Talking Shop

A few weeks ago, we wrote an article about how we aid our staff to communicate better with our service users. Today we carry on this theme but with a focus on how our staff communicate with themselves.

All the evidence we have, suggests the better that staff communicate with each other, the better the care we're able to deliver. And to this end, we have a whole host of protocols and procedures that are designed to facilitate the best possible staff interaction.

Every support worker shift starts with a hand over. This crucial fifteen minutes is a chance for staff finishing a shift, to let staff who are starting their shift, know what's gone on in the last few hours. This gets everyone up to speed with the latest happenings and any issues or queries anyone has, can be fully discussed. When everything is going smoothly, these typically last only a few minutes but there will be occasions when we need much longer. For example when there's been incidents to deal with, or when a new or inexperienced staff member needs more information that would be necessary for more experienced support workers.

Handovers are complimented by our comms books. Each residential home has a staff communication book. This mechanism allows staff to share information in writing, with a signing off system in place to make sure everyone is up-to-date and accountable. It makes fascinating reading too; everything from house maintenance issues to reminders of appointments and birthdays.

One of the most useful forums for staff to communicate with each other, is our regular house staff meetings. At least twice a year, we get every member of staff for that particular service to attend a meeting to discuss the house and it's service users. These are brilliant! By bringing everyone together for a focused session, we can review what we're doing well, what needs improving and anything else that will improve the well-being of our service users and staff alike. All conducted in good humour, with plenty of tea and biscuits, they are always hugely useful.

Finally, staff have both formal and informal one-to-one meetings with management. These come in various flavours; appraisals, supervisions, performance reviews or just a chat over coffee. The formal ones are always documented and conducted in private. Our senior management have a track record of making sure these are conducted fairly and with the highest respect. The result? A better functioning company with happier staff.

Who ever said talking shops were a waste of time, clearly needs to come and look at what we do.

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