Changing social care: an inclusive approach
Workforce involvement and participation - Get the communication channels right
- Make sure that all members of the workforce have the ability and opportunity to access and use the chosen communication methods.
- Be aware of the range of ways to communicate,
and tailor your choice according to the message
and audience. For example:
- meetings with each individual
- group consultations with the workforce, including brainstorming exercises
- newsletters for the whole workforce, including volunteers
- emails and text messages
- personal telephone conversations
- group meetings and consultations
- away-days (Fauth and Mahdon 2007).
- Check whether the message has been understood, and repeat if necessary.
Flexibility in communication was reported to be important in Age Concern Sheffield. The director had introduced critical event audits (CEAs) as a way of exploring the key actions, events and circumstances that occurred when service delivery did not go as expected or was unsuccessful. As part of this process it was necessary to gather attendees. To do this, it was essential for organisers to communicate that the purpose of the CEA was to create a learning experience for all attendees, not to blame or incriminate people. In this instance, the director saw that she needed to be flexible in her approach. She employed a variety of techniques based on the lessons learned from the first couple of attempts at conducting CEAs. First, one-on-one sessions were required with the key personnel involved in the critical event and, in some cases, their line managers. Second, an external facilitator was brought in to help make the tone of the event more neutral, rather than appear to be in any way castigating. Finally, the results of the CEA were written up by one of the participants and distributed widely. This final stage was implemented to ensure that the outcomes were fully disseminated. Wide dissemination – and reiteration of the positive tone of the event – was thought to help garner support for future CEAs. Effective communication about the reasons behind CEAs should help to ensure that employees feel thoroughly involved in the process and that they can contribute to and learn from the outcomes. Each time the organisation held a CEA it learned from it and used employee feedback to improve it(SCIE Knowledge review 16).
How we know this
- The involvement of those in leadership positions in communicating important messages about change initiatives is vital in maintaining trust. Communication via peers or union representatives is not so successful (Morgan and Zeffane 2003).
- Using a variety of communication methods is likely to result in more people hearing and understanding the messages.