Bringing everyone together to refocus on the aims of the company and to thank the staff were the key objectives of our first company conference held on 14 & 15 November.
“Following all the disruption of the pandemic and a recent restructure of the senior management team, we felt the time was right to bring everyone together, so we hosted our first company conference,” explains Laura Richardson-Cheater, Director.
“We wanted to formally recognise all the hard work that the whole team does, 24 hours a day, every day, to support the service users in our care. We have always understood that to deliver great care, we need great people who feel valued in their roles,” continues Laura.
Still proud to be an independent family business, Richardson Care has grown from one home in 1989 to six homes today, and employs almost 200 people.
All employees and bank staff were invited to attend the conference, so this included activity support workers, the maintenance team, cleaners, cooks, admin staff and managers.
Proactive in valuing and retaining employees
Laura continues: “It’s very apt that Prof Martin Green, chief executive of Care England recently emphasised the need to make care a more attractive career option. We have a high staff retention rate due to the training and career opportunities that we provide. This is in addition to the pay and benefits offered and the positive working environment.”
“Prof Green said that with a recruitment crisis in social care, change needs to come from within the sector itself. Richardson Care is a prime example of an organisation that is proactive in valuing and retaining its employees. At the conference we recognised 11 members of staff who have worked with us for 10 years, and three who have reached their 20-year milestones this year. We’re proud of our staff and appreciate the work that they do.”
The conference took place over two consecutive mornings, with half of the staff attending on each day to ensure that adequate staffing levels were maintained in the homes. The day started with an up-beat ‘ice breaker’ to get everyone feeling relaxed. This was delivered by Darren Kendall, who has worked as an activity support worker at Richardson Care for 17 years, and also runs D&P Music, providing music enrichment sessions for service users in the homes. Laura adds: “By the end of the 15-minute session, almost everyone was on their feet, and singing ‘Sweet Caroline’. It was a brilliant start to a really good conference.”
The main business of the day followed with Laura explaining how the company was formed by her parents, and her experience of growing up and sharing her home people who had learning disabilities and complex needs. She said how the core values of social inclusion, community participation, dignity, respect and supporting service users to fulfil their potential remain as true today as they were when the company was formed.
Greg Richardson-Cheater, Business Director, then explained the care pathways that Richardson Care offers and how the six specialist services fit into the bigger picture of care provision.
Dr Pedro Grilo, Clinical Head, followed with an emphasis on person-centred care and the role of the multi-disciplinary team, saying how Richardson Care is distinct from other care providers in its level of provision of specialist neurological therapies.
Focus on quality of care
Head of Care, Silvia Silva, then focussed on the quality of care that is delivered to each individual, and how each member of staff can make a difference. The conference was also part of promoting the wider company culture that embraces open communication and sharing ideas to find ways to constantly improve the quality of life of the service users.
Silvia also explained the roll-out of a new digital care planning system across the organisation, which will make record-keeping easier and more efficient, reducing the time spent on paperwork.
The presentations concluded with Marketing Manager, Clare Butterfield, announcing the recent successes in the NR Times awards and sharing positive feedback from the service users’ families about the quality of care of their loved ones.
There then followed an open forum where staff were invited to ask questions of the managers and directors about any aspect of their working environment.
Laura concluded: “The conference was organised and managed by our staff in addition to their normal roles and they did a great job. We had a lot of positive feedback from the staff who attended – they felt really positive and uplifted, and were simply buzzing when they went back to work!”