I was speaking to my mum on the telephone and she said “Laura, did you see the programme about how funeral staff behave and how they disrespected the dead?” I said “No mum, as I don’t have the time to watch a lot of television.” She then went on to say “You can watch on your computer thing.”
So, on my computer thing, I did watch the said programme. ‘Exposure-The British Way of Death’ http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/video/?Filter=325738
Oh, MY goodness! It got me thinking about a subject that I embed into my work around organisational behaviour within organisations and how the culture of organisations from the top to the bottom should be one that mirrors the organisation’s values.
The question is, within large organisations, how does the chief executive and the senior management team check that these values are in place and that the organisation’s standards are practiced by staff?
Clearly, these funeral staff felt over worked, understaffed; they questioned the quality of the equipment and did not feel valued by their employers and the culture was one where respecting the customers meant nothing to them. Organisation values should include how staff are valued. If staff do not feel valued they will not, in turn, be able to value their customers.
We only have to look at the Plymouth Review which obviously had issues around organisational culture and the impact and outcome that this had in practice around child protection/safeguarding children.
The culture within any organisation is therefore imperative and can either enhance quality and standards or, in the worst case scenario, the organisation becomes known for providing poor quality and poor standards. In other words profit before customers.
For as long as I can remember I have shopped at a well-known high street shop. Let us call this store ‘sometimes oversold!’ For the first time I had to question in one shopping trip, two incidents of poor customer care. Of course, I brought this to the attention of the manager and I pointed out that this was the first time that I felt that staff did not mirror their excellent customer care and a gentle reminder to the staff concerned was needed.
My consultancy work ranges from acting as an expert witness to trouble shooting within settings. Often , when I begin to unravel the layers of issues, the main factor is that negative culture has had a part to play. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing settings out there and the ones where there are issues are in the minority.
So, how do we create a positive culture within our workplace? I say, as a starting point, we need have a set of firm values, vision and mission and staff must have clarity around these in order to deliver excellence practice.
My definition of what needs to be included within your values, vision and mission:
What do we attach importance to?
- Each other as a staff team
What is our task or goal?
- Children reach their full potential
- Provide high quality childcare
- Parents as equal partners
- Qualified and experienced staff team
What is the future?
- Where are we going as a staff team?
- How do we make continuous improvement?
- How do we see our relationship with children, families and the local community?
Only when we have transparency around what the organisations stands for, can we then influence how staff behave. Thereby, making a difference to how staff behave towards customers, or in the early years sector – children and families.
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