How can an organization introduce new or revised quality assurance (QA) standards?

Your staff team likely has many strengths, but can’t be blamed for some amount of resistance or skepticism when the leadership is launching or (re)launching QA standards. We’ve dug into practices we’ve had the opportunity to observe as well as the research on this topic. Here are 5 Step to support the success of the launch.

Let’s look at the recommended 5 Steps, emphasizing our Anchoring Success Weekly 2 Tips…

Start with These 5 Steps

TIP #1: Launch with human beings in mind.

1.) Start by framing the new standards as coming into compliance or alignment with best practices. Give an example of those standards at work in a different organization or a national association. For example, check-out this example of how Michigan Department of Community Health defined its standards for person-centered services (refer to page 21). Also, the National Assoc. of Social Workers lists its indicators for quality services which are also common for community organizations doing case management programming.

2.) Implement or continue using your “Thank You” strategies to respond to your staff team’s work. For example, implement a regular annual activity for Staff Appreciation Day, your organization’s birthday, and so on (Visit our Pinterest page for examples on how to thank your staff team or volunteer teams).

3.) Ensure that all language in written documents and speaking about the new QA standards is positive and empowering, using words like coaching and support rather than supervisory and oversight meetings. Try not to trigger your staff team with their potentially poor experiences with initiatives in the past.

TIP #2: Launch with assessing the effectiveness of the launch in mind.

4.) Ask for feedback from your staff team on their experiences with the (re)launched QA standards. Check-in informally and with any other survey approach your organization already has established for anonymous staff feedback.

5.) As soon as there are results from different QA measurements, share them with staff in a “meaning-making meeting.” Ask staff to give their analysis of the results, celebrating the strengths and drafting actions plans for everything else.

QA Practices That May be Relevant

QA practices that your organization may be (re)launching could include the following:

  • Establish monthly staff-supervisor meetings/check-ins
  • Increase frequency of reviews of staff members’ time spent with clients
  • Start semi-annual performance appraisals (rather than annual)
  • Establish new timelines for document and/or action completion
  • Establish a new schedule for auditing client files
  • Revise job descriptions with explicit QA standards embedded in them
  • Updates to QA policy documents
  • For more possible QA practices, check out this short article by Kishu Manghani which reflects QA in clinical programming.

Ultimately, maintaining a healthy organizational culture includes harmony between QA and the staff climate. Anything that you can do to ensure that the staff team receives the launch as empowering will support a positive staff climate and secure the success of the QA standards.

For Further Reading

We highly recommend The Challenge of Organizational Culture in Quality Assurance Implementation by Michael J. Millington and Jared C. Schultz (2009). This article is highly academic, but the authors’ recommendations can help organizations to support the wellbeing of their staff team while moving forward to implement successful QA.