Interview Transcript

What about the culture of these operators that don’t have the cash to pay for learning and development, don’t pay a very high wage, but have a deep alignment with their employees and the values of the company?

Culture plays a really big part. If you work in an organisation where you feel valued, there’s an open culture, people are supportive of one another; these are things that define a good job from just a job you do. If you combine the values of the person wanting to make a difference, you have an open culture in your organisation and see people as an integral part of the team.

I recently went to one of my care providers. We had a meeting and some really great awards. In those awards, the catering staff, ancillary staff, cleaners, et cetera, were seen as a really important part of the team and encouraged to connect with residents.

For example, I was talking to a resident, and she had talked about some of the recipes they’d used around the war. Then the cook reprised them and got the residents to engage with them. That improved the residents’ experience. It was important for the cook to know how important her and her colleagues’ work was and how they all enjoyed sharing that experience together. Those are the sort of things that can make a difference in terms of the quality of the work experience.

It’s interesting you say how bringing the employee closer to the end customer and showing their value drives meaning and a higher value on the work they’re doing.

It really does. If we see the benefits of what we do, it makes us more connected to it. There must be loads of people who work in factories who never see the difference the product makes to the end-user. They just see it as a process they’re involved with, but when you’re really involved, you see something you’ve done — something you think might be quite a small thing — has made a big difference to somebody.

What was great about that conversation was the lady who was talking about the recipes from the war, she was the fount of knowledge, so she was passing on her knowledge to the staff. They were really getting a lot from that, but also, they were helping her relive something that was important to her. Everybody felt like part of that process. It seems like a small thing, but it was so important for the resident’s quality of life. It also made the staff understand they could do something relatively easily that made a big difference. It became something that drew them all together.

I think this point has huge parallels with most process jobs — if you’re not close to the end product, the service, the value created for the customer, you can quickly lose touch and commitment to the mission of the company.

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