Blog: Taking others on the quality journey with you
Regardless of the service delivery area your organisation operates in, or the size of your organisation, trying to encourage organisational ownership over quality can be a challenge.
In my role supporting services around Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) implementation I come across those from larger organisations with focused quality or compliance roles who feel siloed in their role, finding it hard to get the teams around them to engage in the processes they are using to review quality and prepare for audits. On the other hand, I come across those in small organisations who feel as though quality is an ‘add on’ to their work, and they want to be able to share the load across their small team. So how can it be done?
Janet Davidson McGowan, Health and Human Services Manager at HDAA, joined QCOSS’ Quality Collaboration Network at their October 2021 meeting to discuss two challenging facets of managing quality within an organisation – managing internal policy reviews, and taking others on the quality journey with you.
Regular internal audits are a great way to manage policy and procedure reviews in a way that serves the needs of your organisation, makes sure everyone is on the right track to meet your organisational intents, and provides valuable protection for both your team and your service users. But how do we ensure others are on board with a process that can sometimes seem arduous and unnecessary?
Our first piece of advice here is to make sure it isn’t arduous, and it’s done in a way where the organisation will view it as a helpful process – rather than an ‘add on’ to everything they’re already doing.
Janet shared with us some of the things that get in the way of effective internal audits, including static processes, fear, and results not being communicated.
Your organisation is changing all the time, and so should your processes for evaluating and measuring. Having the same tick boxes or processes year-in and year-out can invite complacency, and discourages the kind of curiosity and conversation that can aid growth and improvement.
Evaluating work and processes should never be used as a stick against those doing the work. If our teams are fearful of examining their work and thinking critically about how things could be improved, that is a red flag for those leading the team. All quality systems should aid the consistency, reliability, and quality of service delivery, and foster a culture of commitment to quality.
When a culture of growth is fostered, examining practice through internal audits can be viewed as a mechanism through which we decrease our own exposure to risk, and contribute to organisational growth. If our teams are resistant to engaging in processes that examine their practice, we might need to take a step back and evaluate the broader culture of quality within our organisation. There are some clear messages we need to give our colleagues – your work matters and contributes to the whole system, and when we identify areas for improvement we respond with curiosity and support
Results not being communicated
If you have ever been involved in a process that took time and effort, and then heard nothing back afterward, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. It reminds me of submitting a significant piece of assessment at university and receiving no comments when the assessment is returned – just about everyone is hanging out for the comments!
If we want our teams to view quality reviews as valuable, rather than arduous, we need to make sure there is something helpful that comes out of it.
This leads to the “why” – and Janet recommended this video to hear Simon Sinek expanding on the law of diffusion of innovation.
Regardless of the size of your organisation, taking others on the quality journey with you is a not always an easy task. When we make our colleagues involvement useful to them, we open the door to far more valuable conversations and reflections, and a wider commitment to improving processes across the organisation.
If you’d like to chat with other professional in the sector working in quality and compliance roles, you might wish to consider joining us at our monthly Quality Collaboration Network meetings. Involvement is free, and we discuss a wide range of quality related topics. Find out more at the QCOSS website.