No, is the majority of people’s answer and this is primarily down to delivering real-time performance on old time paper.

Article by Ray Pendleton, MD of Thirsty Horses,

The NHS exists to improve the health and lives of millions of people every year.  At the core of this dynamic process is the individual interactions between managers, staff and the patients and their families.  The NHS is inevitably powered by people and so it is the people who work together to deliver medical and health care services that are the most valuable asset the NHS has.  Time and money should be focused on the development and management, or even empowerment of these individuals. (1)

Leading a team is different to managing a team.  It requires ongoing light touch conversations that outshine the old appraisals in order to track individual performance, highlight areas that need to be addressed and put in place plans to improve development and learning.  Times have changed and more and more complex organisations have decided to radically change their approach to performance .(2)  The traditional paper appraisal system must be replaced with modern real-time technology in order to at least keep pace with the NHS demands and, ideally, to drive the way forward for a modern, sustainable and innovative healthcare system in the UK.


Paper Appraisals Should be Written Off

Why paper appraisals are outdated and should be written off in the UK healthcare system:

  1. The NHS thrives on human interaction and engagement so why should we take a different approach when it comes to helping staff to perform at their optimum?  Spending time to communicate freely and effectively with your team will help you to gel and work together effectively and efficiently.  An appraisal should only be a review of performance and an open discussion, not the only time an employee has to voice their concerns, opinions or provide feedback on their own performance; and certainly NOT just once a year.  A constant flow of communication is required which a traditional paper appraisal simply doesn’t accomplish.  We live in an age where we are  equipped to easily evolve in this key area.  Its 2016…. and Facebook just celebrated its 12th Birthday!
  2. Time is money, as the saying goes, especially in the UK healthcare system.  Spending time going through a paper appraisal and painstakingly writing down notes or filling out forms is an unnecessary process and takes time away from patients either through direct contact or improving the flow in which they travel through and consume NHS services.  Medical professionals have enough paper work as it is without adding to their list.  The average paper appraisal will last anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hrs, time that could be spent providing urgent care or reassurance to patients and families.  A digital solution could replace this vital interaction and empower staff to be accountable for the process or follow up on the initial appraisal with evidence of their performance or further information about their concerns.
  3. Lost paperwork.. or ‘my dog ate it’ paperwork is too easily lost and/or filed away never to be used again.  A performance system should make it easy for an employee to keep track of their progress and remind themselves of their achievements as well as what they need to work on.  The system should intelligently offer alerts to nudge an employee gently along in their goals and development.  Naturally, NHS staff are on the go most of the day and night and so replacing a paper appraisal process with a digital solution will enable your team to continue monitoring their own performance whilst they are in different locations and whenever they have a free minute or two.  Being highly adaptable is a key factor when it comes to the UK healthcare system.


Connect to Your Team

Why the NHS needs to go digital.

  1. Empower your team to take charge of their own personal development.  “Successful leaders recognise that they set the culture within which their staff succeed – freeing people up to deliver great care is so much more effective than telling them what to do.” (1) Allowing your employees the freedom to take time to improve their own performance is key to success.  If a person feels that their hard work is being recognised, appreciated and valued, they will naturally be motivated to continue to impress and evolve.  “Employees need and want regular feedback (daily, weekly), so a once-a-year review is not only too late but it’s often a surprise.  Regular coaching conversations are the key to alignment and performance.” (2) A digital appraisal system allows everyone in your team to assess their own performance and keep an eye on their development, adding in notes and evidence of times when they believe they have contributed to key organisational goals or have gone the extra mile to perform well.
  2. Reduce Cost.  A digital integrated Organisational Development/Human Resources (OD/HR) solution will help reduce the time spent writing down notes and spending time looking for old paper work.  The NHS must develop and implement a local plan to address the sustainability and quality of general practice, including workforce and workload issues. (3).  Moreover, a digital solution would help you identify the individuals in your team that require specific training and development, rather than sending the entire team on a full day course at greater expense.  In addition, you can also save time by setting up automated digital alerts to remind your team to complete goals, learning and appraisals and follow up on 121s, training or development they need, thus freeing up your manager’s time to focus on other tasks.
  3. Raising the bar.  Success is obtainable for those who aim high.  Your team needs to understand your business goals and values and what that means for them on a day-to-day basis.  Aligning your staff with your business goals will help encourage a higher level of performance.  By going digital, your team will understand and embrace a new era of transparency. For those being carried, they can no longer hide mediocre performance and for those performing at a high standard they will be instantly recognised and hopefully rewarded.  Either way, all staff know that they will be assessed and rewarded depending on their willingness to perform and grow with the organisation.  A digital OD/ HR solution can make a huge difference.


HR/ OD Software

WorkPAL is an innovative flagship organisational development tool which can effectively replace your existing Performance, Appraisal and Learning processes, all contained in one integrated suite.  It will help reduce cost and improve performance simultaneously.  It allows leaders to track individual, team and organisational performance, conduct appraisals, align your staff and empower your team to take charge of their own development and learning.  All of this activity provides leaders with a real-time  “Glass-bottomed boat” view of their organisation for the first time.  This data allows leaders to make informed investment and/or disinvestment decisions that make the organisation sharper, stronger, better.  To find out more and request a demo please get in touch.



  3. Lintern, Shaun. “The Nine Must Dos Given To The NHS For The Year Ahead”. hsj magazine 2016: 4. Print.

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