The value of our workforce

Consider this scenario:

You have been working too many shifts, for many months covering for unwell colleagues.   Each day you have a meaningful connection with Ray Hunt who has been in the LTC home for 5 years. He has been without family members visiting him for over 18 months.  You have discovered the lifetime interests of Penny Curtis in room 24 and while assisting her at mealtimes; you hold conversations with her based on her interests.  At the end of each shift – you write comments in the Communication book for the next shift about the current emotional needs and observations of the people living in the home.

As time passes, you notice you are performing these actions less and less. You observe some of your colleagues have stopped completely. Meanwhile meetings have become infrequent and communication from the leadership is occasional.  Gradually you see that recognition and the value of what you and others do has died. The team is disengaged, ticking the task boxes.

A re-charge, rejuvenation focus is needed.  This came from different sources: a response to a low accreditation assessment, workforce survey results identifying a low staff satisfaction score, new leadership and concerning feedback from family members.  A re-start button needs to be pressed to jolt the leadership to the reality that they have ceased valuing their people who do the work.

Where do you start? Re-engaging with the people at work began with this question, ‘What Matters to You?’

Through huddles and regular meetings answers to the above question emerge. They are themed and available for all to see.  Positive persistence is required to push past the disengagement. It becomes clear that recognition for what you do is what matters.

So the next few months are spent exploring these questions.

  • What does recognition mean to you?
  • Does it matter if the recognition comes from who you report to or a colleague?
  • How do you want to be recognized?
  • What actions/ideas do you have to increase recognition in your team?

Whilst exploring your answers to these questions you feel the indifference from your peers and you begin to fade. Conversations are more frequent, and more relevant, laughter is heard, and smiles come easily. Your team is bit by bit rejuvenating – engaging. The people you care for respond in a welcoming way.

These actions spread to the other floors in the care home and naturally include the leadership. To strengthen the value of recognition, a monthly digital newsletter, called “Good News” is implemented.  Its purpose: to celebrate and recognize team members based on the following interview questions: ‘Tell a story about a time in the last month when you worked on a challenge with others or alone and you are proud of what you accomplished. What is the story and what made the success possible?”

This is an invitation for all to stand proud for what they do in the work place. As people experience being valued, they in return bring forth their innovative and fun ideas.

Associate Consultant
MCM Canada

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