HR’s role in the new Aged Care Quality Standards – “Culture meets Care”

As we move closer to July 1, providers are being increasingly challenged to demonstrate their adherence to Standard 7 – Human Resources. These new standards, the Royal Commission, and the general metamorphosis of the consumer has resulted in unprecedented pressure on the Aged Care Industry.

With this inevitable change in motion, organisations must demonstrate care for their teams to ensure that they are taken on this change journey and encouraged to embrace change as positive.

Now more than ever, aged care leaders must focus on creating and protecting a culture of care and driving effective communication by an understanding of what motivates their workforce during times of uncertainty. Through ensuring alignment between culture and strategy, aged care leaders can ensure that business decisions are meaningful not only to consumers but to the entire workforce.

So, how can Aged Care Leaders achieve this?

Communication is a critical (and often underrated) tool, channel and indicator of how well your organisation is operating. By utilising communication effectively, all stakeholders can positively contribute to change, and as a result, support a culture of collaboration, driven by continuous and transparent improvement.

Creating effective communication channels can include the following initiatives:

  • Providing the team with training on effective communication. This should include training on professional boundaries, crucial conversations and overall communication skills to utilise within the workplace. Often this may include a component on emotional intelligence to create awareness around relationships and expressing oneself.
  • Positive new ways to communicate between employees, consumers and key stakeholders. With the increase in technology in the sector, utilise it and get inventive. New internal or external communication channels should be established to ensure that continuous quality improvement initiatives are demonstrated and acted upon.
  • Drive awareness through experience in relation to awareness of self, others and of the customer. This may be achieved by connecting the employee’s daily tasks and role to the greater mission and purpose of the organisation. This can be achieved from a macro level of the organisation in a learning and development project, right down to ensuring that Managers and Team Leaders are reiterating this at meetings and one-on-one regularly.
  • Test employee alignment to the values and the vision of leaders and the organisation. This ‘finger on the pulse’ initiative will ensure that you are leading the workforce on positive change.
  • Driving a feedback culture. Invest in your people by committing to meaningful performance tools and practices and assess regularly. What is working and what isn’t?
  • Manage your people problems and don’t be afraid of proactive performance management.

By focusing on the simple impact that effective communication can have in creating and protecting a a culture of care, Aged Care Leaders can ensure that their workforces are equipped with the tools they need to tackle the outcomes of the Royal Commission aligned, and open to change.

Written by Karen Ansen, Head of Workplace Relations.

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