Case Study: The Lifeways Group (2015)
Lifeways is one of the UK’s leading providers of support services for people with diverse and often complex needs in community settings.
The Lifeways Group has grown both organically and strategically to become the leading provider of support services for people with diverse and complex needs across the UK. With an established and growing national network of offices throughout England, Scotland and Wales, the group provides a number of services including:
- Lifeways Community Care
- Lifeways Independent Living Alliance (ILA)
- Lifeways Community Care Inverness
- Lifeways Raglin
- Lifeways Paragon
- Lifeways Inclusive Lifestyles
- Lifeways Natural Networks
- Lifeways Orchard Care
- Haven Care & Support
- Lifeways SSP Care Services
- Lifeways Signposts
- Lifeways Support Options
- Lifeways ISS
- Lifeways SIL
- Future Home Care
- Care Solutions Group
- Autism Care UK
- Living Ambition
One of Lifeways’ key services became aware of Pulse UK in 2014 through speaking to others who’d had dealings with Pulse and were giving glowing reports. Pulse UK was subsequently invited to help support improvements in areas where this had proven particularly difficult to achieve.
While this particular service enjoyed a high reputation, it was also struggling to make the improvements needed to take it to the next level. It had an ambitious growth strategy but needed to improve consistency and to be confident that its organisational culture was sufficiently robust to withstand the planned growth. In short, the senior management felt that it was too reliant on too few people and needed a number of things, including;
- a way of defining culture and strategy so it was understood and brought into by all of its staff,
- a way of measuring culture to see how it was being affected by growth and change
- to be able to look at things differently and not become set in its ways
The Culture Pulse
A values based approach is integral to how Lifeways delivers it services. Pulse worked with this particular service to give meaningful expression to its values through a set of Signature Behaviours that were simple to recognise and easily actionable by all staff.
Pulse provided the methodology to both capture and report the positive demonstration of the organisation’s Signature Behaviours, which were aligned to its strategic objectives. The measurement of the Signature Behaviours provided a much clearer view of organisational performance and crucially, of progress against strategic objectives. The more staff positively demonstrated the Signature Behaviours, the more their behaviour aligned to the needs of the service user, and ultimately the organisation’s objectives. The result was a real connection between “the way we do things around here”, and realising the organisation’s values and achieving its strategy.
Overarching this approach, Pulse worked with the senior managers to develop each person’s capability to lead the organisation wisely. Through Wise Leadership framework, the team developed an understanding of the negative impact of decisions when they were made in their own self-interest.
John Bacon, Operations Director of Lifeways recounts “After 12 months of formally beginning the transformation process, to say the Transformation Pulse has had a positive impact on the way we work would be an understatement. The plans we have for the remainder of this year are incredibly exciting, and it feels like we could be breaking new ground with the program in the future“.
Following the Lifeway Pulse partnership, and changing the way staff behave by focusing attention of key strategic Signature Behaviours, Lifeways has been able to improve compliance and a range of other key areas including:
- Continued trend of reduction in incidents caused by non-compliance
- Reduction in sickness
- Reduction in finance and medication errors
- Greater cost consciousness within the team leading to savings
- A new reward scheme based on the Signature Behaviours, (an average of more than 3 peer nominations per staff member per month is now achieved)
- Interest from our service users, causing us to begin designing a programme for them which could have clinical benefits
- Greater communication and collaboration across teams who previously worked in silos
- An upskilled management team better equipped to deal with issues and support and manage their teams
- Excellent engagement from new and prospective staff who see and feel a culture they wish to be a part of
- A greater sense of ownership and accountability across the business as a whole.
The Culture Pulse Program changed the language used in the business, up-skilled the leadership team, and has provided a useful contextual framework for new projects, dealing with problems and having ‘difficult’ conversations, and in moving forward on some of the more ‘sticky’ issues affecting the business.
The Pulse approach increased self-awareness, and changed the thinking of senior leaders towards decisions that support collective achievement and benefit the whole organisation. Across the life of the Pulse program, Lifeways developed both staff resilience and the organisational capability to manage future growth challenges.