Posted: 17 June 2020
Samuel Clements is a director and Nominated Individual for a domiciliary care agency, Salus Care, based in Leicestershire. He began his career at the age of 20 in a care home before completing a degree in dementia studies, and then establishing his agency with a colleague.
Difficult Challenges, pull us through
Within domiciliary care, there are many challenges that providers face from day to day. Being advised by the government on how to use PPE and on getting a supply, was a difficult challenge in itself. The government advised that essential PPE was going to be provided and delivered, we felt somewhat relieved. Although we had some supplies of face masks, we still had to pursue sourcing all other essential PPE from any supplier, at any cost. Supply and demand played a huge part, and admittedly every care provider was in the same boat.
It became clear that the struggle for PPE could risk us not being able to provide the essential care to our clients. We had a strong contingency plan, which was supported by our local authority, and the team was well prepared. It is due to the hard work of our operations team, we managed to maintain a regular supply of PPE, which meant that our team was able to meet the demand and deliver care to our clients.
Recruitment within the care sector is a challenge in itself. Yes, it is a bit of a swear word for most providers, and it is a headache for most. However, we have found that the pandemic has pushed non care sector workers our way enabling us to keep up with the demand for the service. With recruitment on the up, having a strong values-based policy, and our drive to ensure our care workers are valued and supported, I firmly believe that some of these are the key ingredients to a successful care organisation.
Teams - Everyone Achieves More
During this pandemic, the Salus team have all pulled together and put themselves on the line to look after individuals who need support. I have seen the team support each other, by small acts of kindness and have really gone out of their way to ensure that their colleagues and clients are safe.
The company handed out essential packs to the carers, with items such as hand cream, wipes and even snacks. It’s surprising how just a small act of kindness, and showing gratitude really makes the team feel valued and appreciated. We supported carers who had difficulties with child placements as a key worker. No problem, a written letter to the local MP ensured our carers were supported, and could carry on their work as a key worker.
We did essential shopping for clients, for those whose family could not visit their relatives, or lived too far away. We have had excellent feedback from our families to say how grateful they are for the support and care given. This just makes it all the more worthwhile, and we always strive to be better today, than we were yesterday.
Business as usual
I attended the Skills for Care well-led programme early this year. From this I learned a lot to leading high performing teams, but also it was great to be able to share your knowledge, and actually feel that you are not alone as a leader.
As they say, ‘It is tough at the top’, and for registered managers, or Nominated Individuals, it can be a lonely role. For me and my business partner, we have built a team based on values. The formula of values-based recruitment goes a long way to achieving the goals set by your organisation. We have created new posts within the team, are growing and are lucky to be developing branches into other areas.
What is the formula to a winning team?
I believe what has truly worked for us, comes down to values-based recruitment, being thorough when appointing new leaders to entrust them to deliver. The culture of the organisation from the top where it is cascaded down to the team and recognised on every level within the company. Fundamentally great leadership, to enable your service to deliver the highest level of care.
In any aspect of what role you do in a care business, those who are on the front line need to feel valued, supported and lead to deliver outstanding care. Those who lead their teams well, overcome challenges breaking through barriers, and ultimately achieve more. Nothing is more rewarding than the whole team celebrating those wins. Set some goals, visualise that you have already achieved and feel it. Bring your team together, and go and make a footprint of those successes.
I challenge myself, push myself more, and hopefully inspire my team as a leader. Some questions I ask myself in the shoes of a leader. What do we learn from the challenges that we face? What impact does my leadership style have? How can I achieve more and support my team better to overcome challenges? What can you learn from this?
I can say that I am inspired by my team, but let us push on and keep doing great things in the sector. I hope that reading this you will feel somewhat inspired and I have tickled your thoughts.