With over 110,000 vacancies across the social care sector, we’re currently facing an acute recruitment and retention crisis. Vaccinations becoming a condition of deployment, Brexit, and burnout thanks to the pandemic have all contributed to people leaving the sector and a struggle to recruit new talent.
Sam Rhodes, Recruitment Manager at the UK’s leading provider of specialist dementia care Vida Healthcare, shares her top tips for care home operators to develop a strong workplace culture and recruit and retain talent effectively…
Invest in career opportunities: Employers who understand why providing opportunities for career development is important will be more successful in recruiting and retaining talent. Showing compassion and interest in the personal development of employees will create a positive workplace culture and working environment which retains existing staff and attracts new talent. Employers could invest in a training platform to provide learning resources and career development tools to help staff deliver best practice and identify new skills.
Protecting mental health: Investment in mental health initiatives, such as a counselling service, mental health wellbeing sessions, or appointing a mental health leader, will ensure the health and wellbeing of staff is easier to maintain, and reduce pressures on services and the workforce. A mental health crisis within a care setting can lead to ineffective care delivery, high staff turnover, and a place of work which doesn’t attract new talent.
Keep staff connected: Connectivity with residents and their family members is crucial for staff. Opportunities to develop personal relationships with residents is important to engender trust and reduce stress, while connectivity with family members enables staff to showcase the crucial work they’re doing. Connections with family members are also likely to drive positive testimonials which provide carers with a sense of achievement and purpose in what they’re doing. Connectivity can be generated in a number of ways, for example apps where staff can share pictures and videos of residents with their families.
Understand recruitment: Social care employers which invest time in understanding the role of the recruitment process will generate greater opportunities to source and employ talented individuals. The recruitment process is also a key factor in confirming what potential staff and current colleagues are looking for from their workplace, whether it be mental health support or opportunities to socialise with service users, so that they can be supported effectively.
Although recruitment and retention has been irreversibly changed, if reasonable steps are taken to ensure new and current staff are adequately supported and sufficiently supervised, we should begin to reverse the current crisis.
We must take advantage of the progression we’ve experienced during the pandemic and ensure it doesn’t slow to reduce staff turnover and attract new talent to the sector.