Celebrate Opinion

Making care our business: supporting our teams to thrive

Alice Cerill, Business Director , Bluebird Care Wandsworth, Clapham & Streatham

Alice Cerill, Business Director , Bluebird Care Wandsworth, Clapham & Streatham

Our business model at Bluebird Care Wandsworth, Clapham & Streatham is underpinned by a core belief that exceptional customer service is only possible through a frontline care team who are properly appreciated and rewarded for their brilliant work.  They are the ones that provide face to face compassion, support and joy to our customers, every day.

In the same way that we support our customers to flourish in all areas of their life, we believe that our colleagues deserve holistic support to thrive and grow at work.  As such, our mission to act as a trusted member of the family to those in our care also applies to the family of care professionals who make up our fantastic Care Team.

Whether our colleagues need help applying for a passport, dealing with a personal or family crisis, facing eviction or starting a new home, we are proud to be their first line of support.  On a day-to-day basis, appreciation is demonstrated by the little things that count too.  We enjoy treating our team to all manner of things including long-service lunches and awards, birthday cards and tokens of appreciation sent to their homes, ice creams on warm days, and team activities to foster a culture of fun and community responsibility.

Often joining us from marginalised backgrounds and having experienced numerous setbacks in their life journeys, many of our Care Team have limiting beliefs in their full potential.  We see it as our role to encourage them to deliver their best for our customers by helping them to realise what they are capable of.

From the outset of a Care Assistant’s journey with Bluebird Care Wandsworth, Clapham & Streatham, we establish clear lines of communication to make sure that everyone understands the career progression pathways available to them.  Our mentorship scheme pairs Care Assistants with more experienced colleagues, who offer advice and friendship over a regular coffee.  This proactive approach is mutually beneficial, as newer members of the team gain insights and inspiration to help them gain confidence, whilst the mentors gain experience in a more managerial position.  We have seen people really flourish thanks to our emphasis on personal aspiration: we are proud to have local social workers and district nurses who began their careers as entry-level Care Assistants at Bluebird Care Wandsworth Clapham & Streatham.  In the same way, 95% of our management team started as carers themselves, most of them from within our local team.

Our office-based support teams all receive positive management training to ensure that they consistently embed praise and gratitude in all their conversations with our frontline Care Assistants.  To evidence our gratitude beyond the workplace, we have a Random Acts of Kindness box of gifts and cards and our office team delight in sending unexpected gifts to our Care Assistants’ homes as a way of recognising when they have gone ‘above and beyond’.  In doing so, we hope to likewise encourage praise from the friends and family members in our colleagues’ personal lives, and so reinforce this positive messaging.

We appreciate that care can be emotionally challenging, but it is also a hugely rewarding career, and it’s important to us that staff truly feel that sense of reward.  It felt fantastic to be recognised for our positive culture, as we received the ‘UK Home Care Employer Award’ at the National Great British Care Award finals for our approach to staff wellbeing.  These are challenging times for the sector, but we see it as our business to care for everyone, colleagues and customers alike, in our Bluebird Care Wandsworth, Clapham & Streatham community.


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