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5 tips to increase care staff retention
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5 tips to increase care staff retention
In today’s society, salary and benefits aren’t everything. They play an important part in our decisions for where we choose to work, but support, happiness, reward and career opportunities in many cases have a bigger role. It’s not uncommon for people to choose a lower salary position in a company that better suits their lifestyle, over a slightly higher salary in a business they wouldn’t enjoy working for.
There are high levels of staff turnover in the care sector. For the type of work carers are expected to do, it’s no surprise there are a many variables which influence employee happiness. Relationships with colleagues and residents, morale, resources, shift lengths, pay and general working conditions being some of them.
If you’re having trouble retaining staff but don’t have budget to increase salaries, there are alternative and cost-friendly ways to satisfy your workforce which may persuade them staying at your business is the best option. Here are our top five tips:
1. Show you value your staff
Staff are less likely to look around for a new job if they feel like they are being valued. Showing appreciation sounds simple but it’s effective, and in many cases inexpensive when compared with the costs involved in advertising, hiring and training replacement staff. And you may already do this to a certain degree, but could you be doing more?
A little recognition of hard work and praise go a long way to reassuring people that they are in the right place. Setting up initiatives like ‘employee of the week / month’ give everybody a fair chance of being in the spotlight while demonstrating you are looking at performance. You could also arrange occasional challenges which offer rewards to motivate your team or throw celebrations for birthdays or work anniversaries to share support for personal events.
The term ‘value’ shouldn’t be automatically be associated with a number – for most people it’s a frame of mind. You can easily invest in your workforce by encouraging progression from within your business, by developing skills and entrusting individuals with more responsibility. Training programmes should be ongoing, not just for new starters. Once your staff have proven they are ready for the next step, nothing says ‘I value you’ more than a promotion.
2. Put the right systems in place
If you use outdated or clunky management systems, there’s a good chance it’s creating unnecessary work for your staff. A care management system is a solution for keeping your care records organised and accessible to aid you in your job. However, you should be conscious of whether it’s something your staff enjoy using or if it’s become a burden for them. Even the smallest annoying traits take their toll over time, and if you’re still using paper systems, those burdens take a physical toll.
Having a modern and efficient digital care management system like CareDocs in place ensures every action you take has been carefully thought through to ensure you get the most out of your system by doing as little as possible, without compromising on quality. This helps reduce admin, stress and improves care by allowing carers to spend more time with residents. Ultimately, a more rewarding job is worth staying for and the systems you use can be a factor in this.
3. Increase communications
Healthy communication with your staff is fundamental for seeing great results across the business. This doesn’t have to involve writing a company-wide email every day. Actually, it’s better sometimes to just listen. This can be accomplished by showing your face around the office, checking in, asking for concerns, holding regular meetings and requesting feedback. This is another way to let people know they are valued and a chance for you to act on any potential issues that might cause staff to leave.
Talking and collaboration is key for team building and boosting morale. Don’t be afraid to give honest updates on how the business is doing. People respond well to being kept in the loop and being made to feel included, through the good and bad. Not admitting when something isn’t going to plan to protect your staff can have the opposite effect. Some people may lose trust and feel like they need to find a new job because you have something to hide.
CareDocs is built very much around communication to ensure residents receive first-class person-centred care. When it comes to staff, we also have features including the secure Message Centre, which can be used to send instant messages to others throughout the business, and the Notice Board, which is a great platform for posting all types of announcements.
4. Offer a fun & forward-thinking working environment
For the majority of staff, work is ‘home away from home’. So, creating an interesting and aesthetically pleasing work environment contributes heavily toward making people feel like they’re in a place they want to return to for a long time. Consider making it colourful and personalise it where possible with plenty of plants and artwork. And don’t forget that promoting a culturally diverse workplace has great importance for making staff feel comfortable.
Sometimes it’s the little gestures which make the place enjoyable. Is there room if your budget for nicer coffee, free fruit, biscuits, milk or magazines? Is it possible to replace any lighting that is giving people headaches? Could the kitchen appliances use upgrading? Do you have designated staff-only rooms for different purposes (i.e. religious prayer)? If your business has more charm than your competitors, your staff might not feel enticed to go elsewhere.
5. Acknowledge the importance of work-life balance
We all know how essential work-life balance is for mental wellbeing, and more often than not we’re guilty of preaching it without practicing it. It’s not uncommon for employees to start a little earlier or finish a bit later, but if you notice certain individuals who are consistently working overtime, find out why and come up with a solution.
It could be that they are struggling to do specific tasks or lack proper training. If they are doing the job of two people, without support it’s clear they won’t be able to do this for very long and will be looking for another job sooner rather than later.
For people with very physically demanding jobs like care staff, being active outside of working hours is often the last thing you want to think about. But because the body and mind thrive on changes of routine, encouraging regular social events after work and break-time wellness activities will help your workers feel refreshed and energised. These can be simple short exercise classes or meditation breaks.
If these activities can happen outside the workplace, even better! More people are likely to participate if they can get a change of scenery – especially when in nature. Even if your staff don’t partake but see you are making an effort, their value for you as an employer will grow.
For some staff, just one of these methods may be enough to help them decide to stick around a while longer. For others, it will be a combination. Of course, keeping all staff forever isn’t possible. Life can play a huge part in decisions which are out of your control. However, by implementing some of these changes you will be in a stronger position to retain the next staff members you hire.
With enough effort and improvements you will be able to highlight more benefits in the application stage, such as using first-class care management software, offering team building exercises, providing freebies or progression opportunities. Attracting a higher than usual number of applicants to choose from will allow you to select staff who show a higher probability of staying with you.