Half of NHS frontline staff say lack of investment in tech is hindering their wellbeing & career progression


SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) released new research today which reveals NHS workforces feel overworked, overwhelmed and have had their wellbeing overlooked as a result of managers lacking the tools to be able to effectively support them.

Taking the temperature of employee experience

The study, conducted by YouGov, suggests that despite tackling one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises in recent years, NHS frontline staff feel underappreciated. Tired (63%), stressed (61%), overwhelmed/anxious (49%) and burnout/exhaustion (46%) topped the list of adjectives frontline workers used to describe how they have felt over the last two years.

The majority of frontline workers do not believe their managers can influence their careers. Of those who believe managers are not adequately equipped, half think that managers don’t have the hands-on clinical skills to better understand staff issues, while over a third (37%) think they have limited authority and influence on hospital performance. On top of that, almost half (49%) think there’s not enough investment in the necessary tools and systems that can help with their progress.

This has led to a culture where training and development is fundamentally at risk. Three quarters (74%) recognise that managers are stretched and that they don’t have the time to juggle their core responsibilities and manage staff at the same time. Over half (56%) think managers are not provided with adequate staff wellbeing training, while over a third (35%) agree that managers are not equipped with the right technology to keep a consistent and accurate record of each employee.

Managerial disconnect

The study also reveals how managers feel about their role in the NHS. While the majority of those surveyed (78%) agree that they want to be able to provide clinical staff with clear, personalised career path lines, less than two-thirds (64%) feel empowered to support their staff and adapt to diverse needs.

Managers are sympathetic to the challenges of frontline staff, but are working with limited resources to ensure they can perform better in their roles. Nearly nine in ten (89%) want the opportunity to harness technology to deliver great people and line management services. The majority (80%) think that having access to more/better digital tools and platforms will help them to create more timely, standardised service for both patients and staff, while over two thirds (71%) think this will help them to focus on priorities that improve the working lives of NHS staff.

Connected, aligned and empowered

There’s a clear appetite to see change within the current workforce management system. Staff would benefit from specific functionalities that will not only help them with their career progression, but will also allow them to do their jobs better and spend more time looking after patients:

  • Almost a third (32%) of frontline workers surveyed would like to be able to apply for new roles within NHS Trusts with ease, as part of their career progression
  • A fourth (26%) would like access to resources that would help with their career development
  • One in four (24%) would like the system to have better, more intuitive user experience and functionality
  • A fifth (20%) would like their line manager to be able to add specific goals about their career development
  • Nearly one in four (23%) would benefit from having the ability to request mental health support.

“While frontline staff and NHS management have shown immense resilience, the pandemic has exposed yet more shortcomings in the healthcare service’s business processes, systems and applications, especially in those designed to support its ever-pressured workforce” said Satpal Biant, Head of Public Sector, SAP UK&I. “As shown in our research, it’s clear that there are significant opportunities to transform the employee experience across the NHS and empower managers to better look after their staff. Technology isn’t a silver bullet solution for these problems, but it’s an effective enabler – by applying technological tools we can create long-term, trusted, sustainable, people-first systems that meet the needs of every single employee, every day.”

SAP offers several industry leading cloud software solutions which are tailored to efficiently improve processes within the public sector industry, including the NHS. With software ranging from HR and people transformation solutions, to data intelligence, SAP is leading the way in transforming and digitising government departments and institutions.

Download the full SAP Remedy for a Stressed-Out Workforce: Digital Innovation at the NHS [add URL] report to find out more about our commitment to help the NHS digitally transform, here.