All Care and No Care!
Time and time again we are bombarded with articles and ‘research’ prescribing how to be more resilient. I came across this article the other day about care workers and resilience (https://hellocaremail.com.au/resilience-aged-care-workers-caring-people-living-dementia/) that highlighted the traits a care worker needs in order to ‘care’. This came to my focus because a good friend of mine, Jan, has just recently started with a new company as an aged care worker. According to this ‘research’ all Jan needs is the following 7 traits to ‘bounce back’:
· Using initiative
· Being creative
· Having humour
· Being moral
· Having insight
· Building strong relationships
· Being independent
Jan is a bloody good Careworker, I’ve been known to call her the ‘Granny Whisperer’, and knows her job well. She’s been caring for the aged, disability and less advantaged for well over 20 years so no surprise for her to just ‘slip’ into the nature of the job at hand.
But I was a little surprised when we were talking the other day about how the new job was going when she said she was finding it difficult and overwhelming. It became apparent that it wasn’t the ‘meeting’ with the ‘oldies’ but the ‘meeting’ of the obligations from the Company around compliance, procedures and policy with very little support.
It is frustrating to see these articles that focus only on the individual. Jan is struggling with the overwhelm of processes, the new technology and the constant changing schedule. The company proclaims to have a ‘support’ structure in place. These same people are just as overwhelmed as the workers and the ‘over-the-phone’ support is located in a different city.
When I spoke with Jan about what it took to be resilient as a careworker she definitely said it helps to be confident in your job and love the ‘care’ nature of the work. But more importantly it is the social network around them that supports them in order to be able to do their job well. She said it’s no use to have initiative or strong insight if there is no ‘community’ to provide the support.
Are businesses getting it wrong about resilience?
I believe they are! I see time and time again programs, trainings and articles on the need for individual traits for resilience. Yet these same businesses fail to look at their own internal processes and supports that are in fact a crucial factor that enable social resilience. We can be everything we need to be as an individual like having initiative, being creative or being able to build relationships but if the very ‘support’ system is blocking our ability to do our work well then no amount of personal attributes will enable adaptability.
Humans are not an ‘i’ in a vacuum. We rely on our ‘community’ to support and it’s time businesses start reflecting on this.
M | 0407 220 094
E | gabrielle@resilyence