, you've got to know what that problem is… [to] sit there in the dirt. And only then when you feel that problem and understand it, can you scale it. And in healthcare, that's multi-faceted,” he says.

We also discover what this self-confessed data geek thinks about evidence and impact – “It's not just what was happening in the lab. It’s about the deployment. And that's where I see the future.”

In the discussion, we consider:

  • How do we work out what is good innovation?
  • If you don't have real-world evidence, how can you prove the value of interventions?
  • Why it’s crucial that we stop making the same mistakes.
  • Why we need to make the system more conducive to the adoption of innovation.
  • Is there just too much data?

Hassan’s frank and illuminating answers will help innovators at every level think about how they approach system. And hear a Small but Mighty idea that really turns the tables.

 

Learn more about ImproveWell

Connect with Na’eem and Lara on LinkedIn

Follow Hassan on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

 

Episode 6 - The power of positivity

Episode 6 - The power of positivity

November 11, 2021

This time, co-founders Dr Na’eem Ahmed and Lara Mott talk to Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer at NHS Horizons and Göran Henriks, who is Chief Executive of Learning and Innovation at the Qulturum in Jönköping, Sweden.  These esteemed titles provide merely a glimpse of their cumulative 70 years in health innovation, however. Alongside her day-job (for which she has been recognised as one of the most 60 influential people in the history of the NHS) Helen provides advice, guidance, and training on transformational change to healthcare leaders across the world; whilst Göran is also a senior fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the chair of the Strategic Committee of the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare.

The pace of change has been positively affected by the pandemic, and those who had already invested in their improvement capabilities have been on the front foot.  But are we in danger of going back to some of the old ways? How do you give the people at the heart of huge, hierarchical institutions the agency and autonomy to make change happen as we move forward? How can we create learning systems? We hear what the gurus, who’ve experienced more than most, believe.

Find out:

  • Why we shouldn’t be working harder but thinking about what to stop doing (as much as what to start doing)
  • How feedback from the frontline is more critical than ever
  • How leaders can motivate an exhausted workforce – and how psychological safety and a sense of belonging are paramount
  • Why you don’t always have to ask for permission – experimentation is the order of the day
  • How each and every one of us has phenomenal power – but you can’t be a change agent on your own
  • Why purpose, a vision and a mission are crucial as well as collaboration
  • How with wisdom, comes trust and believing the people

A window into the thinking of these hugely experienced innovators is a real privilege.

 

Check out ImproveWell

Connect with Helen, GoränNa’eem and Lara on LinkedIn

 

Episode 4 - Your sphere of influence

Episode 4 - Your sphere of influence

November 11, 2021

Recognising your sphere of influence – how to spur improvement

This time, co-founders Dr Na’eem Ahmed and Lara Mott talk to hat-juggling Dr Dominique Allwood, who is Deputy Director of Strategy and Improvement at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and Assistant Director of Improvement at The Health Foundation. She was recently seconded to the NHS Nightingale Hospital, London where she was Medical Director for Nightingale Two.

From her journey into clinical leadership, through to the role that healthcare professionals and their organisations can play in improving people’s health in a broader social sense, we talk careers, improvement and more. Hear Dominique’s thoughts on:

  • Challenging bias, mentoring and forging a hybrid career path in healthcare
  • Maintaining optimism ten years on from the Marmot review – considering what you can influence here and now
  • The difference between biology and biography in terms of health outcomes
  • Helping and anchor institutions add social value without it becoming a box-ticking exercise
  • Making equity issues visible and allowing a safe space in which to discuss them
  • Integration with social care and really understanding an individual’s healthcare journey
  • How tech can help us notice and respond
  • Why we need to get better at gathering insight and nuance to build a culture of compassion.

Plus, a Small but Mighty solution to the many challenges of working with PPE - for staff and patients.

Learn more about ImproveWell

Connect with Na’eem and Lara on LinkedIn

Follow Dominique on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn

For questions or to provide feedback on this episode, please email: theimprover@improvewell.com 

Episode 5 - There is no performance without wellbeing

Episode 5 - There is no performance without wellbeing

August 19, 2021

In this fascinating episode, Lara and Na’eem are joined by two innovators at the forefront of developing a pioneering way to measure human performance at work.

Jon Pitts is the founder and chief technical officer of IHP Analytics. As a neuropsychologist with extensive experience in elite human performance, he has attended five Olympic Games and worked in Formula 1 and with the military. Rob McCargow is Director of Artificial Intelligence at PwC and an evangelist for the responsible adoption of AI and advanced analytics. Together, they’ve been working on a novel project to create work-life analytics to support PwC’s wellbeing strategy.

