Bupa Care Services runs more than 130 care homes, reaching from Scotland to the South Coast and Wales, and employs approximately 12,000 staff in the UK. These care homes range in size from 20 to 120 beds and span residential, nursing, dementia and disability services, among others.
Claire Shenton, people director, Bupa Care Services at Bupa, says: “We’ve got a five-year plan and our vision is that we become the best place to work within the care sector within the next five years.”
In addition to a wide-reaching benefits programme that includes mentoring, long-service awards, bonus schemes, helplines, emergency loans and travel discounts, Shenton explains that it is important to encourage and celebrate good practice and positive behaviour.
Approximately two and a half years ago, Bupa started using the recognition portal epoints. On average, points worth between £10 and £20 are ascribed to each item of recognition sent via this portal. These points can then be used at a large number of retailers, including Amazon, Tesco and Asda. To make the points stretch further, Bupa Care Services has arranged various discounts, including 10% off at Amazon.
In 2018, the budget for these rewards was £250,000, which has been exceeded due to extraordinary circumstances that merited recognition. For example, when a care home recently received an ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission, it received a thank-you card and £1,000-worth of epoints from the management team. The 2019 budget will likely be closer to £350,000.
Christopher Mooney, reward manager at Bupa, says: “It’s quite effective to recognise when individuals go above and beyond. We’re not very prescriptive about what we expect [employees] to use the system for.”
The programme does not rely on points alone; it is the written feedback, highlighting the good work being done every day, that arguably has the most impact on employees, notes Mooney.
As examples of the kind of behaviour Bupa Care Services wants to celebrate, Shenton points to care teams that have taken residents on horse-drawn carriage rides to celebrate the royal wedding, invited jazz bands to perform in a home, or taken an ex-RAF plane enthusiast on a flying trip.
These instances of carers going above and beyond have been collected and published in Bupa’s #nevertoolate booklet, which is being printed and distributed in care homes at the end of November and beginning of December 2018.
“The relationships between residents and carers are so special,” says Shenton. “We are seeking to reward the fact that they have just been so thoughtful and gone the extra mile to make a real difference to our residents’ lives. It’s about recognising the amazing things our people do every day.”