Values based recruitment by Virginia Perkins

Early on in my HR career, I learnt the importance of recruiting the right people for the company in which I worked. 


Not only did I look out for people with the right values, skills, know ledge and experience to work in the company, but also had an eye for how they would fit in with the culture and particular team they would be assigned to.  


People often assume when a new employee doesn’t work out that the employee couldn’t do their job or they didn't have the right experience, but in my experience it usually has something to do with the person’s personality and approach to the job and how they are welcomed by the team.  That is why it is so important when recruiting that we appoint talent who fit the culture of the company because it can make it harder for those employees who do fit.  This can lead to teamwork problems and eventually performance issues.  


In the care industry, I acknowledge that staff can come and go from time to time but at Springhill Care we must continue with our values based recruitment to employ like-minded, values driven people with a passion to care at their very core. Recently, we have welcomed a large number of new employees to the team who have all been selected via our values based recruitment practice.  So it is important to consider that when recruiting in volume and integrating them into the workforce, this can also present potential problems.   


In my role it is essential that the management team are on board to embrace this new talent into the workforce, but more importantly to ensure that their transition from the very start of their recruitment journey is seamless in order to achieve better retention. We attract great people to work in our business, now our focus is on retaining this talent by getting our basics right. 


Our new employees receive a great induction which includes all the necessary mandatory training required by law to work in the care sector, in addition to ensuring all necessary paperwork is completed and being assigned a buddy.  It can be daunting for a new employee to join an experienced team, but it doesn’t have to be and that’s why we are communicating to the wider workforce, the importance of welcoming our new employees by displaying an excellent attitude underpinned by our core values, whether it be to one individual or a group of ten.  By doing this, new employees will be engaged quickly and enjoy working in a company that heavily promotes its values to ensure the highest standards of care and support is delivered to our residents.


Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development



Learning & Development Blog by Mike Lakins - August 2018

It’s been a very busy month with Learning and Springhill Care Home we had a visit from the University of Central Lancashire addressing those employees who were making a decision about the Associate Nurse pathway or the Assistant Practitioner pathway - it was well attended and our employees now have a more in-depth understanding of what each pathway entails so they are able to make an informed decision.

Enrolment for the Assistant Practitioner course starts in September 2018 and over the next few months you will be able to meet them through a new series of articles in our monthly care group newsletter.

I have recently spent quality time at our sister nursing home Riversway in Bristol, looking at the Learning and Development function in detail, and working closely alongside Natalia (Learning & Development Coordinator).  I feel we have achieved a lot and that we have had the opportunity to review our business processes and implement some new ideas.

Refresher training across the Group is essential - the Learning & Development team work tirelessly to ensure that quality training is available for all employees to attend.  As we are aware, mandatory and refresher training is a legal requirement and in supporting the L&D departments at each site, it is crucial in maintaining fully qualified and skilled employees at each of our services.

I am always looking at ways to improve how we, as a L & D team work together and after consultation we will be introducing a weekly telecast/facetime slot - I believe this will provide an opportunity for my team to share best practice, ideas and any changes in legislation, I will also be discussing and implementing new strategies across the group with them... I envisage that this weekly meeting will help address communication and promote team cohesion.

Sophie McIntosh our new Learning & Development Coordinator at Springhill Care Home, Accrington, commenced her new role last week, I’m sure you will join me in welcoming her to the Group. Sophie brings a portfolio of experience with her and I’m sure she will introduce herself in due course.

There are many new initiatives and ideas being introduced and developed across the Springhill Care Group at the moment, it’s an exciting and positive time to be part of this innovative organisation.


Mike Lakins

Head of Learning and Development



My Admiral Nurse Journey - Care Fit for VIPS

One of the audits that was undertaken to determine the baseline of the dementia care environment, prior to training our dementia champions in Riversway Nursing Home and Birch Green Care Home was the Care Fit for VIPS toolkit.


This was developed by Dawn Brooker at the Association for Dementia Studies, Worcester University.


Click HERE to view a short introductory video which explains further.




It is based on her VIPS framework where:


V - Values people. Do my actions show that I respect, value and honour this person?


I - Individual needs. Am I treating this person as a unique individual?


P - Perspective of the person. Am I making a serious attempt to see my actions from the perspective of the person I am trying to help?


S - Supportive social psychology. Do my actions help this person to feel socially confident and that they are not alone?


