HOME Instead is one of the few care providers in York to be rated Outstanding by the CQC, the care regulator.

The firm which is vying for the Employer of the Year award believes that if it wants to excel at caring for older people at home, it must start by caring about its employees and their wellbeing.

As well as carrying out regular appraisals and shadowing with staff, Home Instead tries to make its employees feel part of the team.

Despite being part of a team of more than 90 in York, on most visits to clients, staff are working alone. To remind everyone they are part of a supportive team, Home Instead tries to reward and offer recognition their achievements. This includes sending Thank You postcards when someone has helped out, coffee and cake vouchers and flowers, chocolates or fizz to celebrate work anniversaries, bronze, silver and gold service awards (one, three and five years) are marked with badges, while additional holidays and an annual dining voucher are received by those in the Gold Club so they can go out for a family meal to celebrate.

The business also has a social fund to organise work events. It publishes a monthly magazine for care givers and celebrates their achievements on social media.

Staff receive birthday cards from the office team, and a closed Facebook group is there for the team to share news and celebrate achievements in a more informal way.

Home Instead’s employee Julia Kirkman said: “For me, consistently and clearly communicating with all staff members demonstrates a great level of care and interest in maintaining the best working relationships and level of morale.

“Lots of postcards, coffee vouchers and flowers are sent out to all staff to compliment, give thanks for jobs well done and congratulate various achievements. I have never experienced this in any other employment. I had some important health-related appointments and was accommodated with no questions asked; great for me, it felt like they cared.”

Jean Love said: “Training and development are critical to prepare the team for their roles. Having found individuals dedicated to caring, it’s essential to give them the knowledge and experience they need to feel confident in caring for clients. There are numerous training courses available throughout the year, particularly relevant to current elderly care needs.”

Home Instead also provides an Employee Assistance Programme which provides 24-hour confidential support to its employees. They can access legal and financial advice, counselling support and information on a wide range of subjects and services at no cost.