Q&A with Mina Jesa, D&I Lead at NHS Professionals
We interviewed Mina Jesa, Diversity & Inclusion Lead at NHS Professionals, to learn about D&I initiatives she’s most proud of, and what’s coming next.
Tell us a bit about you and your organisation?
My name is Mina Jesa and I am the Diversity & Inclusion Lead at NHS Professionals. I have been brought into the organisation to build and co-ordinate the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) programme. I have been working in this arena for over twenty-five years in organisations including local authorities, the police service, and the NHS itself.
Established in 2001 as a Special Health Authority (SpHA) and then as a limited company in 2010, NHS Professionals are experts at putting people in places to care within NHS Trusts and the wider healthcare system in England. We have over 50 client Trusts and 180,000 healthcare professionals registered with us. Uniquely, we stand apart from other recruitment organisations since we are owned by the Department of Health and Social Care. This means that in 2020-21, over £15million was re-invested back into the wider health economy in addition to associated workforce efficiencies and savings made by individual NHS Trusts.
What makes NHS Professionals a Top Employer?
Having grown in the last couple of years, from 700 employees, to over 1000 today, NHS Professionals have always valued the importance of building a compelling employee journey for all our staff. The Top Employer accreditation was awarded after a thorough assessment of our corporate people practices and the support we offer our employees, including areas such as Talent Strategy, Compensation and Benefits, and Leadership Development. In addition to the career development opportunities we provide, everything we do is underpinned by inclusivity and equity for all.
We have also created employee support and new infrastructure, especially during the pandemic, providing health and wellbeing resources, an employee assistance programme and a dedicated platform for education and training – the Institute of Learning. Lastly, as the leading provider of flexible workers into the NHS, we ensure that our corporate employees are able to have the same flexibility as our Bank Members, in order to ensure maximum choice around work-life balance.
Tell us about an initiative that you have in place to support women at NHS Professionals that you are most proud of?
One really strong example of this is our commitment to the Menopause Pledge, which we signed at the start of the year. There are 3 key areas to this pledge:
- Recognising that the menopause can be an issue in the workplace and women need support
- Talking openly, positively and respectfully about the menopause
- Actively supporting and informing your employees affected by the menopause
At NHS Professionals, we now have a new policy in relation to this important issue, as well as access to resources for managers for them to talk to their teams and support those employees as appropriate. This is being followed up with regular communications and will also have check ins to understand progress and impact.
What’s next in D&I at NHS Professionals?
I am delighted in the way that the NHS Professionals team have welcomed me and the EDI programme into the business. It is fantastic to see and hear some of the positive feedback and reactions as we build on this crucial topic for staff. We have three key EDI aims which I am looking forward to delivering with the team – these are:
- We become an inclusive employer of choice for you, encompassing a fully diverse workforce, which truly reflects society
- We proactively embed the EDI agenda in our teams, in a meaningful way, in all that we do
- We create a healthy and safe environment in which everyone can give their best
From my own professional experience, I know that success in delivering EDI is about having the courage to take risks, speak up, ask pertinent questions, ask for help and connect with others in an authentic way which is underpinned by humility and vulnerability – and this is the approach I am taking here at NHS Professionals.
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