Story by Karina (Service Manger )

I Joined Hilton Care in January 2009. I had previously been working as a Support Worker for the past 8 years. This was a job that I done alongside my true passion of performing and teaching, well that is what I thought until I discovered Hilton. Hilton was new to my home area wanting to enable Tenants to live as independently as possible. My teaching hours were a little insecure and Hilton had an opportunity for a Team Leader Position. I put on my brave hat and went for it. Even the interview day did not go without a hitch, with me sitting for an hour in one part of the hotel and Sarah our Director of Services sitting in another part. Holly our HR Manager was on the phone assuring me that Sarah was there. After finally finding each other the interview began. I was asked a few questions and when it came to having managed a team before I had to answer no. I then explained that I had put on a show with 140 children from start to finish, luckily this showed my organisation skills. Soon the questions were put to one side and we chatted about experience and what my passions were, it was a little like chatting to an old friend. After a week of waiting I got the call to offer me the position.
I found Hilton to be a breath of fresh air, with them really putting the onus on the Tenants coming first, so much so I encourage several others to move and work for Hilton.
I started off by running one service, but as Hilton grew very quickly in the area I took over the running of three services. One of these included a new contract that I oversaw. This was a real test of my ability as it was a service with five Tenants that had almost been forgotten about. We went in and gave them support to have routine in their week. We put the time in to allow them to do for themselves what they could do as well as finding ways to support them to do stuff which they could not do. It was all about adapting the situation to suit the Tenant and not the other way round. I love that we have a person centred approach and our moto ‘nothing about me, without me’. This has really made people stop and think. It makes them see the person not the support worker.
In 2013 the opportunity arose for me to take the position of a Service Manager. I was very grateful to be given this opportunity and to have Hilton believe in me. Within this role I have been able to support my staff to believe in themselves and achieve their own goals. I remain still working hands-on shift three times a week which really breaks down communication barriers with my staff team and also allows me to continue enjoying the part of the job I love and that is seeing my Tenants achieve and the smile on their faces. I have only been able to this with the continued support of my Support and Development Manager. We have such a good working relationship and will support each other to make sure everything is achieved to give high customer care. This is also done in an upbeat way. We are able to talk through frustrations and resolve these together.
Training is an important part of Hilton and not long after starting they gave me the opportunity to do a two week communication worker course. This was very insightful and gave me the tools to be able to support my staff in using communication tools with their Tenants giving them their own voice and the tools to make their own choices. I am now completing my Level 5 in Management and being fully supported through this. There is not only in-house training but training online and full support to learn in a style that suits you.
During my time at Hilton there has been a very open communication system from support staff, Management and head office. This has allowed us to work together to make sure that the way in which we work really does work on the shop floor. I have never been in a more upbeat meeting as our Team Leader meetings, there really is a sense of togetherness, and also lots of biscuits and cakes. Hilton really do want to promote independence and I have been lucky enough to see many of my Tenants grow and move forward to living in flats of their own or moving in with others as being on their own does not suit them. I have seen some get paid employment, build up relationships with family to even getting engaged. I have now been with Hilton for 10 years and I cannot see myself leaving anytime soon as why would I leave somewhere that is not only rewarding but good fun with a very supportive and positive team beside me.