The importance of understanding behavior and valuing carers
Ian Clague | Founder & CEO of The Care Connector Network
About this episode
Ian Clague, Founder & CEO of The Care Connector Network, discusses his journey into the care sector, the challenges faced by care providers, and the importance of understanding behavior and valuing carers.
So my name Ian Clague, I am the founder of The Care Connector Network, I'm also a nutrition and catering management consultant and behavioral leadership and performance management consultant as well. My mom was a carer, she retired, just when lockdown started. I was a chef by trade. Then I went and studied nutrition and dietetics at university. And then because of that, I set up a company doing the nutrition and catering management stuff. But I found that people would do what I wanted them to do while I was there, but once i’m away they went back to doing what they were doing. And I thought to myself, no, that's not what we're doing here. We're trying to actually improve the nutrition and catering that's being delivered in the care center. That's how I got into the care sector, was doing that side of things with the nutrition company. And then I was sent over to America and did the behavioral science stuff. So doing behavioral leadership and behavioral performance management. We started to do Zoom calls and have chats on Zoom. And people would come on, tell us what they did. The small businesses suppliers wise, never get seen and heard. And that's because the bigger businesses with the bigger marketing budgets just buy everything. So I decided that I was going to change that within my network. So there is no tiered membership, there is no sponsorship. You get ahead by being better and engaging.
What are the biggest challenges that care providers face today when it comes to care management?
It comes down to leadership because what happened is during the pandemic, everyone, all the managers, took ownership of everything that was going on because they had to. The problem is that they have not delegated it back out again. So they're trying to do everything. So their stress levels are through the roof, that then knocks on to the way that the carers perceive what's going on and they get stressed, they go off sick, they go off sick, the managers get stressed, and that's just the spiral down to the bottom. The gap is understanding behavior and understanding people. So if you're looking at, for example, someone that likes hill walking, then that's what you use to reinforce them, not just ‘thanks’, you use that because that is what makes them tick. That is what they like to do. And it's that bit that people struggle with. At the end of the day, we all do what we do because of what happens to us when we do it.
You also hear the carers side of things and their complaints. What would be their main complaints?
Everyone thinks that wages are at the top of the list. It's not. Being valued is top of the list. So that's why getting to know somebody is important. That's why understanding behavior is important, because if we know what the carers like, we can value them. We can give them that value that they want from us. They're all stressed out. They've all been through it as well, and they just want to be recognized. They want to be given the power to do something that makes you feel valued. By giving people stuff to do, You can take back control of what's going on around you. Right? Because you're not trying to do it all. When you do that, the carers are also then going, ‘I feel valued.’ ‘I feel trusted.’ ‘I feel that people want me to be here,’ ‘ that I'm not just some person that's coming in and doing a 12 hour shift and going home.’
What should care providers do in order to actually get to those carers and make them feel valued on a daily basis?
It's about being there for them, listening to what they've got to say. A lot of the time the people that are actually on the coalface doing the job can see what action needs to get done or can help to improve things within the sector. Make people want to come to work, a lot of people work in care because it's a vocation.
What would be your key piece of advice to new care providers?
Don't skimp on investing on training. If you skimp on that, then they're not going to be able to do it properly. And I pay the money. The returns are massive.