One of the most serious issues in care home recruitment is that many professionals don’t actually consider them to be a workplace that could facilitate career progression. After all, when most people think of nurses, they probably think of those operating in hospitals instead of employees in nursing and dementia homes. But what other challenges does the industry face and what can care providers do remain ahead of the competition and secure the best professionals in the market?
The main issue, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes down to cost. According to recent statistics from PayScale, there is an estimated £7000 gap in the average salary between care home and NHS nurses. And it’s unlikely the issue will be rectified anytime soon when we consider the stress that the minimum wage increase has put on many providers. In greater terms, the health service also offers a more attractive package to its employees by offering the likes of pension plans and a much bigger support network. The issue is even more acute in areas like Sheffield, where there seems to be a particularly heavy NHS presence.
Consequently, employers need to find more creative ways to attract professionals to want to work for them. In recent times, these have included offering perks like paying annual pin fees while others have opted for a ‘golden handshake’ (a payment given to an employee who has been made redundant or retired early) to be paid in installments, which many homes have labelled as a less impactful investment.
Other homes have sidestepped the pay issue by being more flexible with their employees and allowing them to have freedom over their working hours and benefits packages. Returning mothers, for example, make up a big proportion of the workforce, but not many can work a traditional 8-8 care working hours contract and need more control when it comes to designing their employee contracts. By offering flexible working hours and half days, care homes are able to tap into those professionals who may need extra hours in the mornings or evenings; such as mothers who may need mornings available to take their children to school.
It’s not just working hours, but also benefits packages that care homes are tailoring to the preferences of their employees. Mothercare vouchers as an incentive might not motivate a male professional in the same way they would a parent, and by offering a ‘menu’ of potential benefits for employees to choose from, they’re likely to have much more success in exploring their motivators and drivers; imparting a happy and productive atmosphere to the workplace.
However, an efficient method for care homes to overcome these challenges is by introducing a holistic approach to the working environment, such as; managers using appropriate services to tackle absences, clean facilities and a staff inclusion strategy. By being a supportive employer and offering practices like management training and development opportunities, care homes can strive for excellence in acquiring the very best professionals in the industry.
Danielle Moore is a lead consultant for Clayton Recruitment’s Nursing Division. Danielle works closely with local and national clients in the private sector to cater for all of their recruitment needs. Working with qualified staff of all backgrounds, she has built up a large portfolio of clients when they have required experienced nurses and managers to enhance their services.