Positive workplace culture

Workplace culture is the character and personality of your organisation. Having a positive workplace culture is vital to delivering high quality care and support.

This toolkit explains what workplace culture is and how you can develop a positive one in your organisation. It’s for adult social care employers of all sizes, including individual employers.

How to use this toolkit

Work your way through the sections below. There are activities you can do as you go along and some longer activities at the end. You can also use them with front line care workers (and other staff) to help you develop your workplace culture. We're developing a paper copy of the toolkit which we hope will be ready in Autumn 2018. 

How to develop a positive workplace culture

There are some key elements that define workplace cultures. Click on each section to find out more about how you can develop each element in your workplace. There are activities in each section to help you think about how they apply to your workplace, and links to useful resources to help. 

 

Cultures are complex and diverse, but in its simplest terms has been described as:

“The way we do things around here” (Bower 1996)

It’s the character and personality of your organisation – it’s what makes your organisation unique and is made up of the values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours and attitudes of the people within it. 

It offers a sense of shared identity, certainty and predictability, and influences what people think or do. This can impact on the quality of care and support you provide, which is why it’s important that adult social care organisations have a positive workplace culture.

Many theorists have studied workplace cultures and there are lots of different types. Read more about different types of workplace cultures in the PDF version of this section.

A positive workplace culture

Our ‘ Good and outstanding care’ guide found that services with these ratings had a culture that’s fair, inclusive and transparent, for example they:

  • put people who need care and support at the heart of the service

  • ensure managers and leaders are dedicated to delivering high quality care and support, and act upon feedback

  • ensure managers and leaders are open, visible, approachable and empower others

  • embed a person-centred culture of fairness, support and transparency

  • ensure managers and leaders encourage and support a strong focus on inclusion, equality, diversity and human rights

  • ensure the workplace culture meets the needs of people who need care and support, staff and other stakeholders

  • ensure problems and concerns are always a priority and are committed to resolving them.

Read more about what culture means to different adult social care employers in the PDF version of this section.

Download the full PDF version of this section

 

A positive workplace culture can bring lots of business benefits. It’s a vital part of any well-led service and fundamental in delivering high quality care and support.

Our ‘Good and outstanding care’ guide recognises that leaders and managers in services with these ratings know the importance of creating and maintaining an inclusive culture. 

It can:

  • improve the quality, consistency and personalisation of your service – a positive workplace culture helps to create a shared identity for your organisation where everyone understands how to behave

  • help you recruit and retain a stable and skilled workforce with the right values – a positive workplace culture can help you attract like-minded and talented people who have the right values to work for you

  • reduce costs – improved retention as a result of a positive workplace culture can reduce your recruitment costs. It can also help you reduce the number of workplace ‘issues’

  • improve health and wellbeing in your service – a positive workplace culture makes staff feel engaged, valued and trusted which can make them feel happier and healthier at work 

  • improve your reputation and market share – having a positive workplace culture can improve your reputation and raise your profile with commissioners and those who monitor the quality of services, such as the CQC. We also know that a high percent of new recruits hear about vacancies through word of mouth, so a positive workplace culture can support your recruitment

  • help you to meet CQC regulations – workplace culture is fundamental across several CQC key lines of enquiry, particularly under ‘well-led’, and statistics show that most services who achieve a good or outstanding rating for ‘well-led’ go on to achieve this rating overall.

     

Download the full PDF version of this section.

 

There are lots of different influences which can affect your workplace culture.

Organisational influences

The aims and objectives of the organisation, and how they’re planned and delivered, can influence your workplace culture. This can include:

  • your vision, aims and objectives

  • your leaders and how they communicate and influence your staff

  • the way your organisation is managed – it’s systems, structure, procedures and policies

  • workplace practices, such as recruiting, selecting, rewards and benefits, learning and development, performance management and wellbeing

  • legislation

  • social factors

  • political factors, such as funding or local initiatives. 

If your aims and objectives align closely with your workplace culture, they’ll be easier to achieve. For example if you aim to deliver flexible and innovative care and support in people’s homes, your culture should focus on seeking creative options and integrated work roles (rather than process and clearly defined job roles).

Social influences/ people

Your organisation is made up of lots of different people, including staff, people who need care and support and their families, each of whom have different:

  • personalities

  • beliefs

  • values

  • skills and experience

  • cultural heritage

  • own aspirations

  • roles and responsibilities

  • relationships with others.

These social influences can affect your workplace culture.

Organisations that employ people from different background benefit from a more diverse way of thinking, which can bring fresh ideas, new solutions to problems and drive innovation and creativity.

No matter what their background, if your staff and their values align with your workplace values, this can ensure that the people you hire fit into your workplace culture and the way that you work.

Environmental influences

The physical setting of your workplace can also influence your workplace culture, such as the:

  • structure of the building

  • accessibility

  • atmosphere, such as lighting, noise levels, personal space and temperature

  • décor, such as displaying your organisations history, achievements and values

  • allocation of desk space.

Staff spend lots of time at work and many social care organisations will be people’s homes, so it’s important to have a pleasant environment that’s energetic and fun – this can improve people’s moods and make them happier. Where organisations are also people’s homes, physical settings are important to their health, wellbeing and happiness. 

 

Download the full PDF version of this section.