The challenges facing a business, whether in eldercare or any other field, are seemingly limitless in this day and age. As a result, the means of meeting those challenges ought to be limitless as well.
An increasingly popular method is establishing something known as ownership culture, which inverts traditional top-down management styles and affords autonomous workers the opportunity to identify and solve problems on their own. This has been particularly successful at Siemens, which among other things deals in healthcare technology. That company has been able to pursue various initiatives, like one that solicits employee input into the development of an internal tool designed to familiarize everybody with Siemens’ organizational structure. Another encourages women’s professional development by matching them with coaches upon request.
The point here is that in an age when all hands are needed on deck to deal with various issues, it behooves businesses to be creative, to dig down and find ways to maximize the intellectual capital at their disposal. That is the idea at The Allure Group, too, though we do things a little differently than Siemens. Here, senior management fans out and visits each of the six facilities in our network on a regular basis, so that we might gather input from our staff and residents about their needs and concerns. Moreover, there are resident councils that meet regularly to discuss issues. And finally, we study our competition in the eldercare field, as they might have ideas we can adapt to our own use (a common approach in every industry; witness Walmart’s purchase of the e-commerce company Jet.com in 2016, in an attempt to counter Amazon’s creation of Prime over a decade earlier.)
For a very long time businesses followed a top-down structure established by Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915), an inventor and engineer known for scientific management — i.e., studying work scientifically, in an attempt to establish greater efficiency. While Taylor concluded that management had to work closely with the rank and file in an attempt to wring the greatest production out of each and every one of them, the pendulum has now swung in various fields of endeavor. Now more autonomy has been given to employees, more trust placed in them, which in turn leads to greater job satisfaction and more productivity.
Institut Lean France co-founder Michael Balle, writing for McGraw-Hill’s blog, called such an approach “enlightened” and noted that it places far greater responsibility upon workers as well:
A society of problem-solvers would find both more individual meaning and purpose, and be able to tackle collectively any of the challenges we’ve created for ourselves, mostly from the success of the very global, wasteful, environmentally destructive bureaucracies we’ve created (externalities? What a term!).
Understand that such an approach does not mean workers are toiling on their own, or that they are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Rather, it means they are being pulled into the tent, that they are now being valued more than ever. Their voices are being heard, loud and clear. And considering the various challenges businesses face, it’s not a moment too soon.