Phoenix Group – Winner 2022, Best for Carers & Eldercare
Phoenix Group has introduced policies and practices that enable carers in their workforce to look after their loved ones without the worry that it will impact their income or career, thereby creating a culture of belonging which has improved retention and productivity.
Phoenix Group defines a dependent as a relative, partner or friend of any age who may be disabled or ill or who cannot cope without support. They recognise the challenge in identifying carers and have found it beneficial to share stories on the ground through talks, lunchtime stalls, news stories and blogs, as well as training Mental Health First Aiders and managers to identify carers.
Support on offer
Phoenix Group have a robust set of policies in place that are aimed at giving carers the breathing space they need, including ten days paid Carers Leave and a further five days unpaid, flexible working requests or emergency leave for unexpected care arrangements, and compassionate leave.
A Carers Network provides space to share experiences and information, including an informal monthly catch up. The network proved invaluable during the pandemic, when there was significant pressure on carers and a need to adapt care provision to meet changing needs. The network runs events that offer support and advice including sessions on Power of Attorney, children with mental health issues, and sharing stories about caring experiences through ‘Behind the Mask’ events.
The new Carers Champions scheme provides specific training to Mental Health First Aiders so they can understand the challenges of caring and offer signposting. Carers can also access the Employee Assistance Programme that offers counselling and advice and information on practical issues such as claiming benefits and allowances, organising respite care and obtaining equipment.
An online portal provides information and advice on wellbeing including a financial wellness support service, and a virtual wellbeing hub gives a location for managers to find advice on how they can support their teams and look after themselves.
A supportive culture is being fostered through initiatives such as the Carers Network and events that talk openly about issues facing carers. Awareness of Carers Leave is communicated through a variety of ways including the intranet, Carers Network and Mental Health First Aiders. In 2021, 520 carers used Carers Leave on 1464 occasions, totalling 9480 hours, indicating that it is culturally acceptable to use the leave when required.