What makes Vibrance special to our staff?

Vibrance is very special to me and in my many conversations with staff across our services I am told that Vibrance is very special to them too. Not only do staff tell me this but I see it in their commitment when they, despite budgets having remained static at the same time as our service users’ needs have increased, continue to provide the same – or often more – support with the same resources.

However, the danger for me as CEO is that I’m so close to some of these issues that it’s possible I might take too ‘rosy’ a view.

It’s important, therefore, that we get the objective input and views of those working at the “coalface,” which is why we regularly conduct staff surveys. I was keen to see if my anecdotal impression about Vibrance being special was borne out in the survey responses.

We talk a lot at Vibrance about living our values – laying out clearly what our values mean and what our staff do practically to deliver them. I hope it results in us being open, honest and fair in all we do. I want this to be more than simple platitudes, so I was particularly keen to see if the approaches that we actively seek to live out, especially from managers, are resonating, in particular:

  • Showing understanding and supportive management and leadership
  • Having a Senior Management Team who are accessible and visible with a view to building trust
  • Making sure staff understand the positive impact of the work they do and feel they are treated fairly and are well trained
  • Living our values in the way we behave with and for our service users

On leadership, 76% of staff said they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” their manager, the Senior Management Team and Trustees all provide good leadership for the organisation. This is four per cent up on the previous staff survey.

With regards to line management, 87% of staff said that they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that their manager listens and values their opinion, treats them fairly, and respects them and supports them with regards their physical and mental health. This is eight per cent up on the previous staff survey.

An average of 80% of staff felt they understood the impact their work had within Vibrance, felt supported and respected within their team, were well trained and were treated fairly by Vibrance. This is also an increase of eight per cent on the previous staff survey.

In the social care sector, we know that there are around 90,000 vacancies and that staff turnover averages 28%. In Vibrance, we enjoy a much lower turnover rate and have relatively few vacancies. We know too, through benchmarking, that our salaries are only a little above the average.

In short, therefore, it seems that we have managed to make Vibrance stand out in a difficult sector by honestly and consistently trying to live our values, being open and honest with staff (even when the message is a difficult one) and trying to be fair in all we do.

I also see, from comparisons with previous surveys, that these are traits that need to be demonstrated consistently over a period of time to have the impact we are striving for.

In a few weeks’ time we will have the results of our latest service user survey which, for the first time, has been fully overseen by SeaChange, an independent advocacy organisation, so in my next blog I will be able to compare what our service users are telling us we are doing right and where we need to improve.