The benefits of a positive workplace culture for colleagues and people we support
10 Jul 2023
5 min read
- Culture and diversity
Tracy Kite, Chief of Personal and Leadership Learning at Glassmoon Services, shares how a positive workplace culture benefits their team and the people they support.
In Glasmoon’s first blog for Skills for Care about workplace culture, we talked about what a positive culture is and why it’s important. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of a positive workplace culture for those people who work for the organisation, and the people supported. At Glassmoon Services, the culture we create is a deliberate, considered approach to operationalising culture, which we work on every day. We introduce new colleagues to the core aspects of our culture from day one and we embed those messages, consistently.
How and why do we reinforce our cultural messages?
A culture is only positive or beneficial, if all those touched by it agree – colleagues, people supported, professionals, family, and friends. In creating culture, we must deliberately identify its components, actively engage and embed those components, and measure them. The measures and outcomes must be fed back into the creation of culture in an iterative way to continually improve.
At Glassmoon, we start the communication of culture at induction. We actively connect with every colleague from their first day. We use storytelling to build connection and belonging; we discuss human rights, citizenship and encourage participation and co-creation. This encourages colleagues to connect with our tenets of culture from the beginning – because they understand who we are, what our purpose is and the crucial part they play in evolving our culture.
We’ve developed two wellbeing models. They are symbiotically connected to create an equal view of colleagues and people we support – to move away from an organisational design where colleagues are viewed, supported, and cared for less than those who are supported by the organisation. This makes human rights personal to every person touched by our organisation and ensures that physical and psychological safety are key components, alongside trauma-informed practice, safeguarding the best interests of people we support and everyone else. Our work in developing and embedding our models is ongoing. We’ve recently evolved our colleague model into a deeply rich and meaningful schema which pulls together our values, beliefs, theories, and work into one representation of all that we are – it’s called the Glassmoon Services Star.
This feeds our governance processes, our measurements of success, and nurtures the practices and interactions we’d like to see in our communities. All our models and approaches ensure we’re always looking to our purpose – Being in Service to Others.
The benefits of positive workplace culture
We design, embed, and measure our culture to ensure colleagues and teams always work with purpose and are enabled to support the people we support to ‘live what matters’ – live their best lives. We support people with a range of needs and presentations; those members of our society who’ve been institutionalised for long periods of their lives and who may never have otherwise been given an opportunity to live in the community. We have a deep conviction to ensure the people we support can live, with the least restrictions possible, a positive life in the community, with their own tenancy in an environment which gives them choice, control, and interdependence, in a way that’s far from being in a long-term institutionalised setting.
This includes enabling the people we support to go night fishing, swimming, horse riding, nightclubbing, enjoy the beach and outdoor spaces, ride in a helicopter, have visitors and family in their own accommodation, and visit museums and attractions. Most of the people we support hadn’t done any of those things for years before.
For our colleagues, the positive culture ensures we focus on the day-to-day work experience and design work which people want to do. We invest in learning and development opportunities for career development and create bespoke teams around individuals we support. This means learning is focused and support plans avoid generic and restrictive practices.
We focus on line-manager relationships, including how people feel about their jobs, their colleagues and we always create work (paid) time for learning, one-to-ones, team meetings, de-briefs, elbow coaching, competency assessments, Care Certificate achievement, qualifications, action learning, and our bespoke leadership development – Learning and Leading with LOVE.
How do we measure our culture?
We start with key data and metrics – every month we measure areas like retention, sickness, and learning data, through our governance reporting systems. This is also something that can be done with the Skills for Care Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS). We ensure that everyone takes all their annual leave and we avoid colleagues working excessive hours by monitoring overtime levels. We ensure flexible working opportunities and different working arrangements, to ensure we’re inclusive to people who have non-work priorities and commitments. Over 60% of our colleagues work less than 37.5 hours a week. We pay colleagues fortnightly to help with cost of living and all payroll anomalies are sorted in the same day – no-one must wait until the next pay run. We ensure our commissioned hours are delivered and our approach to workforce planning means we’ve had zero agency usage in the past two years.
We invite objective internal and external comments, feedback, and research to validate our measurements and to create our intentions on the next work we need to do, to take our culture forwards. These include surveys of people we support, families and other professionals, feedback from the leadership team, and internal reviews of induction and learning experiences.
Each year, for the past two years we’ve invited the Great Place to Work organisation to survey our colleagues, objectively and anonymously. We’re delighted that in both years, we were certificated as a Great Place to Work. This year, we made the top 100 small companies Great Place to Work and were in the top 100 of small companies, for wellbeing too.
What do our colleagues, people we support, fellow professionals and families say about our culture?
Here are some of the anonymous comments, taken from some of our most recent feedback, surveys and evaluations:
“Glassmoon Services have a culture of trying to "do care" differently. They heavily invest in their colleagues' learning and development and genuinely care about the wellbeing of everyone - colleagues and people we support.”
“We are supported here on a professional and personal level, and we are a team of like-minded people, with the same shared vision and goals.”
“They consider the employees’ wellbeing as well as the people we support.”
“A company that says they care and genuinely do.”
“We genuinely care about each other. It’s easy to talk about anything that’s important to me.”
“You are given a voice; your opinions matter and you are encouraged to share your thoughts.”
Whilst we’re proud of what we’ve achieved, we can’t afford to rest back. Creating and maintaining a positive culture is a daily, ongoing job. We need to know what we’re doing well, so we can do it more. We also need to understand what we aren’t doing well, so we can work to rectify it. A positive culture means everything to an organisation’s success. At Glassmoon, we take culture very seriously indeed.
Find more blog, articles and other support for developing a #PositiveWorkplaceCulture on our spotlight page.
Print this page