Values can be heard to define because fundamentally they need to be felt.
Strong organisational values are a set of beliefs that ideally are shared across the entire organisation and felt by those supported by the organisations.
Values should be both a reality and an ambition, otherwise a value statement might feel empty. Values might ring hollow when there are stated but you cannot see them in actions and behaviour or when there is inconsistency.
Values should be loud and clear and felt sincerely – when they are, they have wide ranging benefits. They can attract the right people and help in recruitment; they provide the consistency that improves retention and they can help with decision making.
Most importantly though, they can make a difference for young people.
Values can be used as a shorthand for policies and procedures. With strong values, a quick decision can be made without referring to the complex service manual. Supporting young people means making lots of small decisions every day. Having the values ‘person-centred’ and ‘trust’ can change how those decisions are created, do you see the individual before you see a risk? Do you assess each situation uniquely or do you have blanket rules that each person has to follow? Are you allowing yourself to be flexible to meet the needs of young people?
Fundamentally, having a strong relationship-based culture within organisation is creating trust among team members and the space in which relationships can flourish.
One of the most important parts of having organisational values is making sure they are known. Being transparent about the values means that you and the organisation can be held accountable for them.
You might not have a values statement, but quite often the values are still implicitly defined. To evaluate and improve your values, mission, and vision, you could follow these steps:
The Real Advisory Group suggests the following values to be included: Example of relational values.
Relationships are an important part of everyone’s life. For example, everything we learn as children depends on others teaching us. But did you know that good relationships also have an influence on our physical and mental health (Griffith, 2017)? Relationship-based practice combines what we know about childhood development, trauma, resilience, and relationships to promote the best for children and adolescents.
Early life experiences shape our mind and body in ways that we are understanding more and more, especially when these experiences are traumatic. Trauma-informed practice takes this knowledge and creates a holistic framework for practitioners and organisations to create healing and safe spaces and ways of working.
First introductions matter. It matters when, how and where they happen. Many young people speak about transitions are often the most difficult times. In this Guide we explore how transitions can be done from the lens of relational practice.
What do IT systems and relationships have in common? Both usually run in the background and are easily taken for granted. Perhaps surprisingly, IT systems can have a big influence on the quality of relationships and relational practice in general.
When you know your goal you do whatever you need to do to reach it. But what if you defined the goal in the wrong way? In this Guide we explore how the goal affects your actions and how you can make sure that you are measuring your success in the right way. Are you meeting an outcome or are you filling a need?
One of the first things you learn when you start your job is when you need to arrive and when you need to leave. Have you ever considered that the pattern of your work affects the relationships you are building?
It is important to keep learning and growing. Recognise your staff’s value and expertise by developing internal training and discussion sessions. Enable staff to learn and train more. Training should not be a tick-box exercise but a place for growth and reflection.
As is often said, hurt people hurt people – it is even more important to consider the flipside: supported people support people. Working with young people and caring for them can be a demanding role, especially in under-resourced and stressful environments. A truly relational organisation also invests in the relationships between managers and staff, creating a positive environment for everyone.
Relationships do not just depend on one person, but rather on a network of people and the culture of an organisation. Sometimes one person who simple ‘doesn’t get it’ can put barriers in the way for an entire team to become less relational. So, it’s easy to see why recruiting the right people is so important to create and maintain a relational organisation.
All relationships take time and effort to build and develop relationships with young people with care experience is no exception, perhaps being even more difficult due to their backgrounds however with the right understanding and approach you could develop a strong and positive connection which will benefit both you and your young person.
Relationships are essential to all parts of life and encompass both our professional and personal lives. They are a vital part of the support networks for our young people and the stronger the relationship the better we can all do our jobs, perhaps making them feel less like a job and more like a vocation. And perhaps more importantly, the stronger the relationship the more important a young person might feel.