Simon Gilby, Chief Executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust has nominated several aspirant and existing directors from his Trust to the Talent Pools. In this blog, he reflects on how organisations and Chief Executives can support their nominees through the process.
- Nominate to the pools
That’s the first step! While it may seem counter-intuitive to make your brightest and best talent visible to others, it’s better for our organisations and employees in the long-run. Employees will benefit from exposure to different roles in different parts of the NHS, improving joint-working across ALBs, providers and CCGs. It will eventually help us to reduce our reliance on expensive recruitment firms too!
- Promote the self-nomination/application process in your organisation
We worked hard to nominate a diverse range of candidates but I know self-nomination was built into the process to help ensure that those colleagues from marginalised groups, who feel they sometimes miss out on opportunities, have a more equal chance to enter the pools. Once they self-nominate, provide them with support through the process and ensure they have access to any additional development or feedback they need.
- Nominate the right people for the pools
There are currently 2 pools: one for Aspirant Directors and one for those already in director roles – the Existing Director Pool. These pools are for those members of your staff who are ready to move into a board-level director role or on to their next board role. Is your candidate ready to be assessed by a panel of 3 senior NHS leaders, including a Chief Executive, about their experiences of having led large transformation projects, their understanding of board governance and their track record as a compassionate and inclusive leader? Once in the pool, candidates will be supported to find an executive role so they should only be nominated if they are ready for this. We are particularly keen to recruit to core board roles right now, so please think about nominating these individuals.
- Make sure your candidates appreciate the level of commitment required for the process
The nomination process requires candidates to provide a fair bit of detail about themselves and their experience. They also need to arrange a career conversation with their line manager ahead of the deadline. They should start planning for this well before the nomination/application window deadline, which applies to the Aspirant Director pool. Applications to the Existing Director Talent Pool are accepted any time.
- Offer candidates the benefit of your own learnings
Chief Executives should think about offering candidates a 1:1 to share their own experiences. This isn’t about ‘giving them the answers’ as there are no right or wrong answers here. But it’s a good opportunity to help candidates to understand the importance of leadership style, the nature of the executive board role, relationships with board members, especially NEDs and the accountability challenges boards face.
- Follow-up with candidates at the end of the process
Hopefully, the candidate will have been successful in making it into the pool, but some won’t make it through. Either way, they should have a conversation with their line manager about steps they can take to continue their development, through formal learning programmes or within their own roles. I offer to make time to speak to all candidates who have gone through the process too – it’s important they know that their career aspirations are important to me and that this is an organisation that supports their professional ambitions.