Naturally when we think of social care we think about the individuals who need care and support in their everyday lives, we are all familiar with person centred approaches to delivering care and working with those who use the services in order to deliver the most appropriate care and support for them.
Unfortunately rarely thought about are those who deliver that service.
The front line workers are the key to delivering quality care and support, the key to ensuring inspection standards are met and the key to a care providers business reputation.
It is, therefore, obviously crucially important that care providers not only have the right staff in place but that those staff have the training and competency to deliver support services yet, in reality, true quality goes one step further.
Many organisations, and this is not restricted to social care, train their staff simply because they have to or because it is seen to be a good thing to do but it is, nevertheless, seen as a chore and an expense that they would sooner do without. This attitude, inevitably, completely transfers itself to the employees both through the management attitude to training and the type of training provider bought in to do the job, which is often the company with the lowest price with little or no thought on their suitability for the particular company or staff team.
The net result is usually a waste of money. Those in the training fail to engage with the subject matter, often more intent on watching the clock rather than absorbing the information being given to them. Managers who book the training invariably fail to follow up the training by talking to those who attended and are happy to do little more than tick a box.
Training is most successful when it becomes learning and in order to do so the process must start from the top.
Developing a learning culture within the organisation is crucially important to success, especially within social care, where, naturally, dealing with many individuals means being able to adapt to different people’s needs, something which is so vital to delivering personalised care. A learning culture means engaging with employees in the training and development process because, as they become more enthusiastic about the learning process, they will continue to engage in learning even without the more formal training sessions.
Before any training sessions owners or managers should engage with their staff team and explain why the training is necessary and how it will help them to improve their work. If people understand why they are doing something and how it will benefit them in the long run they are much more likely to really be interested in the course delivered and be more enthusiastic about the training as they are able to relate it to their own work.
Following any training managers must also talk with staff to discuss the training, its relevance and how any new ideas can be put into practice within the workplace as this cements what has been taught into the mind which, in turn, means greater awareness and greater confidence in people carrying out their roles.
Probably one of the greatest reasons for developing a learning culture is to develop staff to engage in learning, not just in training sessions, but in their work. Knowing about infection control, health and safety etc may lead to better awareness but care workers also need to learn about the people they are working with, by creating a learning culture staff will eagerly seek out new information to improve their work which means they will be able to deliver greater personalised care.
Training is an important gateway to creating a learning culture within an organisation and those organisations that develop a learning culture will, inevitably, succeed both in delivering quality care and raising their business status.
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