Angela Beerman, Director of HR, Jewish Care
Caring is at the heart of all we do at Jewish Care. The majority of our 1200 staff work in caring roles, so it’s no surprise to find an abundance of warmth, support and care in our care homes, Retirement Living apartments and community centres. We try to build an environment where our staff feel valued, cared for and supported in their roles. This helps to create a caring culture, which in turn, helps with staff retention and provides a continuity of high quality care for our residents and clients.
People come to work in the care sector because they really care. In our case, as the largest health and social care provider to the Jewish community in London and the South East, they want to make a difference to the lives of older people every day. You can teach procedures and processes in many jobs, but in the care sector, living the values of the organisation is even more critical.
Jewish Care’s vision is to create communities characterised by kindness, compassion and giving, where people are fully included, not lonely or isolated, and where they can get excellent care. Our staff share our vision and our values of inclusiveness, integrity, innovation, excellence and compassion. These are the building blocks of our care communities that allow us to create a caring environment for the people we support, care for and work with.
Members of staff come from a multitude of nationalities and cultures and from all faiths and none. As an organisation and on our internal social media platform, Workplace, where staff can share news and updates, we mark not only Jewish festivals but celebrations from many cultures, from Eid to Diwali and Christmas. We focus on celebrating universal inclusive secular values too. In our care homes and community centres, celebrating residents’ and members’ birthdays and anniversaries together is an important part of showing that we care as one big family.
As a culturally specific care provider, we support people we care for to express themselves and celebrate their Jewish culture in the way that they choose. Our “Jewish Way of Life” staff training is part of our induction and is vital to help our staff to understand Jewish customs, traditions and values so they can support residents within a Jewish environment. It also creates a sense of inclusion and warmth, connecting the residents and the carers with one another.
Our dedicated staff teams provide vital round the clock care and risked their lives throughout the Covid-19 pandemic by coming to work to care for our residents. In 2021, we joined the 10% of social care providers in London who pay the current London Living Wage to help bear the cost of the rising cost of living and to acknowledge the incredible work of frontline staff, recognising their commitment financially.
Another meaningful way we show we care about our staff is by supporting their continuous professional development. We are passionate about creating opportunities for staff to grow and develop. Whether they are on the front line or in supporting roles, staff training and development is essential to ensure that we deliver high quality care for those we support and also ensures that staff thrive and reach their potential. We offer great training; team leaders and managers support staff to complete qualifications and we recognise these financially too.
By supporting staff through our wellbeing programme, we aim to create a caring work environment. It’s important to us to remind staff to remember their own self-care and to support one another. We communicate with staff on our online platform, Workplace, to create open, honest, compassionate conversations about issues that may affect many of staff at different times. Topics have included mental health, gender identity and menopause, and by talking openly, we try to create an inclusive environment, so that staff feel they can be themselves and feel accepted, respected and understood when they come to work. Our employee assistance programme and counselling service is there too for staff when they feel in need more support.
A few years ago, we introduced our annual initiative, Go Purple. This is a week which uses our brand colour as a theme to celebrate Jewish Care across our services and raise awareness of our work in the communities we support. The staff loved the idea. The level of enthusiasm and pride in working for Jewish Care was clear to see from the purple accessories, purple cupcake baking and purple-themed parties.
Personally, I couldn’t be prouder to work at Jewish Care. Whatever your background and stage of life, there’s so much opportunity and scope. Working in a caring environment with colleagues who are like family is so rewarding. I can’t think of more meaningful place to work where you can see the impact you make every day through the wellbeing of those we care for. I feel a huge sense of pride and achievement in what we accomplish together each day at Jewish Care as a caring community.
Photography Blake Ezra Photography