Your care home, like any business, needs to flow like a river.
It needs to flow smoothly from one cause-and-effect stage to the next and be carried through each stage by the systems and processes you have set up.
I describe this more in The Systems Building Block post.
This flow is essentially your care home running smoothly on a day-to-day basis without the need of your intervention.
In this post, I outline, in no particular order, 7 reasons why your care home will be far better and stronger for being systemised.
1. Get Back Time
Effectively managing our time is one of our biggest challenges.
Efficient systems can give you (and your people) so much of it back.
Systems, broken down into clear processes, can reduce how long tasks take so that more precious time is freed up.
For example, I helped a care home owner’s finance manager get back 4 working days a week each month. This one tool systemised a process that gave her back 20% of her time each month. Over a year that’s around 45 working days over a year or 9 working weeks of work.
Each month she would lock herself away so she wouldn’t be disturbed and she took all the rotas and worked out how much she needed to pay each person not on a fixed salary, which was of course the vast majority.
She had to calculate the shifts they’d worked, if they’d worked bank holidays, extra hours, night-shift, if they’d taken holiday, sickness and absence and so on, for around 200 staff across two homes.
I created electronic-based rotas that calculated all of this automatically. One week’s work became one day of checking and uploading the results to their payroll system.
2. Reduce Mistakes
A system that works well rarely goes wrong. A car engine, our respiratory system, a road network, a region’s climate all work reliably 99% of the time.
We are all made up of systems and surrounded by them. We have daily systems which we call routines, such as when getting ready for work or getting the kids ready for school. These systems are broken down into processes – shower, clean our teeth, get dressed and so on.
These systems and processes almost always work – you don’t forget to clean you teeth and you don’t put your shirt on the wrong way round.
The client I described above with systemising how payroll was carried out also saw a big reduction in mistakes, which previously came from needing to manually carry out the hundreds of calculations.
In care, systems and processes carry even more weight because mistakes can result in harm and upset for the client and a safeguarding incident against your home.
A step-by-step process flow is easier to learn and follow and can dramatically reduce the uncertainty of how to deliver that care.
Product manufacturers have step-by-step processes when assembling a product so that a component isn’t left out and hospital surgeries have processes for ensuring everything is accounted for and nothing, like a swab, is left inside a patient.
Breaking tasks down into step-by-step processes will reduce the number of mistakes and the distress and potential harm that can result.
3. Maintain Required Standards
A system has inputs and expected outputs. If what goes in is the same and the processes that work on those inputs work as they should, then what comes out will be of a consistent standard.
Walk into a fast food restaurant like McDonalds anywhere in the world and order the same burger and it will be the same. It has been prepared in exactly the same way.
We can of course question the nutritional quality of that burger but it is delivered according to a set standard and rarely deviates from it.
That’s what you want for your care home – not crappy burgers – all tasks, whether delivering personal care, medication, meals or taking in a new admission, to meet or a minimum set standard.
Meeting this standard, time and again, day in and day out is only possible if all areas of your home have been broken down into efficient systems and processes.
If you start any business that stands out because of your ability to create something better, then you want that standard of creativity to be maintained by others.
So you show others step-by-step what you want them to do in order to reach the same standard. Whether running a restaurant kitchen, cutting hair, making a suit or delivering care, your way of doing things stands you out and so others must adopt your way, to the letter.
Eventually, you’ll need others to train new people in the same way that you do. Detailing the step-by-step processes to follow will go a long way to achieving that goal and to ensure your people deliver to your standard.
4. Get Creative
Have you noticed that when you’re engrossed in something not a lot else gets in? I get like that when watching a good film – my wife can say something to me but unless she says my name, much of what she says is completely lost to me. (And no, it’s not selective hearing, well not always.)
It’s the same with a task that requires your undivided attention. It’s like your brain has pulled down blinds on everything but the task. You are in that zone, time flies by un-noticed and nothing else gets in.
But if you are doing something that doesn’t require your full attention your mind can drift off and creative thoughts have a chance to form and develop.
You know what you’re doing when you drive your care, you don’t need to think about when to change gear or that a red light means stop. You give the task enough attention and your mind thinks about other things.
When your home is well systemised you and your people have more time to think creatively.
Creative juices start to flow and people start to come up with new and better ways of doing something.
5. Increased Productivity
Working systems and processes increase productivity, whether on the floor or in the office or the kitchen – anywhere in your care home.
A well systemised recruitment and induction process will get a new recruit from interview to delivering care say, more efficiently and effectively.
There will be no missing paperwork, all required checks and references will have been carried out and sourced. There will be no panic to find the right colour and size uniform because someone forgot to order it. The person will be booked into the next induction programme. The rota will include the new recruit and ensure his or her shifts a put her along side a chosen mentor and so on.
A well systemised client admission process will run smoothly with no or mistakes or bottlenecks to ensure that the client is settled in as quickly and sensitively as possible, that the needs of the client is known by all, that the new care plan reflects their needs and so on.
Those working in the office will have efficiently established and new staff file and got that person into their system. The same goes for the new client.
A well systemised business where people know what they need to do and how to do it will increase productivity – more will get done – which leaves room to manage the other aspects and responsibilities of their role and give more.
6. Less Reliant
A systemised business is stronger in so many ways and not least in its independence of the people who work in it.
The more your care home is systemised the less reliant it will be on you and other key people in it because the systems and processes you’ve established will guide people as to what they need to do.
More to the point, your care home and the care it delivers will not suffer because of the absence of loss of a key person.
If you go on well-earned holiday, then the better your home runs, the more your people know what to do, the fewer mistakes will be made and the greater the chance will be that you will enjoy your holiday with few if any calls from work.
If you lose a key person like your deputy manager or care manager then your care home will cope far better with effective systems and processes showing how things need to be done.
A business that does not rely on its owner or any particular person for its success will also be worth more. One day you will want to exit your business – you will want to sell your care home.
If your care home works without you in it then it will be worth far more than if it needs you to make it work.
7. Future Direction
Most businesses struggle because they aren’t built on a solid foundation.
This foundation comprises 3 vital, what I call, building blocks and includes the Systems building block (the other 2 blocks being strategy and leadership).
If you spend all your time reacting to the demands of others and on sorting out problems then you cannot grow your business in any major strategic way.
Systemise your care home well and much of this reactive effort will disappear. You will be able to step away from your business and have time to think strategically about where you want to take it and how to get there.
Do you want more homes, do you want to take on a different client group, do you want to extend your premises, do you want a core management team that can work across a number of homes and manage them for you?
You cannot think about the future direction of your business if you’re too busy working in it everyday.
That’s just 7 reasons why systemizing your business so that it runs well without you should be one of your top priorities.
I could have listed more like the…
- Confidence and motivation you and any people in your business, will gain from achieving a high standard of work day-in and day-out;
- Being able to better identify your future leaders and managers – the people who implement the processes set out, who think up improvement and new ones, who show others how to follow your processes and who come to you with creative ideas;
- Clarity that comes from being able to step away and create a strategy that will take your business to the next level;
- The ability to finally be the leader your business needs – a leader who is in control, who inspires others and who makes the right strategic decisions and who keeps their ship on course to it;
- And more.
Systemise your business – get it flowing – get these systems and processes working well together and you will see your care home being stronger, more successful and have a momentum and energy like it’s never had before.
Does your care home flow, as it should? If it doesn’t, if it isn’t systemised in the way I’ve described then contact me now – no obligation – just find out how I can help.