Bluebird Care

Bluebird Care

Can you tell us about some of the stakeholders that Bluebird Care work with and how you work with them?

We work with the UKHCA (United Kingdom Homecare Association) of which Fiona is a Non-Executive Director. They tackle sector-wide issues and work with the Government and Department of Health to develop a strategic plan over the next five years to raise awareness of homecare to try and bring people into the sector which from a recruitment point of view will have a massive positive effect on our franchisees. 

Fiona also works with NHS England on the Better Use of Care at Home work stream, which is a multi-agency project looking at the challenges on the NHS of delayed transfers of care and the knock-on effect that has on society and the economy. Through this work-stream we are raising awareness of home care as a viable alternative to some hospital admissions, and how through helping develop a clear understanding of the homecare solution, and simultaneously driving recruitment into the care sector, that this can help ease the pressure on the NHS.

We also work with the healthcare regulators such as the Care Quality Commission to look at new approaches to registration. We were consulted for advice on the potential for franchisors to be regulated in the healthcare sector.

Fiona also advises our technology partners to develop and implement new technology that supports the delivery of the very best care. Part of an advisory body for everyLIFE Technologies, Fiona ensure the continued development of care software for the benefit of the sector.

We get involved with anyone who can help to positively impact the sector and gain coverage in the media to help raise awareness and drive recruitment.

What incentives do you give your franchisees?

With over 19,000 care assistants in the Bluebird Care network, we launched the Bluebird Care Awards last year to recognise the amazing work that goes on in our network and give them they recognition they deserve. We shared their stories in the media to promote the aspects of care that are rarely seen to the wider population, and raise the profile of our truly amazing people and the businesses behind them.

At the Bluebird Care Annual Conference we award our highest performing franchisees the opportunity to win awards that publicly recognise their outstanding achievements in business with past winners and their partners being invited to attend the Interim Healthcare Annual Conference in Florida.

What innovations have you brought in to help your franchisees and their workforce develop?

We built our Staff Guide app in-house to try to communicate more to staff and give them more tools and confidence to do their job role. We are in the process of developing a new policy website that will further enhance the ability for care staff to access information across digital like never before.

We try and support our workforce in every way we can through the pilot and deployment of different technologies. For each critical aspect of the business we have working parties that we involve our franchisees with, such as our technology working party, and we bring all our partners in and together we look at innovation in the sector. We constantly ask ourselves what more can we do to make sure we are staying at the front of the sector.

This helps to ensure that not only do we as a business stay at the top of our game, but also our workforce can feel confident in the care that they are providing, and feel safe in the knowledge that they are giving the best possible care that they can.

What is the ‘Every Visit Counts’ campaign and what was the impact for the business?

The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness of a very important issue in society – the issue of loneliness.

We didn’t want it to come across as a seasonal campaign, but to make the point that it is an issue that we face every day of the year. The ‘Every Visit Counts’ campaign was designed to highlight the very sad reality that often goes unnoticed, and help people experience the feeling of being lonely. We wanted to say ‘this is what loneliness might feel like’ and to create a compelling story around it so that it would generate enough interest to be shared.

We came up with a 90-second video that tries to put someone in the front living room of someone living on their own and use real life examples and sounds of things that you might hear when you’re by yourself, such as the clock ticking, children running past your window on their way to school or the postman delivering mail.

Right at the end of the 90 seconds, we show the positive impact of human contact, a basic need that we all have to be with someone, when someone walks into the room to give someone your time and company when they are feeling lonely and the effect that this can have on people who probably live nearby.

We put this video onto a microsite and we looked at the engagement we were receiving. It was extraordinary to see that the number of job applications increase by 37% compared to the same time the previous year. Perhaps inspired by the video and its message, more people felt compelled to help tackle loneliness and benefit from this social impact through a new career.

What development do you have planned for the future?

The further development of technology and communication will be critical for the future of homecare. We will be focusing on projects that deliver tangible benefits to society, our franchise network, our customers and our outstanding care teams delivering care on the front line.

What have you learnt along the way and what advice would you give other companies thinking of franchising?

Franchising a business model that proves itself to sustain the careers and lives of thousands of people and their families is a truly rewarding experience. Our advice to other companies thinking of franchising would be to proactively seek out and engage with existing franchisors. This is made easy to do through the bfa who hold a number of events providing opportunities to network with ethical franchisors willing to share their experience and help new franchisors build for success.

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