We talked to Nik Seth of Holm on how to find the best private carers for the elderly and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nik Seth: It’s been a peculiar year. I haven’t been to our office in over nine months, and I now spend a large part of my time providing IT support to my children who’ve had lots of online learning. And we’ve had to support my mother who’s been stuck at home alone for long periods. Thankfully, our family hasn’t suffered any health issues due to Covid-19.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Holm.
Nik Seth: I used to run a care home for older people, so when my parents needed carers to help them live in their own home, I thought it’d be easy! I discovered how slow and difficult it could be to find generous support for the elderly. I started talking with lots of families who’d also experienced this. I and professional carers who I discovered, were also unhappy. It set me on a long journey, from which I created the initial idea for Holm.
How does Holm innovate?
Nik Seth: When someone needs help, they can’t wait, they need help immediately. We reduced the time it takes to start receiving care from 2 months to 2 days. We also use technology to reduce our costs, so that all our carers earn about 30% more than elsewhere, while our clients still pay less than they would do from traditional care providers. Because we’re able to do this, we’re also able to attract the very best carers and drive care quality improvements.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Nik Seth: It’s been an extraordinary time. Care of the elderly has in the public’s mind, but the fear of infection has raised fears about infection. We’ve worked hard to make sure all our carers have a supply of protective equipment to ensure everyone using our service remains safe. We’re still busy recruiting more care staff, but we can’t meet them at our office anymore. We created a new automated process for organizing video interviews, and we’ve realized it’s much better than the old ways, and we’ll keep using this from now on.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nik Seth: Our most challenging choices have been when we’ve had to tell some older people we weren’t able to help them. You can hear the anxiety and pain suffered by many older adults when you talk on the phone. Sadly we can’t help everyone, but we do our best to get the local government involved and make sure they’ve looked after.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Nik Seth: One of the advantages of working from home during lockdown is that I can get more hugs from my family. I’m not sure how people in the office would react!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nik Seth: Our main competitors remain traditional care agencies who’ve not changed significantly in decades. We plan to stay ahead by offering better care at better prices. Customers already find us quicker and easier to use.
Your final thoughts?
Nik Seth: We did wonder if it was a good idea to launch our company during the middle of a pandemic, but having spoken with a few families, we realized that people need us more now than ever. We appreciate the feedback we get from families. It helps keep us motivated.