The importance of communication and recognition in the care sector

About this episode

Gabriella Wills shares insights from her 25 years of experience in health and social care. She highlights the importance of communication and recognition in the care sector and provides tips for care providers to engage and retain their staff.

Episode Transcript

My name is Gabriella Wills, but people mostly call me Gaby, which is fine.
I have recently, a year ago, retired after 25 years plus in health and social care.
I started as a nurse back in Israel, which is where I'm from. And when I came here at the tender age of 25 I worked a little bit in nursing.
Years later, after having my children
and doing other things, I got into care, first as a manager of a care home,
and when I retired I was Director of Care for a provider of care.

What attracted you into the care sector?

I'm a carer. I look after people whether they want to or not and it can be very annoying for people.
But that's what I like to do.
By chance, I saw a job to be a manager of a care home for refugees from the Holocaust and survivors of the Holocaust. And of course my aunts, my uncles, that's them.
And I got the job, it was people with dementia. With the dementia the old traumas come back, and I had a very good understanding of that.
And from then I just moved from, you know, got into another organization and I've fell in love with it. I've just loved how different every day is, how wonderful the people are, how much there is to do and to achieve.
So I thought, I need to make some noise about this.

I want to focus on the carers component. Six out of ten complaints of carers today are around internal communication.
What do you think about that?

I think communication anywhere and everywhere is key. We need to do a lot more about it and communication I think in my experience, and I worked for a very good provider, good organization who really took a lot of care of their carers, of their staff and still does, but still even there, there needed to be a switch from we, the managers and the director, we tell you and you listen and do to being much more grassroots up.
And I think one of the mistakes is that it's not equal enough and we don't listen enough to what people in the position, carers, nurses, handy people etc. are telling us.
We think we know best in management and we know a lot, but we don't best. But there is also job satisfaction, you want to be recognized as an individual, not like one of an army, a member of staff. You want to know that people know you, who you are and what you do, and that you're recognized for that.
And when I say that, I refer both to management, but a lot of the time to the people receiving care and their network.
A lot of the people will show a good relationship and a good recognition of the care people. But a lot of the time they are not recognized for the job that they do. And then it's the whole how society views care. I feel that those working in the care sector are seen as lesser, as not as good, and it's wrong. And a lot of the time they are talked about as non skilled staff, they're so skilled. They are there dealing with absolutely everything physical, emotional, cognitive, mental with people who are in a very difficult position and they are there to support that. Now, imagine how much that takes from somebody. I think they deserve so much applaud and recognition because most of the time they do an amazing job.

I want to ask if you can deliver a message to care providers franchise out there in regards to how they should make sure that their carers are engaged, well-treated, well-led and also get the communication and aid that they need on a daily basis in order to succeed and to retain them better and to ensure them that they're coming for a place, that they have a career path and not just a random job.

Your staff are not just workers, they are people. They are your absolute greatest resource. Invest in them. Let them know how important they are. Look after the whole wellbeing and the rewards will be enormous.

Your personal tip or piece of advice for a new franchise owner for social care a new agency, care providers that you can give from your perspective.

Management is 80% processes. You have to know how to do and procedures and all that.
Leadership, I would say is 80% relationships. Develop relationships with all your staff, be visible, get to know them. How is the family? How are you doing? What can we do for you?
Try and remember people and make them see that again, you value them as an individual person. For me, it always worked.