"Although it may be difficult at times to work with the dying, employees at St Joseph's Hospice are enthusiastic and joyful. Their work not only cares for and supports patients but ensures an environment where everyone is considered family.
Staff live and breathe the charity's principles of respecting and supporting one another, and striving to create a community of harmony. More than 85% say St Joseph's is run on strong values, the fifth-highest score among the top 100 companies.
Generally, everyone finds the work a privilege. Of those surveyed, 82% are proud to work for the organisation and 86% believe the hospice makes a positive difference to the world — the latter score beaten by just two organisations in our top 100 companies.
Household supervisor Mary Cleary says: ""It is wonderful to go into a ward and see a woman who doesn't know if she'll be here the next day getting her hair done and putting on make-up, getting on with things.""
St Joseph's provides specialist palliative care in east London for people with life- threatening illnesses, and support for their families. Founded by the Religious Sisters of Charity in 1905, it was one of the first hospices in England and welcomes people from every faith. About a third of the running costs are met by local health authorities, with the rest coming through fundraising.
Staff see communication and the lack of hierarchy as clear factors in St Joseph's success. Social work manager Jenny Watmore-Eve says: ""Communication has continuity, people are approachable, they know and talk to one another — it's really nice to feel supported, it's real and human.""
Last year, St Joseph's spent £104,000 on training, which is constantly developed according to needs. In our survey, more than three-quarters of staff say they are supported when they need to learn new skills. The hospice's ambience can hardly be described as gloomy. About 81% of those surveyed laugh a lot with the people in their teams, and work is important for more than eight out of every 10 staff, a proportion exceeded in just five other organisations. ""Staff are very supportive of one another,"" says ward sister Shebo Nyangibo. ""You feel like you belong, like a human being.""
The charity offers all staff up to five days' paid leave for emergencies. According to Kevin Yates, director of patient services, supporting one another is a prerequisite of working in a hospice. ""Caring for people is a big part of what goes on here, because if you don't, staff wouldn't be able to work in such an emotionally charged atmosphere,"" he says.
Employees feel valued and supported at St Joseph's, so it is hardly surprising that 82% would miss the place if they left.
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