Head and shoulder shot of a smiling Janet Wilkinson, NHS GM chief people officer, looking directly at the camera.
Janet Wilkinson, NHS GM chief people officer

Message for all people professionals from Janet Wilkinson, Chief People Officer NHS Greater Manchester

Hi, I’m Janet Wilkinson and I’m proud to call myself a people professional.

I must admit I fell into human resources (HR) after graduating from university and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was appointed into a temporary administrative personnel support role at Macclesfield Health Authority, and I knew pretty quickly that I’d found the career for me. I loved the huge variety of responsibilities in the role, and I got to meet so many people across the organisation. I have since worked in a variety of roles within the NHS in England and Wales, as well as head of recruitment and retention for the Welsh Assembly Government.

The world of HR in the NHS has changed a lot in my 37 years in the sector. The journey from welfare, to personnel, to human resources, to workforce, and now to people services has been an interesting one to travel. While looking after staff has always been at the heart of what we do, recent years has seen people services evolve into something more significant and well-rounded. I am pleased that we have started to move away from terms such as ‘back office’ functions and there is now greater recognition of the role we play in supporting the performance of an organisation.

International HR Day takes place on 20 May 2023, and for me it is a great opportunity to celebrate the outstanding contributions all our people professionals make to our health and care services. We play an important role in every stage of the career lifecycle for our workforce – from recruitment, to induction, to learning and development and wellbeing support. We also make a huge contribution to the wider health and care system – from organisation design and the development of positive working cultures to workforce intelligence, planning and transformation.

Ultimately, our health and care services are provided by people, for people, and our profession is critical to enabling our workforce to be their best.

I would like to wish all my fellow people professionals a very happy HR Day. This is a day for every member of our profession. Be proud that what we do really matters and don’t be afraid to join me in shouting it from the rooftops on 20 May!

Janet Wilkinson, Chief People Officer, NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care and Co-President, Healthcare People Management Association (HMPA).


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