Homecare provider Walfinch is deepening its support for the mental health and wellbeing of its franchisees, carers and clients.
Walfinch Chief Executive Amrit Dhaliwal says: “My experience in homecare means I am aware of the importance of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our carers, franchisees and clients.
“I vowed when I started my homecare franchise, that I would take as much action as I could to promote mental health and wellbeing – not just by paying lip-service to the idea, but by taking practical measures.”
Walfinch commitments, announced to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, include:
- Training more mental health first aiders. “Some Walfinch franchise offices already have mental health first aiders but we want to extend this to every office,” Amrit says.
- Consulting care teams. Walfinch carers will be surveyed about how they feel about their jobs and whether their workplace wellbeing can be improved. “Knowing what they think means we can take appropriate action that may be helpful, and we will have a baseline assessment against which we can judge the action’s effectiveness,” says Amrit. “Happy carers are associated with higher quality care and loyalty, so everyone benefits, especially clients.”
- Seeking customer feedback. Walfinch clients are already asked regularly how they feel about their care but we are adding a more formalised process to record and action the results. This will provide data to prove the link between carer and client wellbeing and to identify areas where action, such as more training or new policies, could improve mental health.
- Listening to franchisees. Walfinch has recently established a Franchisee Advisory Council, where franchisees can raise issues with the franchisor, to boost franchisee support.
- Promoting the value of the franchisee network. “We’ll be encouraging franchisees – especially new ones – to talk to other franchisees in the network, who will understand their position and offer friendly peer support,” says Amrit.
- Encouraging the buddy system. New staff, in particular, can worry about their job, so franchisees will be encouraged to twin them with a ‘buddy’, an established member of staff who they can turn to for support.
Amrit says: “I’m pleased at how we have worked to improve measures for the mental wellbeing of our franchisees and carers, but I am keen to ensure we maintain and deepen our support. Being complacent about mental health in the workplace is inhumane and unprofessional.”