Practical guidance for day-to-day management

Guidance on general effective line management

A line manager’s behaviour and the culture they create in their team is the biggest influence on an employee’s work experience. By improving their management capabilities, managers can achieve better results, improving their own wellbeing as well as that of their team, achieving better results and benefitting the organisation as a whole. Here you’ll find resources to help managers explore and develop their management capability. Find out more about line management fundamentals on the CIPD website. NHS Employers has also created a toolkit to help develop your team, embrace team working and recognise the contribution it can make to delivering compassionate patient care.

The role of the first line manager is critical to ensuring that clinical support workers are appropriately valued, supervised and held to account.

‘Untapped? Understanding the mental health clinical support workforce’ (The Nuffield Trust, 2021, pg.7).

Managing CPD effectively: To Do List

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development and is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. Sometimes people use terms like ‘learning and development’ or ‘L&D’ as well. It is important to remember that CPD is not only about attending a training course – there are many ways to learn such as shadowing, secondments, reading, keeping up to date with latest news, reflection activities, attending talks or conferences, coaching and mentoring and so on. Your L&D team can help you think about alternative activities you can offer the mental health support workforce that is relevant to what needs to be achieved at the end. Ensure that CPD plans are aligned to appraisal discussions and personal development plans (PDPs).

Some top actions for managing CPD effectively:

Providing flexible working

Flexible working promotes a positive work/life balance which benefits both NHS employees through improved health and wellbeing, and employers because staff are more productive and satisfied at work (NHS Terms and Conditions Handbook, section 33.1). Flexible working examples are providing opportunities for part time working, job sharing, flexi-time, annual hours contracts, flexible rostering, compressed hours, term-time working, remote working and/or varieties of shift patterns.

Flexible working can be an issue for the mental health support workforce. When the Nuffield Trust (2021, pg. 35) reviewed job adverts for the mental health support workforce at least half of those analysed stated that flexibility was expected from the successful candidate rather than offering a flexible working pattern, with many setting out expectations for them to work unsociable hours over a seven-day week. The Nuffield Trust also states that the NHS Staff Survey in 2019 tells us that 56% of mental health support staff were satisfied with the opportunities for flexible working patterns but this was lower than that of all mental health staff which was 62%. Of the support staff who handed in their resignation voluntarily between June 2019 and June 2020, around a fifth (19%) left due to work–life balance (Nuffield Trust, 2021, pg. 35).

One of the seven promises in the NHS People Plan is to support flexible working. This guidance from NHS Employers can be used to facilitate a culture change that promotes better flexible working practices. To support the NHS People Plan, the NHS Staff Council created a flowchart for managing conversations around flexible working requests. Use this to support your flexible working conversations alongside your organisation’s flexible working policy.

Getting the most from appraisals / making them useful

'More effective appraisals' was the highest ranked intervention that the mental health support workforce felt would improve development (King's College London, 2021, pg. 4).

Although the mental health support workforce do appear to have development discussions (73% of respondents), only 36% said the discussion was useful (King's College London, 2021, pg. 19).

The People Performance Management Toolkit from NHS Employers will help you develop the skills needed to deal with key management situations such as appraisals confidently and consistently.