A 10-year programme to improve communications between care home staff, their managers and support teams has been shortlisted for a top award.
Care UK will go head to head with leading businesses such as Heathrow Airport, Direct Line Group and Waitrose as finalists in the 2016 Engage Awards next month.
The programme has helped deliver rapid growth at Care UK which has more than doubled in size from 54 care homes and 3,500 employees in 2006 to 113 care homes, 10 day clubs and more than 9,000 workers today, with a dozen more homes planned over the next two years.
HR director Leah Queripel (pictured) said: “This rapid growth led to challenges, especially with communicating policies and corporate issues to our teams which are spread across the country from Aberdeen to Bournemouth. Back in 2006, there was almost no opportunity for employees to have an input into decision making; there was limited employee recognition and there was inconsistent practice across the company.
“As a result we faced a higher than necessary turnover of employees and, at times, poor morale and our concern was that this could, in time, affect the service we could deliver to our residents. It was clear employees needed to have a voice and the ability to influence decisions that would affect them and the way they worked.”
Established in 2006, Colleague Voices is a consultation and listening forum, designed to engage colleagues and open effective two-way communication between first-line colleagues, support services and senior management.
Every home at Care UK has a representative who attends regional and national meetings on behalf of their colleagues, bringing feedback, ideas and discussing potential solutions for issues concerning employees.
Leah added: “Our ethos is to be open and transparent about what is achievable. As a result, reps are realistic with their ideas, understanding the need to look at the bigger picture, balancing the needs of colleagues with those of the people they support. What has been achieved by the reps is always visible – we gain the insight, make the changes and provide the feedback.”
During the last two years, a weekly manager’s bulletin has been developed, along with an intranet and a bi-weekly newsletter with direct contributions by the homes.