Tips for introducing multiple roles
Talent is a scarce resource—especially highly skilled talent. So, as an organisation, how do you respond to rising demand? Do you simply work harder? Do you procure external freelance support? Do you develop internal training schemes? Any or all of these. In this article, I propose an extra option - around designing a multidisciplinary team.
As a leader, it's not as easy as it seems. Often members of an internal team can see and understand their own profession and will value additional team members who offer that same value. In some industries, stakeholders - investors, consumers even have a high degree of trust in a particular profession, and they can see an alternative as a cheap option.
Healthcare is a ubiquitous example of this. Globally there is a scarcity of skilled clinicians, especially medical doctors. Over the last decade, we've seen an acceleration in the adoption of alternative professions to fulfil the roles that a doctor would perform. That's been faster in different geographies, or in teams more likely to innovate, or indeed where recruitment challenges have been less acute. For example, in my work mentoring at scale provider teams, I've been asked why you would bring in a paramedic or a pharmacist when the team didn't have a problem recruiting doctors.
That's a great question, and I'll expand on the medical case study over the next series of blogs to expose the moving parts that apply to any industry.
In the UK, as in many different countries, there are simply enough workers to meet the rising demands of the populous. In family doctor settings, this has led teams to diversify their workforce. Practically, how do you start? Well, let's treat the team as a giant jigsaw puzzle. First, break down the functions and activities of highly skilled workers into competency components. What is the action, and what skills, knowledge, and experience are needed to do the job well? Then, having examined those different elements, how many could legitimately be fulfilled in part or whole by another person.
In this example medicines management, might be transferred as a whole function to a pharmacist. In some cases, that's at a strategic level. In other cases, at a more granular level. You need to break down the process further and explore which elements could be digital, which could be carried out by a more abundant resource.
For example, teams can pretty much automate medical report writing through many packages. The program extracts fields from the patient record (with consent) to produce the report. Often, a human still needs to be in the loop, but that level of transformation opens up the question legitimately as to who best can serve that function.
It is another reason why digital transformation is rarely about the tool. It allows reviewing workforce design, including governance.
So, you know what steps to take, you've got an idea of who needs to do it, surely you're home and dry? Well, you'll have to wait for the next instalment to hear about that.