Retention in the Care Sector - How to Retain Care Staff - Wurkplace Blog

How To Retain Care Staff: Our Guide to Retention in the Care Sector

Retention in the care sector has always been a big issue. This is primarily due to the high demands and stress of the job. For instance, the high levels of responsibility, working unsocial hours, and being underpaid and overworked. All these issues have compounded over the last couple of years due to the devastating effects of the pandemic, leading to an extremely uncertain sector.

 

The sector is undergoing a workforce crisis which threatens the long-term sustainability of social care. According to a social care workforce report by the Department of Health, 70.3% of respondents reported that retaining staff was more challenging than in April 2021. Also, 81.9% of respondents reported that recruiting staff was more challenging than April 2021. As a result, Care England have called for called for immigration rules to be relaxed. They think that this will help organisations recruit from overseas.

So what steps can we take to look after our current care staff? How can we ensure not only retention, but a sector and a workforce that is thriving and providing top quality care?

 

Working Environment

As an employer, every effort should be made to ensure the working environment for your staff are as optimal as possible. For example, it is estimated that more than a third of care workers are on zero-hour contracts. This means they have no guaranteed work form an employer. They could be working full time one week and 8 hours the next. This instability is no longer viable for most people due to the ongoing financial crisis and inflation. Further more it means the employees would not be entitled to sick pay which was highlighted as a major issue during the pandemic. This instability means that often many care homes lose their existing staff to better paid industries such as hospitality and retail.

Some ideas to create a positive working environment include:

  • Making sure the job fits around your staffs lives, for example by offering flexible working
  • Support or subsidising any financial challenges they may face which might prevent them from working (travel, DBS certificates etc)
  • Ensuring staff have appropriate pay and utilise all benefits including annual leave and sick leave if necessary
  • Supply proper training throughout your organisation and make employees aware of policies and procedures

 

Bullying and Harassment

Due to the high-stress environment, it is common place for staff to experience disrespect and incivility. It is also reported that BAME employees, employees with disabilities, or employees of the LGBTQ+ Community suffer twice as many incidents of workplace bullying or harassment. The NHS has developed a people plan in 2020/2021 which aims to tackle the discrimination that some staff face and wellbeing support. Companies like Wurkplace can also help organisations to make sure they have clear policies in place to help prevent and deal with workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.

 

Communication

It is important that organisations develop a consistent approach to ensure a positive mental health and wellbeing of the workforce. This should be a shared responsibility from everyone in the team from the senior leaders to the employees. This can be achieved by encouraging safe and open communication for staff to be able to voice their concerns, ask for more support, and address challenges. This will reassure staff that their concerns are being heard and most importantly being addressed.

 

Growth

From the Skills for Care report – Secrets for Success – Employers with favourable workforce metrics such as high levels of learning and development, on average, had better outcomes (lower staff turnover and/or high CQC ratings). Therefore we would recommend that all employers make training a high priority for its staff. Not only does it allow staff to be more efficient in their job, giving them the skills to be ale to cope with more strenuous and difficult tasks with greater ease, it also boosts employee morale knowing that you are investing in their growth and future within your organisation.

Carrying on from this, showing clear progression and to supporting peoples ambitions and long-term career opportunities is a good way to encourage retention in the care sector. Making people aware of opportunities that are available to them, by hearing from long-term staff or a buddying system, and helping guide them towards it may just inspire people in their early careers. If you want to learn more about upskilling your workforce click here.

The systemic issues facing the care sector is not an easy issue to tackle, but it is something that can be achieved with a proactive approach. Our care workers are such a vital part of our society , which was made so evident during the pandemic. Consequently we must do all we can to look after our workforce and ensure the sustainability of our care-sector.

 

If you would like know more about staff retention, or chat to us about a similar issue – Contact us. You can use our online form, or give us a call on: 0330 400 5490.

 

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