As part of developing inclusive cultures and compassionate leadership, we talk a lot about giving people permission to be their whole selves at work, about recognising the holistic person and fostering an environment where people can be their authentic self within the workplace. At some point between that person-centred conversation and the planning of our workforce we lose that connection.
The need to go up and out, to take an overarching viewpoint, means we move further away from the individual and more towards the workforce as a whole. With each step outwards we make things simpler and easier to define and understand at a global level, but in doing that we lose the wonderful richness of people and the opportunities that individuals, whole and complete people, with a range of diversity in breadth of knowledge, skills, experience, and potential can bring to our workspaces.
What about if we kept sight of that individual richness and complexity each person had and offered and took that with us as we looked at planning our workforce?
How beautiful, full and numerous would the opportunities be if we took all the richness and possibilities each individual person can offer, expanding and linking those opportunities together into a complex galaxy of interlinking skills, experience and potential across the network of our people.
What if we also mirrored this approach with our patients? Ending up with two maps reflecting each other. One defining local patient needs based on all the breadth of intelligence we have available around our patients, populations and communities around health inequalities, population demographics, population health management data and more, the other showing the fantastic network of people we have. People rather than roles, with a whole diversity of skills, experience, and potential.
Let’s take those maps and line them up opposite each other and then start to join the dots.
In thinking about the individual patient needs and thinking about our workforce as individuals, we unlock a range of opportunities with which we can broaden our access to workforce capability as well as meeting local patient, population, and community needs.
Is it doable I hear you ask? This hypothetical mirroring galaxies is all well and good, but can it work? Yes it can.
Taking the focus away from ‘posts’ and moving the lens to ‘people’ when exploring workforce planning, along with focusing on local patient needs and matching the two, unlocks a range of creative potential solutions and opportunities that would never see when taking a top-level global view of your workforce.