How Tech-Enabled Mentorship Can Accelerate Career Development at NHS

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In June, Prime Minister Theresa May outlined her vision for the future of the NHS. She announced an increase of £20.5 billion in funding by 2023-24 to deliver core performance standards. Prime Minister May called for a “workforce that is empowered to deliver the best possible outcomes, flexible enough to adapt to new models of care and valued for their commitment to NHS”, emphasising career development for NHS employees. She called for alternative routes into medicine and healthcare roles to drive employee recruitment, retention and engagement.

Industry experts have criticised the NHS for its lack of workforce planning. They claim short-term strategies, such as recruiting qualified professionals from overseas, have neglected the careers of existing employees.

In July, Health Education England (HEE) published a draft Workforce Strategy for NHS to 2027. The strategy outlines six principles for NHS workforce decisions. Providing broad pathways for careers in the NHS will be a key principle. Another will be increasing NHS performance by creating high performing teams with skills mixes that benefit productivity and safety.

The NHS has committed to increasing the number of nursing associates and physician associates in response to a projected shortfall of 190,000 employees by 2027. Both new roles provide a work-based route into nursing and medicine for existing staff who may not be able to study full-time at university.

Accelerating on the job career development opportunities

In busy healthcare settings, there often isn’t time to step out of the workforce to attend training full-time. Managers can provide employees with on the job learning opportunities. Enabling trainees to shadow experienced staff and engage a mentor facilitates onsite learning.

WERKIN’s tech-enabled mentoring platform accelerates peer-to-peer learning and development. The technology prompts employees to create profiles of their skills, qualifications and experience. Algorithms digitally match employees with mentors, stretch assignments and multi-disciplinary teams. The technology prompts employees to join teams and meet with mentors. This dynamic approach is time efficient, measurable and scalable.

Skilled multi-disciplinary teams benefit patient outcomes and help individuals to achieve their full potential. They also provide performance support to staff learning new skills. It’s now possible to build high performing teams with the right mix of skills. WERKIN’s nudge technology helps managers to be more effective mentors, accelerating on the job learning for career development.

WERKIN is a technology-enabled mentoring platform. The platform helps global organisations manage, measure and scale mentoring programs. More than 20 financial institutions use WERKIN worldwide. WERKIN is accelerating peer-to-peer learning in large organisations.

How Technology Can Drive More Diverse Leadership at NHS

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Last week, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care at NHS, shared his vision for a more technology-driven NHS. His goal is to achieve better patient outcomes and improve the working life of staff. In his speech to the NHS Expo 2018 in London, Minister Hancock stated a digital transformation of this size required a cultural change. He claims this will only be possible with stronger leadership and management.

Earlier this year, the NHS published the results of their annual 2017 NHS Staff Survey. It is the largest workforce survey in the world. 487,727 NHS staff responded to questions about perceptions of their workplace. Staff responded positively to questions about learning and development opportunities. Yet 15.6% said they didn’t feel the NHS acted fairly in relation to career progression and promotion in relation to ethnic background, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age. The survey reported there has been a steady increase of this perception each year since 2013. The result in 2016 was 14.6% and 2013 was 12.5%.

The lack of diversity in NHS senior leadership is a persistent issue. The proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff in Bands 8a-9 and Very Senior Managers is still only 10.4%. However, the NHS frontline workforce is more diverse, on average, than the UK's working population.

Increasing diversity among NHS staff is important. Evidence shows that diverse teams improve the quality of care for patients. Research also shows diverse leaders and managers increase innovation and organisational performance. Yet the survey results show barriers prevent underrepresented groups from achieving their potential.

Technology that democratises career development

WERKIN’s tech-enabled mentoring platform accelerates underrepresented employees into senior roles. WERKIN’s behavioural research-based nudge technology prompts employees to create profiles of their skills, qualifications and experience. Algorithms digitally match employees with mentors, stretch assignments and projects. WERKIN scans employees impartially for capabilities. The technology reduces bias by taking human instinct out of the selection process. Employees receive push notifications to meet, learn and contribute.

Increasing diversity among NHS senior leadership and management is critical to driving cultural change. Yet biases can prevent many employees from achieving their potential. WERKIN’s technology-enabled mentoring platform democratises career development, accelerating underrepresented groups into senior leadership roles. Building a leadership team that mirrors the community it serves is key to improving patient outcomes.

WERKINs technology-enabled mentoring platform helps global organisations manage, measure and scale mentoring programs. More than 20 financial institutions use WERKIN worldwide. WERKIN is accelerating peer-to-peer learning in large organisations.

