A day in the life of an NHS Director of Workforce

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Jackie Stephen

Executive Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Barnet Enfield Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust


My workday starts around 8.15am


On a typical day

You’ll find me in and out of meetings, I often have several corridor conversations and read over 100 emails

The best thing about my role is…

Variety and the opportunity to influence and find ways to improve staff experience in the Trust to support improved quality of care


Is very varied for me. I’m usually writing documents or have a morning full of meetings

I’ve been in my current role…

For one month, having spent the previous 2½ years as Deputy Director in the same Trust

My proudest achievement is…

Introducing the Living our Values sessions at BEH to help bring our values to life

What changes have you helped work on to improve the service for patients, staff, students?

I’ve refreshed our Trust values, streamlined training and written a workforce strategy that is supportive of staff


This is usually on the run!


What inspires me is…

Seeing happy staff working with our service users, staff getting involved in a range of activities to develop themselves and others

The hardest part of my job is…

Spinning all the plates – there are so many different projects underway e.g. to improve staff retention and I need to ensure that they’re all making progress

The best part of my job is…

Working with some fantastic people

What qualifications or experience do you need to do your role?

A qualification in human resources management is essential to progress to a senior role as well as operational experience in one or more disciplines e.g. employee relations, learning and development or recruitment


Often this is unpredictable – it’s usually more important meetings, one to one catch ups, phone calls, writing papers and identifying priorities


What’s the best thing you’ve learned in your role on the job?

The importance and value of building effective working relationships to achieve things together

What does bite sized learning mean to you?

It’s learning on the go, is concise and easy to digest

What tips do you have for anyone wanting to join your profession?

Be patient – there’s a wealth of opportunity in the field of HR and it takes time to learn, gain experience and decide which aspect you might  pursue

How are you compassionate to yourself or colleagues?

I seek to understand how people are doing, what they’re feeling and giving space when needed. Compassionate to myself?  Not sure I am!  Note to self – I must try harder.

Before I leave work 

I check where I need to be the following morning by checking my online diary and plan my work for the next day.  I always review what I’ve achieved and what remains undone!


After work

I love going to the theatre.  I watch all sorts – opera to drama. This week alone I’ve seen a play based in Ireland and a classic show in both French and English!

If you could travel back in time what work tip would you give to your younger self?

Believe in yourself and don’t expect to know everything!

A day in the life…
Interview with Fiona Cameron  @cameron_fiona
Digital Communications Manager, My Care Academy.

Read more of Fiona’s blogs on this site here

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