The toolkit focuses on a 3 way approach;


  1. Self-assessment tool
  2. Resources
  3. An improvement cycle


In order to complete the self assessment tool, 216 questions are asked over the 4 sections of Values, Individual, Perspective and Social, asking if the practitioner strongly agrees; agrees; disagrees; strongly disagrees or is unsure.


An outline was drawn up and then with the help of Laura, the Research and Evaluation officer at Dementia UK a graph was developed. In Riversway another audit was completed six months later and plotted on to the graph; a further audit was conducted in April 2018.


The graphs show an overall move towards agree and strongly agree. There was only one move backwards which was related to the new GDPR regulations.


A lot of the improvements within the dementia care environment at Riversway can be shown to be related to upskilling carers and nurses with a higher level of dementia care awareness being embedded within the nursing home.


Further improvements will be addressed within the Plan, Do, Study, Act improvement cycle which was drawn up following this and another audit will be carried out in October 2018.


By Jakki Whitehead

Admiral Nurse, Riversway Nursing Home 



Sustainability and growth of our workforce by Virginia Perkins - July 2018

Focusing on the sustainability and growth of the workforce is a key part of my role, in particular, to ensure that we have viable staffing levels in place at each of our homes that are equipped with the essential skills to deliver outstanding care and support.

Attracting staff to work in our business is usually conducted via the more traditional recruitment methods and practices of advertising through our company website; job fairs; social media and recruitment websites.

This week, I attended a forum in Westminster which was supported by the Government Equalities Office to support and encourage businesses like ours to increase opportunities for people who have taken an extended career break, often to care for children and other family members. There are currently 2.1 million people out of the labour market caring for family members, but now have an interest in returning to work. This is an untapped pool of talent that we could support back to work through a Returner Programme. This initiative is a targeted recruitment programme aimed at people who have been out of work, typically for more than two years.

With a projected shortfall of nursing and care staff for future years which will ultimately make it more challenging to recruit, a Returner Programme is a great way to tackle the skills shortage as it creates access to an extra pool of people who already have the right skills, or could easily be trained through our learning and development provision.

Not only can a Returner Programme be cost effective, it can also have a positive impact on our company profile, clearly promoting Springhill Care Group’s support for parents and carers in the workplace. Flexibility is high on the agenda for these people, as indeed it is for our existing workforce, so key factors of where people need to work; when people need to work and how much people need to work have to be considered.

To build a successful Returner Programme will take time but this is something that I see as fundamental to achieving and developing an outstanding, responsive and diverse workforce.



Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development



Learning & Development Blog by Mike Lakins - July 2018

First and foremost this month I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who sent good wishes to me following my recent promotion to Head of Learning & Development for the Springhill Care Group. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to the opportunity of sharing and rolling out some new ideas.

I would like to welcome Sophie McIntosh to the Learning and Development Team; Sophie has been appointed as the new Learning & Development Co-ordinator at Springhill Care Home. Sophie is scheduled to start mid-July and brings with her a lot of health & social care experience having worked with us in a training provider capacity for a number of years – welcome aboard Sophie.

It’s been an interesting month as I have been involved in a number of exciting meetings and last week I was invited to attend the Hyndburn Business Awards in Accrington. Springhill Care Home was one of the finalists; we didn’t win overall in our category for Large Business, but having reached that final stage was an achievement in itself.

We are closer to announcing the date when the Associate Nurse/ Assistant Practitioner courses start; its long awaited and I would like to thank the staff involved for their patience – we continue to work closely with the University of Central Lancashire to ensure that when we roll out the Nurse Pathway it proves to be a seamless transition from Assistant Practitioner to enrolment onto the Nurse Apprenticeship.

I am planning to roll out an End of Life level 2 qualification around August and have had a good response from staff wanting to complete this. This qualification will be completed as a distance learning module and will provide additional underpinning knowledge to all staff improving and developing them through training and mentoring.

Jakki Whitehead, our Admiral Nurse at Riversway Nursing Home in Bristol spent time with me during this month too; it was a pleasure to meet up with her and Jakki shared some fantastic information around the subject of dementia that she has developed.  We are planning to roll out her bespoke dementia training in the next couple of months to the staff here at Springhill Care Home, Accrington.

Lowry training have signed up a number staff this month to complete their level 2 and level 3 Diplomas in Health and Social Care – and progress is steadily being made.
At Springhill we understand that the learning and development of staff is crucial and the opportunities that we offer everyone to improve and develop are plentiful; if anyone has any training requirements, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss them further.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone at our other services and building on our exciting learning and development plans for the continued success of our organisation.


Mike Lakins

Head of Learning and Development




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