A care home’s workforce is effectively the “family” a patient becomes a part of when he/she enters a care home. The employees of the care home are the new “family” that will determine whether a patient thrives or languishes in a care home setting.
If a patient feels valued and well looked after, feels surrounded by staff who care and that his/her needs are being met whilst still being able to retain as much independence as possible, then they are likely to settle well and adapt quickly to living in that new environment.
The composition of staff that constitute a care home workforce is therefore paramount to ensuring the success and reputation of any care home setting.
Employees need to be caring by nature, responsible, flexible and adaptable. They need to have a positive mind set, be people of integrity and want to make a difference in a person’s life and the environment in which they work. Finding and recruiting the right people, investing in them and retaining them is the core to this success.
Tips for Building an Effective Care Home Team
Tip 1: Investing in Attracting the Right People
Attract top employees from the outset by investing in quality promotional materials regarding upcoming staff vacancies. Use thorough screening of job applications, including an interview process for every role where candidates are put through their paces by the interviewing panel whilst at the same time given the opportunity to ask questions about the role, their potential responsibilities, training opportunities, pay and progression.
Check whether applicants are looking for a “job” or a “career” – they’re different. Let them know they will play a key role in the care home and recruit based on positive shared values, excellent skills, a mindset that cares and a sense of humour.
Tip 2: Employee Onboarding & Ongoing Support
Offer quality onboarding experiences where new staff quickly learn the skills required to fulfil their roles and responsibilities. If possible, offer a mentor to guide them in their early days and to stay alongside them as they grow into the role. Don’t stop at onboarding though. Ensure a rigorous process of high quality, ongoing training is in place to keep all staff up to speed with developments, policies and procedures, to enhance their skills and facilitate career progression in their roles.
Alongside training, have incentives and rewards in place so that staff feel valued in their workplace. Pay competitive salaries, have pay progression systems in place and offer access to a reputable pension scheme. If you value your staff, they will stay. And retention of staff is by far the most cost-effective way to ensure a fully trained and effective workforce stays in place.
Tip 3: Use Technology to Support Staff
Whilst understandably the human face of the care home workforce is paramount for patients within a care home environment, the benefits modern day technology can bring cannot be underplayed.
Increased training and implementation of technologies such as care home software, can greatly enhance and simplify care planning, daily structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures, freeing up staff from the daily grind of administrative tasks and placing them back on the front line caring for patients and enabling them to do the job they signed up for in the first place.
CareDocs covers all aspects of a client’s care plan in a fully personalised and person-centred format that is easy to read and simple to maintain, update and manage. No laborious word processing input is required as assessments follow a dynamic structure with questions changing according to client responses ensuring a comprehensive and fully personalised care plan is achieved. And with its ready accessibility and user-friendly documentation, CareDocs rules out once and for all duplication of paperwork across the workforce.
Tip 4: Understand your Employees and What they Value
Consider the needs of your staff and develop a flexible and adaptable workplace and a flexible and adaptable shift pattern: whilst 9 til 5 shifts might work for someone initially starting out their career with your care home, changing home and family circumstances might mean adapting those hours will enable a valuable member of staff to stay on.
Continue to value your staff, whatever their roles, however long – or short – they have worked for you. Hold group meetings where everyone has their say, encourage feedback, hold social events, “treat” your staff on ad hoc basis to put a smile on their faces –chocolate chip cookies or doughnuts are always a winner!
It’s also often beneficial for managers and senior members to be seen in the care home: both staff and patients will notice, and it will make a difference. A workforce that is looked after will perform well and will ensure its clients always come first and are always well cared for.
Get Started with CareDocs
A care home should be precisely what it says it is: a “home” for people who can no longer live independently in their own home and a place that “cares” for each and every person who lives there.
Drawing together a thriving and effective care home workforce needs investment from the top both financially and personally as it is paramount to get it right from the outset. You may already have staff in situ. This is good: invest in them, train them, keep them up to date with advancements in technologies and policies and procedures so that they are competent, confident and strong individuals well able to mentor and encourage new staff to the care home. Be aware of demands made on your staff and what is more important: people or paperwork? Should an employee really be faced with the dilemma of walking away from a distressed client to write up a document?
Look for new technologies that are out there, developed to ease word processing workload, simplify administrative tasks and put the worker back in the heart of the care home community.
This is where CareDocs can help. For an informal discussion of what CareDocs can offer, please contact us today.