This first model, which can generate a score for an individual’s wellbeing, has evolved through extensive data monitoring and analysis. As we start to imagine a ‘normal’ future, everything is up for grabs. To that end, PwC has a new approach to empowered flexibility, where staff have full freedom to work where and when they want. Helping staff to reach their potential also benefits the business as well as the individual, which is why this is just the beginning…

Among the many complex topics covered, we consider:

  • The importance of strong foundations to support a new technological approach
  • Why we need to help humans keep up with significant changes
  • How communication makes a difference
  • The benefits of sharing personal data, for staff and employers alike
  • Responsibility when evaluating intelligent data insights

Plus, discover the difference between subjective and objective data, why stress is a good thing, and how you can use your personal data to your own advantage.

And get some ‘Small but Mighty’ thoughts we could all do with implementing.

 

Learn more about ImproveWell

Connect with Na’eem and Lara on LinkedIn

Follow Jon and Rob on Twitter

Episode 3 - Look for the shining eyes

Episode 3 - Look for the shining eyes

March 19, 2021

Co-founders Na’eem Ahmed and Lara Mott talk to the hugely charismatic and inspiring Gerard Harkin – Head of Innovation at Roche Diagnostics – about all things innovation and keeping the passion alive.

What’s the worst thing that can happen? That’s the attitude Gerard believes we all need to embrace when we think about problem solving. We all make mistakes and sometimes sticking your neck out is the only way to implement change. Find out:

  • Why innovation isn’t just about tech
  • How to embrace change at scale
  • Why experimentation and not fearing failure need to be in a company’s DNA
  • How igniting a passion for potential should run from top to bottom
  • Why you need to question your assumptions and back up everything with evidence
  • How giving everyone permission to try things out is game-changing
  • Why hierarchy can impede organisations
  • Whether seniority of role should be the deciding factor in who leads
  • And where diversity and inclusion fits into the picture

Fundamentally, it’s about giving everyone permission to try new things but also about highlighting the successes. Keeping your teams’ eyes shining with a real love of possibility is crucial. It’s a cultural thing.

Check out ImproveWell

Connect with Na’eem and Lara on LinkedIn

For questions or to provide feedback on this episode, please email: theimprover@improvewell.com 

Download the full episode transcript

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Episode 2 - Why multidisciplinary alliance is the way forward: the CEO’s view

Episode 2 - Why multidisciplinary alliance is the way forward: the CEO’s view

February 8, 2021

This time, co-founders Dr Na’eem Ahmed and Lara Mott talk to Dr Peter Carter, OBE – mental health expert and the former Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing – about great leadership in global healthcare.

Having worked in 32 different locations across the world – remotely and on the ground – Dr Carter is uniquely placed to identify what really works, wherever you’re based. And he believes that it comes down to a very simple principle. Every single person, clinical or non-clinical, contributes to patient experience. Everybody is important. Staff want to be able to contribute, to feel valued and, ultimately, to be respected. 

We discuss the best ways to support frontline staff in the ongoing pandemic and how small shifts really can create waves. Showing empathy to employees, developing a no-blame culture and allowing recovery time – however over-stretched staffing is – are crucial for the future. As is taking the good things we’ve adopted with us (‘It took a crisis to get people to use video conferencing,’ Peter marvels). Discover some of the stand-out experiences Peter has had through his long and distinguished career. Find out why chief execs shouldn’t start sweeping with their new broom from day one, and why multidisciplinary is the watchword of the day…

Check out ImproveWell

Connect with Na’eem and Lara on LinkedIn

For questions or to provide feedback on this episode, please email: theimprover@improvewell.com 

Complete the feedback form for CPD certification

Episode 1 - The art of possible

Episode 1 - The art of possible

January 27, 2021

How do you build a start-up around change? And why would you start a tech company without prior tech experience? Because helping the NHS to improve is a mission ImproveWell’s co-founders live and breathe. And because anything is possible.

Na’eem Ahmed is a consultant radiologist in London and Lara Mott studied pharmacology at university, and has a background in biotech and healthcare investment. They went to the same school in Kingston upon Thames, London, and met up after 12 years when Na'eem asked Lara to help on a charity project. At the same time he was thinking about ways to to capture feedback from junior doctors via an app. That was four years ago. There have been plenty of ups and downs since, but surrounding themselves with a great team has been vital.

Na’eem’s frontline role in the NHS gives him the perfect chance to hone the app to respond to everyday challenges on the wards. ‘That perspective is one of the things that keeps us fresh and relevant,’ he says. Breaking down communication barriers to make change in real-time has excited customers, practitioners and the people working with them. This introduction is just the start of a story that seeks to inspire others. There’s much more to come…

Read our episode blog here

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Check out ImproveWell

Connect with Na’eem and Lara on LinkedIn

For questions or to provide feedback on this episode, please email: theimprover@improvewell.com 

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