By Karen Ansen
Anyone who works in this beloved sector of ours is by now feeling the pressure of meeting the new Aged Care Quality Standard 7.
We have purpose and vision, in spades.. our engagement surveys are full of responses that show our frontline workforces care, and have love for, their customers.
So, why is connecting this culture with care so challenging?
Providers are telling us that it is difficult to identify the gaps in the current state of their operations. They are finding it difficult to discern the root causes of these gaps and implement a plan to address these gaps and become aligned with the requirements of Standard 7.
Standard 7 sets out that consumers should receive quality care and services from a workforce that is sufficient, skilled and qualified to provide safe, respectful and quality care and services.
It is incumbent on providers to ensure that your workforce is capable and sufficiently skilled to meet the new requirements.
There are three key stages in developing a plan for a skilled and qualified workforce:
In order to make successful change, you first need to understand what is and isn’t working. To do this, you will need to:
- Seek feedback from your customers
- Review historical complaints, and identify the key issues. What are the common challenges? What needs to change?
- Consider the requirements of Standard 7 and survey your workforce and management team to discover where they think the pain points and deficiencies lie
- Review your HR processes, systems and documentation
Now that you understand the current state, it’s time to look at how to make things better. The objective, is to create a workforce plan that balances rostering requirements with customer needs.
- Analyse the results of the workforce surveys and customer feedback
- Review your current state and perform a gap analysis against the requirements of Standard 7
- Identify areas for improvement, and analyse the root causes of any gaps or deficiencies
- Make clear recommendations for how you can address the causes of the deficiencies
- Develop a plan to implement the recommendations. This becomes the foundation of your continuous improvement plan.
Note: It is imperative that the voice and needs of the customer the starting point of your continuous improvement program.
One of the key criteria in Standard 7,is to create a direct link between customer need, and workforce. In order to do that, you need to be clear about what your organisational culture (story) actually is.
- Using your customer needs as a basis, clearly identify your organisational or ‘people’ story
- Communicate this story consistently through every level of the organisation, and in all client interactions. Ensure it is reflected in all areas of your people processes – from your recruitment practices and role descriptions, through to performance appraisal, engagement surveys and initiatives, employee value proposition and internal communications.
- Use the HR tools and processes available to you to deliver an experience which reflects this story, not only for your customers, but also your workforce.
By creating a story which is aligned with your customer needs, and by communicating this story throughout all of your people processes, you will allow your workforce and your customers to come on the journey with you, and in turn provide a higher level of care.
We’re all in this together, with a united desire to provide the best level of care possible, in line with the new Standards.
If you would like our assistance to identify your organisation’s current state, areas for improvement, or just want to have a chat about the new Aged Care Quality Standard 7, please do not hesitate to contact us.
You can learn more about Head of Workplace Relations, Karen Ansen, and book a complimentary consultation to discuss the Standards, or this process in more depth.