As only the fourth organisation in its sector to be honoured with the Investors in People (IIP) gold award, learning difficulties and mental health support provider Regard has been celebrating with a series of tea parties in its services across the country.
Since only 0.02% of care organisations in the UK have achieved the gold standard, Regard has every reason to feel festive, and its gold-themed receptions charmed staff and service users nationwide.
IIP assesses the way an organisation invests in its people with reference to three fundamental pillars of workplace success: inspirational and consistent leadership, support and acknowledgment for good work, and the creation of platforms for improvement across the business.
Status levels are then ascribed to participants, with only those meeting an excellent standard receiving the highest level of accreditation.
So how did Regard buck the trend in its sector to succeed in securing the top award?
Among other things, the company was particularly commended for its policy of ensuring the competence and suitability of its staff.
For guests attending the celebratory tea parties, the effectiveness of such an approach was immediately evident. Comfortable in their roles, staff shared common traits of being relaxed and engaged, exuding both care and authority. They clearly revel in their work, and enjoyed the company and progress of service users with unwavering smiles.
Matthew, a younger staff member, described leaving a career in hospitality to pursue a more “fulfilling” post at Regard, acknowledging that the opportunity to make a long-term and tangible difference in a person’s life was the real reward of his work.
It is a predisposition common among his colleagues too. Tellingly, little attention had been paid to the company achievement – instead the focus was entirely on providing a memorable day for the people who use Regard’s services.
Hours had been spent in preparation, with particularly impressive results in the culinary and decorative departments. One creative service user, Tina - who lives at a service in Cardiff - had even been supported to craft a miniature drawbridge which – to the delight of all present - was lowered to welcome guests arriving at the party.
Regard CEO, Sandie Foxall-Smith, who could be seen chatting attentively with service users and staff at the event, said: “Our convictions set us apart.
“Regard values the introduction of support and trust to residents, providing a life with fewer constraints.
“We recruit in line with this philosophy, resulting in greater staff compatibility and job satisfaction, the benefits of which are experienced by patients and employees alike.”
Another service user, Gail, recalled an unhappy experience of life in a nursing home before she transitioned to private care with Regard.
Recounting the limited independence she had previously experienced, Gail gladly contrasted that with her current situation, concluding simply that the care she now receives is: “Great, just great!”