Culture for improvement
Whether you’re striving for 'outstanding' or responding to a negative CQC rating, making improvements to your service ensures that it continues to deliver the high quality care and support that people need and deserve.
A positive workplace culture, that’s built around the people who use your service, is embedded by innovative leaders and managers and supported by motivated staff, is crucial to driving improvement.
To coincide with the launch of our new ‘Guide to improvement’, we want to give you the building blocks to develop a culture for improvement in your service.
How to improve your service
Section 2 of the 'Guide to improvement' outlines the things you need to do to identify what improvements you need to make, and how to implement them in your service.
What does a 'culture for improvement' look like?
Having a positive culture ensures that the people within it are committed to achieving your organisation’s goals. This is particularly important for driving improvement.
Services rated ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ by the CQC were committed to making improvements and had a culture that supported this. Services with an ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ rating often tend to have blame cultures and managers who refuse to accept a negative rating.
Here are some of the characteristics of services with a positive workplace culture that supports improvement.
- They have a strong sense of identity which embodies the strategy, mission, vision and values of the organisation.
- They’re inclusive and value everyone’s voice and opinion.
- They listen to everyone who’s involved in the service and have an open process for feedback.
- They have leaders and managers who embody the culture and lead by example.
- They’re transparent and open with everyone in the service, particularly when it comes to areas for improvement.
- They involve and consult their staff and the people they support when making changes.
Our ‘Culture for care’ toolkit explains what workplace culture is, and has activities to help you build a positive culture in your workplace. Visit the online toolkit here, or email us, with your mailing address, to request a printed copy.
Building a culture for improvement
Case study: Hartwell Lodge
Hartwell Lodge is a care home with nursing provision and has improved its service and CQC rating in the past two years. It had fallen below the required CQC standards and was at the point of potential closure, but has turned things around through a series of fundamental improvements and a shift to a positive workplace culture. Its registered manager, Jennifer Daly, makes some practical suggestions to other managers who want to improve their service. Read the full article here.
"One thing that staff highlighted was that the previous manager hadn’t supported them, which had led to a negative workplace culture where staff had to fend for themselves. We decided to address this as a priority. We wanted to build a culture where everyone feels that they’re an equal and that they make a valid contribution to the service."
These are some of the ways that you can build a culture for improvement in your service. Each week we’ll unlock one of the building blocks below, with practical tips, templates and guidance. Follow the campaign on Twitter using #CultureToImprove.
Identify and embed shared values
A culture for improvement involves having a strong sense of identity which embodies the strategy, mission, vission and values of the organisation.
All workplace cultures should have a deeply held set of values that are shared by those working and living it it. They tell staff how to behave and what attitudes they need to achieve the vision of your organisation.
Ensuring that your organisation, and everyone within it, has values such as innovation, honesty and creativity, can help you to build a culture for improvement.
Our 'Values-based recruitment and retention toolkit' can help you to identify your workplace values, recruit staff who align with them and embed them within your organisation's processes.
Engage staff and people who need care and support in the improvement process
A culture for improvement involves listening to everyone who's involved in the service and having an open process for feedback. This feedback can help you to identify areas for improvement and find the best way forward, to ensure that your improvements have a real impact on the experiences of staff and the people you support.
Read this article which explains some of the ways that you can include people who need care and support, families and staff in the improvement process, and tells you how other services make this happen.
Develop leaders and managers
A culture for improvement involves having leaders and managers who embody the culture and lead by example. They're responsible for creating the culture, setting the standards of care in your service and inspiring others to do a good job. This is crucial to driving forward change and improving performance.
Download our top tips and practical examples which show how you can develop leaders and managers to support and implement improvements.
Build local networks and links
A culture for improvement involves listening to everyone who's invovled in the service and having an open process for feedback, including other organisations.
It's not possible for providers to operate in a vacuum - building local networks and links will help you to keep up to date with the latest examples of best practice, find out about new approaches to delivering care and support, and learn from others, so you can continually improve what you do.
Come back soon to read a blog from Fred Mairet, Registered Manager at Home Instead Westminster, who talks about how building local networks and links has helped them to improve their service.
In the meantime, read section 1.6 of our 'Guide to improvement'.
Encourage shared responsibility for improvement
A culture for improvement involves being transparent and open with everyone in the service, particularly when it comes to areas for improvement. Whilst a poor inspection rating can be difficult to hear, your culture needs to encourage everyone involved to recognise the issues that it highlights, and accept their responsibility for improving it.
Confident with difference
Are you and your organisation 'Confident with difference'? It’s not uncommon for people to lack confidence when supporting people whose life experiences are different to their own. The aim of this resource is to allow you and your team to consider how well you currently embrace diversity and how and what you could do to improve.
Developing the everyday leadership skills of frontline care workers ensures that everyone is confident and competent to contribute to the success of your service.
We’ve created a series of short films for managers to use with their teams, to support the development of leadership skills of frontline workers. Click here to find out more.
Invest in learning and development
If you want to improve your service, you need to invest in high quality learning and development, from induction through to ongoing training. This gives staff the skills and knowledge to support improvement and shows that you care about their career progression, which will motivate them and help you get buy-in for any improvements you want to make - this will support you to build a culture for improvement.
There might specific learning and development that staff need to support a specific improvement. Or, you might need to review your whole learning and development process as an area of improvement.
Whatever's needed, ensuring staff have the right skills and knowledge is vital to building and embedding a culture for improvement.
Download our checklist and top tips to help you plan and deliver high quality learning and development to support improvement.
How can we help you to improve your service
Skills for Care supports adult social care employers to deliver what the people they support need and what commissioners and regulators expect. We do this by helping employers get the best from their most valuable resource - their people.
Our practical support helps leaders and managers recruit, develop and lead their staff, retaining them from entry level right through to senior leadership and management roles.
We also work on projects to help employers improve specific areas of their business. Keep an eye out for our latest work this May, including: