Training your staff for a career in care – the key to retaining staff

Employee retention is important in any business. In care homes, it’s critical. As we discussed in our article “How to stop workers quitting your care home”, if you suffer from high staff turnover rates it impacts your business by:

  • Increasing your costs
  • Harming your reputation as an employer
  • Hurting your reputation as a care provider
  • Damaging your ability to execute new business strategies

On top of this, the CQC inspection data from 2015 shows that care homes in the top quartile of performers had staff turnover rates of less than 10% – compared to the sector average of more than 27%.

So, it’s critical that you retain staff. The question is, how? As part of our work in this area, we’ve identified six ways to boost staff retention. One of these is to provide exceptional training as an aid to personal development.

Why do care homes suffer high staff turnover?

High staff turnover has its foundations deep in the culture of a care home. Among the list of reasons for people leaving are:

  • Low employee morale
  • No clear career path
  • Absence of recognition
  • Poor employee-manager relationships

These types of issues take the employee on a journey that leads to lack of commitment, dissatisfaction with the organisation, and eventually resignation.

Care homes that have broken this cycle have recognised the value of investing in the knowledge, skills, and ability of their employees. You only need to analyse CQC inspection reports as evidence of this.

Training unlocks the door to personal and professional development

A 2014 report from BlessingWhite (and as reported in HR Magazine) found that employees are more likely to remain with an organisation if they are given the opportunity to develop. BlessingWhite’s research team surveyed 2,000 employees of all ages, asking about:

  • Career intentions
  • The level of input they want from their employers
  • How employers are trying to adapt to changing attitudes

Worryingly, the research found that almost half felt their next job move would be to another organisation due to lack of development opportunities with their present employer. Despite this, most organisations are investing less in training and development. In response to the report’s findings, Claire McCartney of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) told HR Magazine:

We’ve seen from our research that training spends are down. It’s really important that employers identify the development needs of their employees. This will also help employers avoid being constantly hit by high recruitment costs as staff seek development elsewhere.

The catch 22 in care homes

There’s a catch 22 in care homes. You understand that developing your employees will benefit your business in several ways. For example:

  • A more highly skilled, engaged workforce will be more flexible and adaptable
  • Your staff retention numbers will increase
  • You’ll suffer lower absenteeism rates
  • Quality of care improves, and costs fall

However, training takes time and can be expensive (though it could also be free to you – contact us to find out how). The catch 22 is:

  • Accessing the benefits of training your staff costs time and (sometimes) money
  • Time and money are the two things all care homes are short of

What you need is a strategy to develop your employees with recognised training.

How do you develop a staff retention strategy?

Your training strategy begins at the hiring stage and should never come to an end. After all, personal growth doesn’t end during a career. Here are four steps to help build a staff retention strategy that benefits from the emphasis on training and personal development:

1. Hire the right people

Consider what type of person you need to employ. Seek those who provide a good fit of skills and culture. If an applicant won’t fit in with your organisation, its people, and managers, then it doesn’t matter how highly qualified and talented they are. It’s easier to build relationships with people who fit, and impossible to do so with people who don’t.

2. Provide personal development opportunities from day one

Speak to your employees about their careers, and what motivates them. Provide the training needed for them to progress in their job and in their career. Set goals and provide support to help them achieve the aims of training.

By investing in training your employees, you are providing them with the tools to develop personally and professionally – and this is what today’s employees crave above all else.

3. Ensure that care home managers communicate and collaborate

Some HR experts believe that the relationship between manager and employee leads to 80% of employee turnover. Employees want to know that they are valued. They want to know that their manager cares about them; and believes in them.

To improve relationships with their people, care home managers must be given the time and support to get to know their employees and colleagues in a collaborative environment. Many care home managers would benefit from coaching in communication, and certainly from prioritising their time to show their support for their staff.

4. Recognise qualifications and adjust the forward plan

When an employee achieves the aims of training – perhaps passing their NVQ Diploma in Health and Social Care, for example – recognise their achievement. You may give them a pay rise in line with their new status, but the reward doesn’t have to be financial. The care home manager who has built a good relationship with individual members of staff will know what makes them tick – personalised rewards reinforce the feeling of being cared for.

Remember, too, that people want to continue to grow. Now is the time to have a conversation about the next stage in their personal development plan. By doing so, you will reaffirm your belief in them and that you want what they want: their career to continue to develop. And it is this attitude and commitment that will develop the employee’s trust and loyalty in their employer.

To discuss training strategies, and decide between NVQ Diplomas and apprenticeships, contact Strive Care today. Prepare to be surprised, as we show you how training your staff could cost your care home nothing.



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