Creating transparency and trust by Virginia Perkins

As a Human Resources professional, I always try and lead by example and act as a role model in the organisation, in a bid to continue being viewed as a trusted employee who operates transparently and above all fairly; to promote a genuine relationship of mutual trust with employees in order to build a better workplace. 


However, it goes much further than this as we recognise that transparency and trust needs to permeate every one of our leader’s actions and be executed throughout their everyday behaviour.  Creating transparency and trust is an essential ingredient in forming the basis of all relationships and interactions. 


At Springhill Care Group our culture is guided by our core values, of which trust is one.  In order to keep improving on our journey to high performing and outstanding, it has been essential for our leaders to understand what the phrase “creating transparency and trust” means so that this can be part of their everyday practise and measured against the company’s leadership standard. 


When leaders ensure that there is a constant level of trust at all levels within the organisation and are active role models, leading by example in everything they do, a number of benefits can be seen. 


These can range from better team cohesion, improved morale and increased productivity.  


Within our business we continuously build trust in our leadership team by encouraging each other  to do this through actions and not words, some of which is conducted on a daily basis.  Our actions include taking ownership of our mistakes or issues, viewing them as learning opportunities and being open and honest with our communication, making sure there is regular two way dialogue between leaders and people at all levels. 


By making sure our leaders continue to engage in transparent business practices, giving and receiving feedback and ensuring policies and procedures are applied fairly, this will only assist us to increase trust and transparency across the Springhill Care Group.



Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development




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



Awards & Accreditations




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Springhill Care Group Limited
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