published on
June 27, 2023

How to build a strong staff learning culture at your care home

posted on
Care organisations
How to build a strong staff learning culture at your care home

As a responsible care home manager, it’s important to make staff training a priority. The right training can also improve continuity and quality of care at your organisation, and improve your home's reputation.

Here, you’ll find out how to put learning and development at the heart of the staff culture at your care home.

Why building a learning culture is important 

When your employees learn new skills, it not only improves their wellbeing, happiness and job satisfaction, but also helps create a stronger and more engaged team as a whole.

Team members who have a learning mindset are:

  • Engaged with their work.
  • Motivated to build their careers in care.
  • More likely to keep working at your care home.

Building a learning culture is a proactive and positive way to retain employees, tackling the effects of our current crisis of staff shortages.

Learning helps improve your CQC rating

We can see the positive effects of learning when we look at studies like MiCareHQ, conducted by the National Institute for Health and Care Research. Researchers found that the more staff were paid and the more training they received in dementia and person-centred care, the better the home’s Care Quality Commission CQC rating

On the other hand, homes that were short-staffed or struggled to keep staff had lower CQC ratings.

Emily Lam, a member of the public involved in Care Quality Commission inspections of care homes says: 

“It is crucial that there is strong, committed and stable senior leadership. […] There needs to be a valued, well-supported workforce who are appropriately and fairly rewarded. They need ongoing training and professional development to assure their competency and employability. The care home manager should assess staffing needs periodically because a valued workforce is more likely to deliver better care to residents.”

A happy team with ongoing professional development goals provide better care and improve patient and resident outcomes. 

It’s important to remember that all of these factors contribute to a positive CQC inspection rating, particularly in the vision and strategy and staff skills and knowledge key lines of enquiry (KLOEs). 

So, as well as being beneficial to your staff’s satisfaction and career development, a strong learning culture is also crucial to the success of your home.

What happens if you don’t create a learning culture?

If there isn’t a learning culture at your care home, you’ll see a lack of employee motivation and job satisfaction, plus significant impacts to the quality of care you can deliver. 

Without the right ongoing training, healthcare professionals soon fall behind and don’t use the latest practices in their day-to-day working lives. That can lead to care falling below acceptable standards, which can be dangerous for service users and other staff members.

A lack of training opportunities can also harm talent retention. Professionals who don’t receive ongoing training find it much harder to progress, both professionally and personally. The result? They look for employment somewhere else to further their careers.

Care home staff learning together

How to establish a culture of learning and development at your home

If you don’t currently have a learning culture at your care home, it can be hard to know how to create one. These three tips can help you build enthusiasm for training in your team.

1. Formally support your team’s development

First, create formal frameworks and documents to help support development for every staff member.

Training should begin as soon as new employees join your team – and it’s best to begin with a robust induction programme. An induction programme can help newer team members understand their roles and responsibilities, integrate into your organisation and culture, and understand how they can progress. 

Each staff member should be given a training plan to help them work towards professional development goals and your organisation’s objectives. It’s important to tell new employees about your care home’s values so they can work together properly in a team.

Setting SMART goals for your team can make development easier to measure. SMART goals are:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Achievable.
  • Realistic.
  • Timely.

You can read more about SMART goals and get tips on how to create them here

Download our template for supervisory conversations here.
Download our
staff competency framework template here.

2. Meet and communicate regularly 

As a care home manager, it’s your responsibility to make sure all your employees feel supported throughout training. It’s important to plan regular meetings between staff and line managers to talk through progress, training plans, performance and feedback. 

Your line managers also need training to ensure they can help the care professionals they supervise meet their career progression goals.

See more here on how to keep staff happy at your care home.

2. Informally support your team’s development

Informal encouragement to learn is just as important as formal support for training and development. Here are some ways to boost your team’s confidence in learning.

Provide mentorship 

There are lots of ways you can provide mentorship. Buddying-up more experienced team members with new starts can help people settle in, for example. Similarly, pairing team members who want to learn specific skills or roles with experienced healthcare professionals can help them advance more quickly.

Mentors can share information about their own career paths, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support and role modelling. They can also help mentees set goals, identify resources and explore possible future career paths.

Encourage and celebrate knowledge-sharing

Include knowledge-sharing time as an agenda item in any regular team meetings you run. This helps employees encounter different perspectives and reflect on past scenarios and what they can learn from them. 

Use this time to ask questions and encourage employees to contribute ideas. It’s also vital to welcome – and act upon – feedback from both new and longtime members of your team. 

Finally, take time to recognise team members’ achievements in front of their peers. 

Create incentives to learn

Adding small, fun incentives to the learning process can also help encourage learning. After all, who doesn’t like a little something extra?

Rewards might include vouchers for a local coffee shop or an extra break during a shift in exchange for development goals being met. 

Hire curious people 

It’s far easier to build a culture of learning with a self-motivated team on your side.

With that in mind, hire people who are naturally curious about caregiving. You won’t have to encourage the willingness to learn because it’ll be there already. 

During the recruitment and interview process, look for people who:

  • Ask thoughtful questions about the role and sound interested in your answers. 
  • Can tell you what excites or interests them about the role.
  • Share times in the past where they’ve learned something new in a role.
  • Have interests or hobbies outside work. Curious people tend to keep learning in their free time, too. 

Support learning and development the easy way

Keep track of staff training and meet compliance regulations easily with Florence Academy – the world-class e-learning destination built especially for care homes. 

Florence Academy offers 75+ online courses that meet all CQC, CI or CIW regulatory training requirements, including a digital Care Certificate to replace workbooks, from as little as £2 per user per month.

Florence Academy motivates your team to keep learning with:

  • A personalised ‘My Learning’ area to keep track of courses taken and training achievements reached.
  • Save-as-you-go courses for self-paced learning from laptop or mobile, any time.
  • Bite-size course chapters supplemented with videos and quizzes to self-test, created by subject matter experts.

Care home managers are given a suite of tools to help keep track of staff learning, including:

  • A training matrix using a traffic light colour system showing each staff member’s training progression in real time, so you can track out-of-date training easily.
  • The ability to pull reports on training compliance that meet CQC, CI and CIW regulations.
  • Training assigned to staff at the tap of a button.
  • Automatic email reminders to staff that keep training on track and in-date.

You can also add your own custom Florence Academy training to suit your organisation’s unique needs. Book a free, no-obligation demo to find out more...

Book a demo with Florence Academy

Find out more about Florence Academy here.

You might also be interested in:

Keep reading