Skills for Care

Workplace culture is the character and personality of your organisation. It is defined by your organisation’s leadership, values, traditions, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes.

Organisations with a positive culture, who value their workforce and provide a great place to work, have good retention rates. A positive culture also supports other areas of focus for retention, such as leadership, management and wellbeing, and inspires many business benefits. It offers a sense of shared identity, loyalty to the organisation, and influences what people think or do. Crucially, a positive workplace culture can impact the quality of care and support you provide.

Most employees experience workplace culture through the attitude and behaviours of their line manager, so it is important to equip them to be excellent people managers.

Top tips:

  • Consult staff on your organisation’s culture and values through wide-ranging engagement methods to ensure you obtain and reflect diverse perspectives and input. Good ways to collate staff input include all-staff meetings, anonymised staff surveys/voting, feedback through line managers and team away days. Use this information to understand what your organisation’s culture is and where it ought to be by identifying and forming organisational values and behaviours. Be open and transparent throughout this co-designed and co-produced process.
  • Consider developing a staff handbook or staff webpage on your intranet that explicitly outlines your workplace culture through its values and behaviours.
  • Embed the values and behaviours you want to encourage into organisational policies and processes, such as recruitment initiatives, terms and conditions, wellbeing practices, and leadership and management.
  • Ensure that your organisation’s culture is underpinned by regular communication and periodically reviewed to avoid remaining static, iterating your approach where necessary.

Case studies

What we did:

Implemented a staff engagement survey with an underpinning research base.

Why we did it:

To prioritise meaningful areas of action that make the biggest difference to staff and Norfolk residents.

How we did it:

The Council implemented a concise survey which was simple to complete, advertising this through diverse methods including computer lock screens, videos from heads of service, posters and briefings. They held a stakeholder workshop to contextualise the survey, generate non-predetermined questions, receive branding ideas and understand ‘hard-to-reach groups’. They used key driver analysis to help staff make sense of the data and facilitate discussions into what could make the biggest difference for staff, avoiding ‘survey data overwhelm’.

The results:

Fast turnaround from close of survey to reporting to the corporate board, in only 16 working days. Most importantly, it gave a strong evidence-base with resonance for fields allied to social care with quantitative and qualitative analysis providing credibility for corporate and analytical functions.

Find out more

Ian Henry, Registered Service Manager, Morton House, Epilepsy Society

What we did:

Made sure staff received time, attention and checking in with them.

Why we did it:

We want our staff to be happy in their work and we think that’s the most important thing in keeping staff. Our people are the most valuable resource we have.

How we did it:

Asking for their opinions on things that are happening and in decisions being made so that they know their voice and ideas are heard and valued. Treating everyone as an individual and being flexible is important too – such as with shift patterns.

The results:

I had one support worker who told me she was only going to be here for 6 months, well she’s still here over 10 years later. The average length of time our staff work with us here is 14 years.


Useful links

Skills for Care’s Creating a Positive Workplace Culture Toolkit

Local Government Association’s Organisational Culture and Change Management