There has been an emerging and growing aspiration for the NHS to adopt a more systematic and coordinated approach to managing its talent in light of the current economic and social context in which we now operate.
The Lord Rose and Ed Smith reviews identified the lack of a clear and visible pipeline of leaders, ready to take up our more senior roles and with the right type of leadership skills and behaviours for the new and changing environment that characterises the health and social care sector.
In response to this, the NHS set out to deliver a change to the way in which talent management is approached and practiced within the health and care service. The foundations have been laid through the creation of the national leadership development framework Developing People: Improving Care (DP:IC) which was published on 1 December 2016, which sets out five conditions for success. One of these is to equip leaders to develop high quality health and care systems in partnership, collaborating with partners across boundaries to achieve system goals. Another is to ensure compassionate, inclusive and effective leaders at all levels.
The Midlands and East Regional Talent Board was the the first of its kind in the country and aimed to bring these conditions to life. The board first met formally in March 2017, and subsequently developed Aspire Together’s programme of work. This has included factoring in sufficient opportunity for engagement and testing across the region. In May 2020 the board divided into two separate RTBs for the Midlands and East of England respectively in order to better address the specific needs of each region.
What will success look like?
1) A culture of collaboration
A key aim of the Regional Talent Board is to create a culture where talent management is owned and valued by the whole system, and where NHS organisations are collaborating – rather than competing amongst themselves – for talent. This is a culture where staff at every level can see opportunities to fulfil their potential. We are working closely with trusts and CCGs across the region to make this happen.
2) Talent pool
We are starting with our senior leaders. We want to see a more systemised approach to how we nurture our existing and aspirant leaders within the system, sharing opportunities and talent between organisations. Selected individuals will have the opportunity to become part of a regional talent pool with rigour, consistency and transparency and diversity at its heart. This will give organisations a quality assured pool of candidates from which to select when appointing to board and governing body level posts.
3) Visibility of talent
Through the development of robust data, we want to be able to improve the ways we balance demand (immediate and predicted vacancies) and supply (the individuals available and their readiness to fill the post.) Once we understand the leadership potential that is already out there in the system, we can showcase this to organisations across the NHS, helping to keep hiring costs to a minimum.
It’s a win-win situation for providers, commissioners, NHS staff and above all patients, if we work together to nurture and retain our best talent for the system as a whole. By thinking about talent management beyond organisational boundaries, we will all benefit by developing employees who have a deeper understanding of how we can provide the best quality health care and genuinely seamless services for patients. We’ll also be able to offer more attractive opportunities for career progression to existing employees and crucially, we’ll be making a start toward becoming viewed as the employer of choice we really should be, to the very best external candidates.
Download the original Midlands and East vision for talent management (developed when the two boards were one)
Register for updates from the Midlands Regional Talent Board.
Find out more about the Regional Talent Boards.