There are various ways that care home owners, managers and providers can look to promote recruitment and retention as independent strategies – but one thing that ties both is the culture and environment in any care operation. The conditions in a care home can be a powerful incentive for staff to remain, as well as incentivising new joiners – so getting this right is a key part of the jigsaw for solving for recruitment and retention issues.
The care force is incredibly diverse, drawing on people from vastly different backgrounds, ethnicities and social experiences. This means there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution that will make everyone happy. Also, as employment requirements, economic pressures and demands have changed, the same incentives that a care provider may have previously offered will no longer carry the same weight – making the same job listings increasingly less effective in the market. Whilst this may give the impression that care recruitment is an unwinnable struggle, modernisation can help your care home/s engage better with current demands.
But your recruitment campaign shouldn’t start with your job ad. Rather, care homes that want to win the recruitment battle should start by focusing on creating a better environment within their organisation first; once you succeed in creating a positive care culture, the same benefits will help to improve the attractiveness of recruitment postings. Perks, benefits and opportunities that you create for existing staff are all important pieces to shaping recruitment marketing and showing potential joiners what your care service does differently that makes it stand out against your competition.
What strategies can care providers use to improve their work environment?
Luckily, there are already a number of strategies that care employers can deploy that will promote better standards and job satisfaction – without incurring high additional costs.
- Cultural education: By offering inclusive training for care workers, managers and leaders, diverse staff communities will gain a better understanding of their colleagues’ differences and build stronger relationships.
- Communication: Provide more opportunities for staff to be involved with the decision-making within a care organisation and voice their opinions about the strengths and weaknesses they see within their daily roles.
- Learn from experience: Have frontline care workers act as mentors to new organisational leaders. This will help new managers get up to speed quickly with any issues and benefits of your care service – as well as paving the way for open and honest discussion in future.
- Take a people-first approach: Looking after employee wellbeing is more than just agreeing to their sick leave. Care work can be extremely pressured and stressful, so make sure to provide resources, such as The Care Workers Charity, for support – and talk with staff to learn where the most common factors of stress are.
- Change starts at the top: The most effective way of implementing better values within a care service is to live by them! Empower employees by demonstrating that care managers and team leaders abide by the same standards and set a positive example for a fair and balanced care environment.
If you need help bringing new practices and systems into place within a care home or across a larger care home group, consider bringing in an independent care home consultant to help evaluate what may work best for your care service. Having the perspective and recommendations of an external professional can be especially important for any proposed change to care protocols or culture, as a fresh pair of eyes may be able to spot any potential issues that have become part of accepted regular practice. This is especially true when it comes to updating to new, digital methods that more accurately track employee performance, standards and feedback, as some care managers and operational teams may have become accustomed to older methods that are not identifying potential problems.
What can have a negative impact on care culture?
It can be difficult to say what does or doesn’t work for any particular care home or care home group, as there can be many different factors that can affect each organisation differently.
A key aspect that many care providers may worry about is the salary they offer compared to local and regional competition. Whilst offering more money will always tend to attract higher interest in care roles, retention and turnover will still suffer if the culture has not been improved alongside it.
Another danger is that care operators may find themselves in a bidding war – which can have a detrimental effect on care commercials without solving the core issues that can boost staff engagement and loyalty which have simpler and more cost-effective solutions.
Within a care structure, it’s also paramount that everything should be done to prevent a toxic work environment from forming, as it can harm both the care staff and the business. This means that utmost attention needs to be given to any reports of: abusive or poor management; hostility; mistrust; fear of consequences; non-inclusiveness; and intentional miscommunication.
Full responsibility must be given to ensuring that care management teams are really listening and engaging with care workers, taking their views seriously and dealing with any underlying issues effectively and fairly.
Times have changed, so care providers, owners and managers need to keep up – or lose out! Listen to your people and be honest with what the feedback and data are telling you, such as where to improve and what methods are no longer effective. Don’t be tempted to accept excuses; rather, start now on working towards creating an environment where potential candidates want to join your care home – and stay working at your care home for longer.
If you want to boost staff recruitment and retention in your care home to ensure robust commercials, our team of independent care consultants can help. Please get in touch for a free initial consultation.