Workplace culture is a term bandied around a lot but what does it actually mean and how can it be measured? When I ask staff at facilities during training sessions what they see their point of difference is, they frequently reply saying ‘we’re friendly’, or ‘we care’ or ‘we provide a homely environment’. While these are all nice to have, they would actually be expected as a basic standard. They are not specific and not anything different to the care facility down the road.
Mary Barra, Chairwoman and CEO of General Motors (GM) states that at GM, they prefer to talk about behaviours rather than culture as behaviours can be changed very quickly and are apparent straight away. She talks about the need for rapid change with the inclusion of technology and advancements in artificial intelligence being used more frequently. While those are starting to be present in some aged residential care settings, what is true of both GM and aged care is rapid change and the need to adapt quickly. This isn’t going to happen by accident and needs clear direction, guidance, leadership and engagement of all those involved.
Mary Barra also refers to bringing products to market that bring people freedom, rather than talking about cars or transportation. She focuses on the outcome for their clients. What is the key outcome you’re wanting to provide for those in your environment and how is that defined in your values? How is it implemented by your staff and how do you measure success on those outcomes?
A managers oath as I’ve mentioned before is a good place to start in defining the governance or leadership direction of organisations. Values and key performance indicators (KPIs) or quality objectives / measures need to align to this.To ensure consistent progress regular review of those KPIs or quality measures needs to occur and acted on according to the outcomes. Policies and procedures to guide consistent best practice are an important part of ensuring clear direction for staff while setting parameters for performance. Information reduces confusion and promotes change. Practice creates confidence not only in the staff but also in the resident and those observing their care.