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The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report into standards at doctor’s surgeries has hit the headlines with lurid reports about maggots and unsanitary conditions. But delve behind the headlines and a different picture starts to emerge. Of the 910 surgeries inspected, 80% were specially targeted as the CQC had existing concerns. So although a third of the surgeries inspected were seen to have failings, given that the surgeries surveyed were already on a watch list it is perhaps surprising that more did not fail the checks and we certainly can’t use the findings of this survey to extrapolate any results across GP surgeries in general.
Admittedly, we all like to think that standards of care are high in every healthcare establishment and practices which could lead to ineffective treatments should not be ignored. Yet how many of us, inside or outside the health service could say hand on heart that our premises are spotless and that every procedure and process runs without a hitch?
Yes undoubtedly there is a world of difference between putting lives at risk and running a sloppy office, but the causes are often the same; a poor culture and disengaged employees. Take a walk through your office and what do you see. Spotless clean surfaces and tidy desks; or overflowing bins, a dropped crisp packet and dirty cups in the kitchen? Why didn’t anyone pick up that empty packet, is it ‘someone else’s job’; did they even see it on the floor or are they so bound up in themselves that they don’t notice what is around them?
Whatever the reason what does that crisp packet say about the culture of the organisation? A silo mentality, disengaged employees not caring about each other or their surroundings, a lack of teamwork and of care? If so then it is time to act. Happily, this is a special time of year and one in which even the gloomiest of workplaces may be lifted above the norm. Putting aside the love/hate relationship which many have with office parties, the act of decorating the office, exchanging cards or secret Santa presents, wishing each other happy Christmas, all tend to lift the mood in the office and bring employees together for a short while.
But with a strong company culture which seeks to engage employees in the organisation, the mood in the business can have a touch of Christmas magic throughout the year. Engaged employees talk, they share, they seek to work with each other for the good of the business and its customers. A culture which values its workers is a culture which is rewarded by reduced absenteeism, greater productivity, a reduction in wastage and strong customer relations. A good organisational culture is more likely to result in positive publicity, an easier path to fundraising and, particularly with an innovation culture, a business which stands head and shoulders above the opposition.
This year as you decorate the Christmas tree or stop by to exchange festive greetings with your employees take a look around. And if you don’t like what you see then make cultural reorganisation allied to re-engagement of employees your New Year resolution. Who knows where it may take you in 2014.