“For me it’s going home knowing that I’ve made a difference to somebody, whether it be a resident or a staff member and that makes my job worthwhile.”

Work should be so much more than just a job; it should be a community, a project and although sometimes stressful, ultimately a rewarding experience that can be looked back on with pride. This is a philosophy that Olea Care Group knows all too well; they have always believed that the people are fundamental to the success of the business, and they have worked hard to ensure they develop a culture that recognizes and supports the individual, celebrating their importance.

They strive to attract, develop and retain the best people by providing a rewarding place to work, encouraging cooperation and team-work to foster a sense of mutual accountability amongst each member of the team. Working in care, the word should reflect both sides of the coin; not only should those pursuing the career be passionate about caring for others, but receiving support from peers and employers alike.

Olea Care Group is a family-owned business that currently has three generations of family members involved in the day-to-day running and development of the business. These family values, coupled with their philosophy of providing high quality care to residents and fostering a community between staff and residents, have resulted in many of the team being with the organization for more than 30 years.

They always welcome open and honest dialogue with their staff, as each member of the team has an impact on the service they provide and are key to the provision of the highest quality service. The annual ‘Our People Survey’ and a staff polling system on the internal training platform offers staff a chance to have their say on the ways in which the organization can improve as an organization for residents and the team alike.

Olea Care Home Group encourage a positive and supportive workplace

Staff retention is paramount to residential homes being just that- a home. Having familiar faces as opposed to an ever-changing roster of people passing through is important, and Olea Care Group recognizes that in order to unlock their staff’s potential, investing in them is key. They pride themselves on offering staff a working environment which supports them on their career path, with the opportunity to gain new skills and qualifications along the way. The leadership and management programs available are designed to support their leaders at all levels and give them the knowledge, support and experience to lead with confidence.

Over the past few years they have supported employees to gain leadership and management qualifications at level 5 and level 7, a HND in Business Management and an MBA. The outcome of such programs is that most of the leadership and management team have been promoted and developed from within the organisation, building a community within the workforce.

In 2019, they were recognized for this continuous commitment to investing in the development and wellbeing of staff with the prestigious Investors in People Gold Award. One such employee is Louise; having joined the organization in 2014 as a senior care assistant when their Fernlea site first opened, she instantly felt as though she was supported in ways that she hadn’t experienced before in her previous jobs.

Care home staff with their Investors in People Gold Award
Care home staff with their Investors in People Gold Award

“I found it was quite a quick progress which was good. I’d come in at the senior care level which I’d been doing for years in my previous job, but here it was quite quickly that I was taken into development and my skills were discussed. Shortly after, I was encouraged to apply for a team leader role which was great. There’s been training all along the way, I’ve done numerous things,” she said.

Louise credits the support and belief from the organization in helping her progress through the ranks to management level, ultimately earning her the position of Deputy Manager of Fernlea. She hopes that she can continue the tradition of furthering the development of staff members, for the benefit of not only the care home, but the individual too.

“I see it in my role now, amongst the other members of staff, when you recognize the potential it’s very much the mindset of we need to put a plan together with that person – how we can help channel the skills and desires that they’ ve got to progress, how we can make it work, how we can make it happen,” she said.

“I find when I interview people for positions at Fernlea they often say they’re leaving where they are at the moment because they’ve been promised to start studying towards something like a NVQ or training up and nothing ever comes of it. We’re very aware of this, and when they join us, that’s very much noted.”

A positive team means that the care home is also a happy place for residents too
A positive team means that the care home is also a happy place for residents too

Louise feels that this investment in personal and professional development helps the Olea Care Group stand out amongst other employers, and calls her team “her second family”. She believes that through this bond, they can make the care home a positive place for residents too.

“It’s like a second family, I’ve always said that. I spend more time with work than I probably do other people so it’s nice having that rapport where it’s nice, friendly and we all know each other,” she added.

“What really stands out is no matter how busy it is, and it does keep you busy because it’s care, that’s the nature of the job, but no matter the day is like, you’ll always be able to look back at the end of the day and go ‘they’ve had fun in there today.’ It stems around the residents, there’s always something good for them to do as we want them to keep the lifestyle they had before they came into Fernlea.

“Because there’s always something going on, you find you’re always drawn into it, and everybody joins in, everybody gets involved and so it’s lovely that the job isn’t all running around keeping yourself busy and just doing your job. You can actually have fun with the residents and that’s really important.”

Residents can a range of activities at the care home
Residents can enjoy a range of activities at the care home

This community, collaborative feel amongst the care home team and the residents is something that Louise feels makes working at Fernlea care home particularly special; Whether it’s a movie night in their cinema room, a pamper session at the onsite salon or even taking residents out on trips such as fishing, passion and dedication is always at the forefront of everything they do.

This ethos is carried across all of Olea Care Group’s sites; their Doves Nest care home has also recently undergone a huge development, further modernizing their facilities to represent their ongoing commitment to a premium service. The redevelopment of Doves Nest encapsulates Olea Care Group’s vision of creating a “hotel-like” atmosphere with high-quality care and presenting visitors and residents with the warm, modern welcome of a top-quality hotel.

A key focal point is the large entrance and reception situated within the new extension. This area boasts a glassed frontage offering extensive natural light for visitors as they enter the building. The reception overlooks the main entry way to the grounds where a small seating area will give visitors and residents another place to chat over a coffee. This area aims to provide visitors with a lasting first impression that highlights and represents the high-quality service that Olea Care Group strive for.

Louise said: “You could go to work at any home and just do the care. But for me it’s going home knowing that I’ve made a difference to somebody, whether it be a resident or a staff member, I know that I can give satisfaction to somebody’s day with what I’m doing and that makes my job worthwhile. ”

If a career in care, with the possibility of progression and development, is something that appeals to you Olea Care Group are now hiring across a variety of roles over four locations over the North-West region, with positions such as Nurse, Activities Co- computer, Domestic Assistant and Facilities Manager currently taking on applications.

For more information, visit their website here.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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