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.
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.
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.
Read more about what the business benefits of a positive workplace culture in the PDF version of this section.
There are lots of different influences which can affect your workplace culture.
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
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:
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.
The physical setting of your workplace can also influence your workplace culture, such as the:
structure of the building
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.
Read more about the influences on a workplace culture in the PDF version of this section.