15 March 2023
By Mike Nash and Oliver Peppiatt
TEC and Culture Change Experts at PA Consulting
Change can be unsettling, both for those experiencing it first-hand and for those who lead it. It challenges us to think, behave and work differently – and often, old habits die hard.
If transformational change is perceived as something ‘done to’ people, rather than ‘done with’ them, it can leave people feeling disengaged, disorientated, and dispirited. But done well, change unlocks opportunities.
Effective culture change is an important enabler of TEC service transformation; this must go beyond process change and requires a fundamental shift in mindset. Without it, we risk failing to maximise the potential of the service for users, staff, and councils. By adapting our mindsets, behaviours and ways of working, we will achieve more for the people who rely on TEC services to remain safe and independent. This also provides health and care practitioners with a valuable tool to meet people’s needs, enabling council resources to go further.
Culture change isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach; it is influenced by local ambitions and challenges. There are, however, common themes that have proved to be vital in successful TEC service transformation and apply to any culture change.
Capturing hearts and minds is essential
Capturing hearts and minds starts by understanding that culture change is a core part of any transformation and should be planned and delivered from the outset. People need to understand what the change means to them, why it’s required and what support is available. Ultimately, all those involved need to be confident that change is the right thing to do and that they will be enabled to thrive both during and beyond the change.
Demonstrating how an outcomes-led approach to TEC referrals can sustainably meet the needs of service users establishes a clear link to improved demand management and a reduction in practitioner workflow. Supporting these conversations with an evidence base, case studies and a bespoke training offer creates a compelling narrative that change is the right thing to do and that it is entirely possible to deliver.
To achieve this, visible leadership is crucial. Leaders need to set out the direction of travel in a way that is meaningful to colleagues. That should be underpinned by clearly defining the ambition and value of the new approach, highlighting the specific benefits TEC services will bring and how jobs will change. That clarity will help people buy into the vision of the future.
This should be supported by regular engagement across all levels of the organisation; two-way communication and an open, honest approach will help to win hearts and minds. One of the biggest challenges is fear of the unknown and drawing on the experience of others who have already been through the changes can provide reassurance and practical insights.
PA, in partnership with Hampshire County Council (HCC), recently supported the transformation of the TEC service at Leicestershire County Council (LCC). As part of this, we invited social care colleagues from HCC to speak to LCC practitioners about their experience of embedding TEC as a part of the core social care offer. This was a very powerful way of showing how the service had benefitted people in Hampshire on the ground.
Culture change is a team sport
A hallmark of successful culture change is when it becomes the responsibility of everyone and is not just the remit of a select group of individuals. A change programme will naturally involve identifiable leaders who deliver set-piece presentations and scheduled communications. This is an important part of the process but will not in itself bring change. The change is what takes place every day through interactions and behaviour and requires the involvement of everyone who will be delivering TEC services.
The best way to achieve this is through a cohesive change campaign which includes communications, learning and development and system design. The messages must be coherent, targeted and shared across multiple channels to ensure that everyone can access the information they need in a way that is meaningful to them. The messages must prioritise people and what the change means to them, rather than process. It is also vital to give people the opportunity to contribute their ideas and share their thoughts throughout the campaign. This will demonstrate that change is a collective approach and that it will meet the needs of those involved.
Our approach to transformation makes sure key messages are aligned across these areas. These messages are produced jointly with colleagues from leadership, communications, learning and development and the TEC team. These are then shared in a variety of forums and formats. We have found this produces a virtuous cycle where the communications encourage engagement through training, and those who attend are then more likely to continue to proactively engage during and beyond the transformation.
It takes time to make it stick
During the transformation process, it is often easy to be blinkered by a focus on the immediate deadlines and targets – but it is important to keep one eye on the post-transition period. Culture change must continue beyond the transformation period to embed the new ideas, behaviours and ways of working. Unlike other aspects of transformation, activity around culture change should increase, rather than stop, at the transition to the new ‘business as usual’. Without sustained culture change, any transformation of systems, processes and services will struggle to achieve its aims. In 2023, LCC will deliver their first ever annual TEC Week. This will place TEC at the heart of practice conversations, while also showcasing the potential of TEC in the future delivery of care.
During TEC service transformations, PA works closely with those responsible for sustaining the change from the outset. Using PA’s previous experience, alongside the expertise and local knowledge of council colleagues, we codesign the plan, tools and tactics needed to sustain the change after the PA project team disbands. This approach has been proven in LCC, where PA and in-house teams worked jointly to develop communications and training materials. PA also co-delivered the first phase of training so that council colleagues had the chance to become familiar with TEC as a subject area – enabling them to deliver an ongoing programme of engagement and professional development. LCC then used the enthusiasm generated by these conversations to create a strong champions network consisting of 30 staff. These champions act as ambassadors to help embed the service and provide an ongoing mechanism to support culture change.
Organisations that get culture change right from the start and then build enduring change management and stakeholder engagement capabilities will unlock and sustain the benefits of the transformation for users, providers, and councils.
The TSA, in partnership with PA Consulting, will be hosting a TEC Expert session “You must answer these three killer questions to mainstream TEC” on Tuesday 28 March at the ITEC Conference, The ICC, Birmingham.
TEC Expert sessions are specifically tailored to meet the needs of commissioners of TEC services; you will collaborate with peers from other Council’s and learn practical solutions that you will be able to actually apply to your in-house services or your commissioning approach.
Join us at the ITEC Conference to participate in our next TEC Expert Session