There are many challenges facing the care and support sector, including increasing demand, significantly reduced budgets, expectations of adults and carers, implementation of new legislation, regulations and standards.

Key to operating successfully in challenging times is developing a workforce which is engaged, motivated and productive and has job satisfaction. Front line staff have direct experience of key issues and therefore often can suggest workable solutions to identified areas requiring development. There are four key elements to achieving such goals:

  • a senior management team with vision, and who sincerely value contributions from staff;
  • line managers who empower and listen to staff organisational values and principles which genuinely underpin front line work, leading to a sense of trust and integrity;
  • employees who are able to openly discuss their views and concerns, without fear of retribution.

Staff engagement may involve creating and maintaining a cultural shift in the way organisations behave.

Staff involvement and participation is one of the key features of successful organisational change 9in conjunction with:

  • effective leadership that supports and enables change;
  • stakeholder involvement and partnerships;
  • recognising and supporting diversity;
  • enhancing workforce skills and development;
  • working with resistance and undertaking evaluations that promote value.

In relation to employee involvement and participation, it is vital that employees are entrusted to take forward improvements in the delivery of the service. Where staff are involved in the planning stages of organisational change, they are more likely to support and feel part of the improvement process.

It is key, therefore, that staff are consulted, heard, and considered – including those who may not initially embrace change. This includes:

  • allowing and encouraging individual staff and teams to make some decisions independently;
  • encouraging staff to discuss, question and design improvement activities, which is actively responded to and acted upon by senior management and not just a tokenistic exercise;
  • use and incorporate any staff resistance to make improvements and find solutions;
  • use different types of consultation and involvement to see what works best for service staff;
  • feedback to staff the results of consultation exercises or decisions made on the basis of their input;
  • encourage teamwork and ensure consultation groups are comprised of diverse group members;
  • offer encouragement, praise and rewards to staff;
  • include all staff in participation efforts;
  • ensure staff have sufficient time away from their daily responsibilities to become involved in participation and developmental activities.