Encouraging positivity within care homes
For any changes to happen in your care company, you will have to develop a culture of accepting change. To accept change, staff should have an open and positive mindset. Have you ever been in a situation where you want your care home to improve, but the most significant barrier is staffing issues?
I was recently called out by a desperate care homeowner, who was worried that all their staff is going to walk out due to team morale issues. Attending as a third person and having a completely independent view was required to settle such a situation. We were able to turn the problem to an opportunity to improve successfully. Now we are together on a mission to make changes. Without losing momentum, we started moving forward.
Some of the suggestions that I have given to improve team morale is below:
Thank you board
Having a board where staff write down about the best thing happened on the day. It can be a colleague who helped them, or doing something with the resident, or exceptional manager support, or a special pudding! Being visual will help in slow cultural shifts to be more positive. The board will become the morale booster and talking subject for the team.
When someone becomes negative in thoughts, action or words, the staff who is witnessing it can say - "Sunny side". It can be a secret code used to alert the staff that their action is inappropriate. I borrowed this idea from one of my clients. This is to create that conscious effort for the team to recognise 'negative' and put the correction straight away. Anything that is not addressed straight away will never get changed.
The care sector is notorious in organising meals outside, especially during Christmas seasons. Sometimes that remains the only outing for the staff. To develop the team, you will have to do more informal ones regularly. Such as having a beer together, meals out, days out etc. It is more about the experience, not expensive ideas. Do not get frustrated if no one is interested at first, and you make a start, the rest will follow. Believe it or not when I was a Manager, only my Cheff and I turned up for the first meal out. But we couldn't stop partying several years later.
It may sound crazy to do it on a team level, just after the handover. Staff to say "We are the best team" or something similar. It may sound crazy - but trust me, it works. Unfortunately, you will have to do some crazy things to get extraordinary results.
Writing to staff
Always remember to appreciate if someone in your team has gone over and beyond. Write a thank you card once in a while to all your staff. Remember to reiterate what they are good at.
Having a take away on a tough day to appreciate the hard work. It might be a good idea to have a wellbeing budget to fund this. The usual biggest frustration for staff is when the management does not recognise if they had a hard day or not. Everything will be usual for the Manager, but it may not be for the staff on the floor. Always remember to get a feel of the floor every day. Support them when needed. A take away is all they need.
Remember to celebrate national days or something similar to embrace and respect the multicultural workforce. Be curious about your staff's ethnic background, their belief system and their culture because that will help you to deal with them in a more personal way.
Remember, a building without your team, your care home is just brick and mortar. Let working for you become a positive experience for your team.