Keeping People Motivated In The NHS

The NHS is a major employer with staff from a whole host of professional disciplines.  Like all organisations going through challenging times it can sometimes be difficult to keep people motivated.


Sometimes people point to the inability to pay more as a reason why people are not motivated.  In the case of the NHS what I have noticed is that people tend to choose to work in the NHS because they are truly committed to it and what it is trying to achieve.


Despite this intrinsic motivation to really want to work in the service there are often factors internally and externally that get in the way of high levels of motivation.


Sometimes those in leadership and management roles fall into the trap of thinking that they don’t need to listen or involve others.  Just look at the variation in results from staff engagement surveys between the best and the rest.


If you are in a busy ward or department and working flat out day after day but all you see is criticism in the media about what is going out, it is easy to get deflated.


So what can leaders and managers in the NHS do to keep people motivated?


Acknowledge The Pressure People Are Under


If people are working under pressure a large part of the time it can feel like no one really cares.  A little bit of acknowledgement on a regular basis won’t make it go away but it will show that you are at least in touch with what is going on.


Recognise and Praise


We all like to recognised and praised when we have achieved something or at least gone a significant way to achieving something.  It takes minutes to do and can make a significant difference.


Listen and Involve


The bigger the challenges the more different perspectives and experiences can make a difference to overcoming or mitigating the impact.  Listening helps get insights and ideas and increases the chances of an optimal solution.


Give Public Acknowledgement


Many NHS organisations have awards for staff nominated by other staff.  Why not use this as an opportunity to showcase externally.  This might be through social media, a press release for example.


Always Remember The Core Purpose


At the end of the day the NHS is there for patients.  Most of the time people get this and like all of us when under pressure we can easily lose sight of the core purpose.


Goals and Achievements help NHS and healthcare related organisations deliver great performance through people.  Learn more here.