The COVID-19 pandemic has focussed the attention of the country onto the care sector once again and brought with it a number of challenges for registered managers, not least of which is managing the pace at which change needs to be managed. All of the forums for social care sector are full with posts from social care professionals who are either excited, challenged or exhausted by the constant need to change and adapt which has been a constant for these past two years.

Change appears to be the one constant in social care.

Taking the lead in change management is a challenge for anyone, even the most experienced of managers.  This challenge is multiplied many fold by the additional burdens of the pandemic.  Any manager who thinks that the period of rapid change in social care is over, is mistaken as there are a number of new challenges now either well in sight or coming over the horizon.

The return to normal visiting Changes to CQC inspections The push to go digital Changes to DOLs The desire of more elderly to stay at home Changing expectation of the sector Some challenges facing the care sector

Before leading any change, the registered manager needs to understand a few simple rules which will make their task easier.  Failing to understand the rules of change management will mean that any change will ultimately either take more time than it need, not work smoothly or quite simply fail.  Here are our top tips for what you need to consider about leading your staff team through a period of change.

– Understand what it is you want to achieve and ensure the staff group understand this, in management speak, share the vision

– When sharing the vision, ensure staff understand what’s in it for them and for the service users

– Communicate, communicate, communicate

– Identify who in the staff team influences the other staff and get them on side; identify you influencers and make allies of them.

– Remember things change, people make transitions.  People will respond emotionally to the change and need to be supported to make sense of what is happening and how they feel about it.

– The only way to overcome an emotional response to change is to have a stronger emotional response, be passionate, be bold, be brave.

– Very few changes go smoothly, so be prepared to take responsibility for little failures on the way, don’t blame the team

CAREis have seen many companies succeed in introducing electronic, digital, care planning into their services because the enthusiasm of the manager is infectious.  Managers who have a clear vision of what they want to achieve reap the benefits of going digital if they follow the simple rules identified here, especially, and did we mention, the need to communicate, communicate, communicate?