Is social leadership the answer to engaging with the workforce of the future?

July 2017

By the time the NHS Five Year Forward View is realised in 2020, half of our total workforce will be millennials. NHS Employers have estimated we will need to fill 13.5 million job vacancies in the next ten years, and with the recent news that the number of EU nationals registering as nurses in England dropped by 92% since the Brexit referendum in June, and that more nurses and midwives are leaving the profession than joining it, this led us to consider, how do we engage the future workforce now, to prevent shortages?

Could social leadership be the answer?

A social leader is someone who has followers because of their abilities to bring people together, facilitate agreements and drive efforts in the same direction, for the greater good. They work across boundaries and are agile, recognising that social capital is much more influential than hierarchy. Looking ahead to the challenges facing the healthcare sector over the next decade, and with a particular focus on recruitment, these are skills that good leaders will need to have to effectively meet these latest challenges.

Where do millennials fit?

Millennials are seeking honesty, transparency, opportunities to collaborate and to be part of the action, they embrace diversity, enjoy working in teams, and like to combine social and professional relationships, making work a fun place to be. This generation is the epitome of social leadership, they respond to authenticity not hierarchy. Regardless of our own personal views and work ethic, the fact is, this generation are our future leaders, and we need to embrace this alternative view on what qualities are required to lead effectively. If we don't, we risk losing talented and courageous individuals who will move into sectors which are able to engage them and talk to their ambitions and values.

What does this mean for the future?

Theorists are also starting to explore our newest demographic, 'Generation Alpha'-  the children of millennials. If they are correct, they predict that our generations will go full circle, with Generation Alpha mirroring the key characteristics of their millennial parents, and therefore, learning these lessons now, is almost certain to give us the head start needed, to make the NHS fit for the future, both in terms of its leadership and the patients and populations it serves.

Cynergy are currently working with forward thinking leaders on key agendas such as leadership, innovation and improvement to support the changing dynamics and shift in engagement, to expand thinking and create narratives which empower, motivate and stimulate change.​ Do you have a leadership, engagement or recruitment challenge you'd like to chat about? Call us on 01642 713211 or drop us an email