Is your care home “vulnerable” to Panorama?

We all trust that the Panorama-type revelations will not apply to our business. Nonetheless care workers work largely in private. Managers do not necessarily know what happens out of sight. You cannot watch every bedroom, every bathroom, every hour.

Care homes are about people, of course, but surprisingly, perhaps, the people they employ are more important than the people they care for – why?

Nearly twenty years ago I was at a seminar with Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Prof at Harvard Business School) and she vividly demonstrated how employees treat customers in the way in which they are treated themselves. She related a particularly inane encounter with a (US) postal employee in which she totally failed to succeed in purchasing the particular stamps she wanted. The reason the postal worker refused, point blank, to supply the stamps was so trivial that I’ve forgotten it. But I remember the point. This employee was taking advantage of the customer’s powerlessness because he himself was powerless in his relationship with his employer. The lesson is that employees will treat your customers, residents, service users, in the way in which they feel they are treated.

Your treatment of employees is directly under your control, their treatment of those for whom they care is not.

Clearly there is hope if you are confident you treat your employees with care. But it is worth keeping in mind that it is their perception of that care that counts, not your intention. Not much room to be complacent perhaps.

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