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Engaging Doctors with Job Planning

It’s a question we get asked a lot.

Sadly, there is no silver bullet, but there are effective strategies that were particularly helpful when undertaking our HSJ Award-Nominated ‘Workforce Optimisation’ project with our HR and Job Planning Lead Brian Jones.

So, what are some ways to help get your doctors engaged in Job Planning?

Here are a few:

Make the Process Meaningful: It’s important for doctors to understand the need for job planning, such as how understanding their duties, responsibilities, and individual objectives leads to efficiently running their service, not wasting resources, and meeting service objectives. If job planning is perceived as just another administrative task (or meaningless paper chase) engagement will always be low. However, if its value and impact are clear, doctors are more likely to actively participate.

Include Doctors in the Process: Job planning isn’t just a set of tasks; it’s a process that benefits greatly from doctor involvement. By including doctors in discussions, setting clear expectations, and showing how their input impacts their work and the wider service overall, you can significantly boost engagement.

Transparency is Key: Providing doctors with insight into how job plans are utilised in the trust, their alignment with trust goals, and their effect on patient care can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Utilise Technology: A modern job planning system can make the entire process more efficient and less burdensome. Doctors are more willing to engage when they see their time is valued and not consumed by unnecessary administrative work when good technical solutions exist.

Feedback and Adjustments: Job planning should be a dialogue. Giving regular feedback and the opportunity for adjustments early on keeps the plan relevant and meaningful, adapting to changing service needs or personal circumstances is helpful to keep everyone engaged and bought in.

Robust Job Planning Policies and Procedures: Having clear and comprehensive job planning policies and procedures ensures that everyone understands their role and the overall objectives of the trust. This clarity can significantly enhance engagement by providing a structured framework within which doctors can operate.

Process and System Training: Ensuring that all staff, not just doctors, are adequately trained in both the job planning process and the systems used is critical. Providing training that caters to different levels of understanding, from basic ‘What is job planning?’ to more advanced ‘Understanding Hot weeks’ or ‘what should be my DCC - SPA split’ ensures that everyone is equipped to engage effectively with job planning.

Recognition of Contribution: Highlighting how job planning efforts contribute to the broader trust goals, like improved patient care, service delivery, and resource allocation, can underscore the importance of a doctors participation.

These strategies are just some of the core ways to enhance engagement in job planning. By ensuring the process is meaningful, inclusive, efficient, and clearly linked to broader trust goals, we can make job planning a more positive and productive experience for all involved.

Everything I’ve listed above will work, but can be a challenge when a trust has a number of competing priorities within. This is where SARD can help. It may be understanding where you are with an Independent Job Plan Review, deep diving into what your current job planning data looks like via a Job Planning Diagnostic, or even going further and engaging with us to match your Job Planning data to the demand coming in your front door via our full Workforce Optimisation service.

Whatever you need to make Job Planning meaningful, we’ve got you covered.

For more information about how SARD can help, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn or drop us an email.

Related Articles:

Navigating Medical Job Planning in the NHS - 10 Top Questions Answered!

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