How to stop workers quitting from your care home

A recent report has highlighted the staffing crisis besetting the adult social care sector in the UK. Staff turnover and vacancy rates have exploded in the last five years. While funding is an issue (when hasn’t it been?), the report concludes that “there is widespread agreement that workers feel undervalued and there are limited opportunities for career progression”. Yet the vacancy rate for registered care managers is the highest rate in care.

In this article, you’ll learn how you could buck the trend in the sector, by attracting and retaining more staff as you work towards attaining and maintaining an outstanding CQC rating.

How bad is staff retention in the care sector?

The report by the National Audit Office (NAO) paints a grim picture of staff recruitment and retention in the adult social care sector. Key numbers include that in 2016/17 in England:

  • There were 1.34 million jobs in the adult social care sector
  • The vacancy rate for jobs across the sector was 6.6% (the national average was around 2.6%)
  • Staff turnover hit 27.8% across the sector
  • The vacancy rate for registered managers was 11.3%

Even more damning is the report’s finding that 33.8% of care workers who support adults with daily tasks leave within a year.

These statistics would be more than terrible in an industry that is standing still. But the government has forecast that by 2035, the number of full-time equivalent jobs in adult social care in England will have increased to 2 million. Your care home will need to use strategies to attract and retain quality employees in an increasingly competitive market.

Why is staff retention so important?

When staff turnover is high, your care home’s finances and reputation suffer. More pressure is put on managers. Residents feel less secure. Agency staff needed to cover for staff shortages are expensive.

The constant cycle of advertising, interviewing, and hiring new staff costs money. When employees leave and new people start work, interviews must be conducted, and systems updated. Time spent on this process, and inducting new employees, is a hidden cost that cannot simply be measured financially. Managers and HR are taken away from other business tasks. The constant revolving of the recruitment door impedes the progress of your business.

Additionally, high staff turnover rates discourage people applying for vacant positions, and the perception of the level of care provided falls. You attract fewer and lower-quality applicants. The level of care provided suffers. Your customer numbers fall.

The CQC values staff when it inspects care homes

In 2015, only two out of every 100 care homes that were inspected received an ‘outstanding’ rating from the CQC. These care homes, and others in the top quartile of high performers, had some things in common. Among these was consistency of staffing. These care homes had a turnover rate of less than 10%.

How can you improve your staff retention record?

Among other factors, lower staff turnover directly (and positively) impacts:

  • Costs
  • Ability to execute business growth strategies
  • Reputation as an employer
  • Reputation as a care provider
  • Profits

Clearly, employing strategies and processes to boost staff retention in your care home  should be imperative in your business planning. The question is, what strategies should you employ?

Take a lead from the clues given by the NAO

The NAO report provides a big clue as to how to retain your staff, when it observes “widespread agreement that workers feel undervalued and there are limited opportunities for career progression”.

People want to feel valued, and they want a career. Training has been shown to increase loyalty. When you are committed to helping your employees develop their careers, they immediately become more engaged in your business. By providing the training your people need to progress, they will feel appreciated as an integral part of a successful team. Your care home benefits from:

  • Lower staff turnover
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Fewer safety incidents
  • Better quality of work

In addition, as training increases the quality of your employees, you’ll find that:

  • Business opportunities increase
  • Dignity and choices for residents increase
  • Your CQC rating should improve
  • The quality of care provided improves

The question for care homes is, can they afford to include formal training as a business strategy? What if we told you it could be possible at zero cost to your care home? To discover how, contact Strive Care today.


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