Case study: Communication through Covid-19

In March 2020 the care industry (along with the rest of the world) faced one of the biggest challenges in a generation, COVID-19. In the care sector, this created uncertainty, panic, and confusion, not only for the care home providers, but their colleagues too.

The headache of clear communications:

Sunrise Senior Living and Gracewell Health Care were no different, with 46 homes across England and Wales they knew that the Pandemic was going to change how they operated as a care provider.

At the very start of the pandemic, Sunrise Senior Living and Gracewell Healthcare recognised that they needed to change their approach to how they communicated with their teams. They understood the link between clear communication and engaged colleagues and needed to find a team who would quickly understand their current frustrations, but also ‘hit the ground running’ to help deliver engaging communication to all their colleagues.

Speaking to Sharon Benson, HR Director at Sunrise Senior Living – “back in March 2020, I knew that we had to think very differently about how we communicated with our colleagues in the face of a global pandemic, particularly given negative press about the safety of working and living in care homes.  Having helped me in previous organisations, Spark Consultants were my first port of call as I knew they’d be able to quickly understand the challenges and deliver a step change in how we communicated with our teams”

Communication remains one of the biggest opportunities for business:

While communication with colleagues is one of the most cited areas for improvement in many businesses, many teams fail to correlate the need to invest in this specialism to help their business.

In an ever-changing landscape within the care sector, (where retention and attraction of colleagues is so fierce), it’s so important to invest time and effort in how you communicate with your colleagues.

The CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, Natalie Jane Macdonald perhaps sums it up the best… “without extensive two-way communications with colleagues during the pandemic using multiple channels, both formal and informal, we’d not have been able to operate as well as we did. Working with Spark Consultants has undoubtedly helped all teams understand the huge business value of active listening and really professional communications…”.

The result

The team at Spark Consultants were able to quickly make a step change in how Sunrise communicated, all 46 homes understood when and how communication was going to be delivered to them.

By listening and understanding to all teams (along with using specially developed communication tools) communication to the sites improved and lead to clarity of what the homes needed to do, especially with ever changing policies and guidance from The Government.

Speaking to Suzanne Garston, one of the homes General Managers, she agreed that the changes really helped… “Before Spark Consultants, communication was hit and miss, it was confusing, not clear and there was so much of it. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been able to see the wood from the trees, we know when communication is going to come, and we understand the importance of sharing this with our teams”