Changing social care: an inclusive approach
Workforce involvement and participation - Engage the workforce
- Involve the workforce in developing both the overall direction of change and the specific actions needed to achieve it. This involvement will help create a sense of ownership.
- Make sharing the responsibility more than just rhetoric – it needs to involve relinquishing control, trusting individuals and providing support.
In Willowbank, giving employees responsibility was seen as way of empowering staff and service users. For example, one staff member was given the opportunity to train up as finance director and take control of her development. Other staff members were encouraged to seek the training they required, and to decide how to manage their workloads and their days. Service users were empowered to take control and responsibility for their own development. In this situation (as with most situations in Willowbank), the applicable rules and actual roles for service users and staff overlapped considerably. At the start of their improvement initiative, individuals needed a lot of personal encouragement to recognise that they were capable of doing things and thus take responsibility for their own development: ‘A lot of people wouldn’t have been given the opportunity, wouldn’t know how to switch on a computer. Willowbank challenges that, asking “why can’t you?” [The director] would have been their voice while empowering them(Willowbank board member).
The attitude of the director is adamantly one of “can-do”(Willowbank staff and board member). (Willowbank)
How we know this
- There are a variety of methods for sharing responsibility with the workforce. These include:
- self-managed work teams
- planning committees or task forces
- participative decision-making and delegation
- problem-solving groups (Lines 2004; Styhre 2004).
- Participating in change initiatives is associated with positive outcomes for individuals within the workforce, including job satisfaction, trust, retention and customer satisfaction (Daly and Geyer 1994; Lines et al., 2005; Lord et al. 1998; Nurick 1982).
- Involving the workforce in developing the whole framework for change tends to result in higher levels of commitment and achievement, and less resistance (Lines 2004).