New Survey Reveals Gap in UK Finance Work Practices is Hampering National Productivity

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The UK Department of Education has released their 2017 Employer Skills Survey results and reveals only 12% of Financial Services companies in the UK incorporate two thirds or more of 21 of High Performance Work Practices (HPWP). The sector ranks 4th behind Public Administration, Education and Health and Social Work. Research shows HPWPs improve financial performance. Given the UK’s long-standing productivity gap compared with international competitors, the survey recommends more businesses adopt more HPWPs.


Based on phone interviews with more than 87,000 UK employers, the biennial survey is the largest of its kind in the world. It captures data on skills needs, skills use and skills development in UK organisations. Along with previous years, this survey included questions about High Performance Work Practices (HPWP) and discovered the proportion of employers utilising HPWP has stagnated. Only 12% of UK Financial Services companies adopt between 14-21 HPWP and 38% incorporate only 1-14 tactics. 50% use none. The survey recommends that those workplaces between 1-14 tactics adopt more tactics to increase business performance. This will in turn improve the UK’s long-standing productivity gap relative to international competitors.

What are High Performance Work Practices?

High Performance Work Practices (HPWP) are people management tactics that increase business productivity and profit. These practices have been shown to increase employee engagement, support high performance and productivity and in turn, increase financial return. High performance practices are grouped across five areas: training planning, organisation, skills, rewards and autonomy. In particular, high performing work places identify talented individuals and create strong project teams that make the best use of their skills.

HPW organisations look for potential and invest in employee development through career development, mentoring programmes and other high performance work practices. They develop people who are uniquely skilled to tackle their business challenges. 

Technology that identifies and develops talent

WERKIN’s mentoring platform prompts candidates to create profiles of their skills, qualifications and experience on their mobile devices. Algorithms digitally match employees with mentors, projects and business challenges. By scanning employees impartially for capabilities, the technology reduces bias by taking human instinct out of the process. Employees receive push notifications to meet, learn and collaborate. WERKIN enables organisations to identify their most qualified candidates for teams and projects, facilitate their development and achieve their full potential.


WERKIN's tech-enabled mentoring platform helps global organisations manage, measure and scale mentoring programmes. Professionals from more than 20 financial institutions use WERKIN worldwide. WERKIN is accelerating peer-to-peer learning in large organisations.


WERKIN with Adam Hale on scaling a company with gender parity

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When asked about his role in taking an HR software tech start-up from 13 to 200 people, increasing its revenue by 1,000%, and its acquisition by Sage, the UK’s leading people management company, for £110 million, Adam Hale describes a story of demotions. Having originally been brought on as a non-executive adviser to scale a promising, but teeny startup, Hale was quickly “demoted” from board member, to executive chair, to CEO.

Known for his hands-on approach and diverse career in technology and headhunting, Hale proved to have the perfect combination needed to scale an innovative cloud-based startup,

“At that point, [Fairsail] was about to switch from being kind of an interesting startup to being the beginning of scale up. We focused on four things. We focused on having a really clear purpose of what we did. We focused on customer success. We focused on great innovation. We focused on building a team. I do believe that great companies are made up of great people.”

Purpose, customer success, innovation, and people—these are the ingredients of a successful and scalable business, according to Hale. It’s not just any people, it’s the best people. Hale’s leadership at Fairsail focused on building a diverse team. Recruiting women engineers ultimately led to near-gender parity across the startup, including on the engineering team. This focus on gender diversity has translated over to Sage People, the company that acquired Fairsail and now has a nearly 50-50 gender balance.

“It’s about having diversity, not just gender diversity but nationality diversity, age diversity, you know, the 50s are the new 30s which we all know anyway.”

But getting to gender balance in engineering requires attention to be paid to computer science education, a personal interest for Hale.

“I’ve been in technology my whole life… just started to discover computers and programming when I was a teenager, then realised you could actually study this at university. I thought ‘why not?’ So I did a computer science degree.”

Hale observes that not all kids have the same support and encouragement to study computer science that he had,

“I am terrified by what's happening with technology education in schools, particularly. Last year 2017, 50,000 girls did Maths A-level [UK standardised testing]. Computing A-level, 816 girls. The lowest number of any A-level subject, repeat: any A-level subject.”

Hale believes that when more girls are encouraged to study computer science and have more access to STEM education early on, this translates into a more balanced pool of engineers powering the future of tech.

If achieving gender balance is part of what it takes to scale up to one of the UK’s largest startup acquisitions, maybe other rising tech companies should take note.

For more from Adam about taking Human Resources into the 21st century and what tech leaders can learn from pig farmers, listen to the rest of Hayley’s interview here.