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Care professional retention: 6 tips to know

February 16, 2023
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Even if you’re not in the social care industry at all, it’s obvious that care professional retention is at an all time low - the news headlines, the negative employee reviews and the vacancies are front and centre. This article shares some tips from the experts on how to boost your own businesses retention rates, as well as reasons why it is so important to take good care of your amazing employees. 

What is a good level of care team retention? 

The average turnover rate across social care in the UK is 31% - the UK average across all employment sectors is 15%. So, for every person leaving a non-social care related job each day in the UK, there are two people leaving social care. The vacancy rate is also high; at 8% empty positions, compared to the UK average across all sectors of 3%. 

An extremely good level of retention for any business sits at around 90%. There are domiciliary care businesses that are achieving this high standard, and we’ll share some of the key ways that can help reach this below! However, there are some homecare businesses where the retention rate is almost at 0% - where almost every person at the business joins and leaves in under a year. There are several factors that go into this, and we’ll break some of those down as well.

Why is care professional retention important for my care businesses? 

If your business has low staff retention, it has a negative impact across almost every area of your organisation.

On the basic level, it’s essential to have a good level of team retention for continuity and quality person-centred care. It’s much harder to achieve a good or outstanding CQC rating if your care teams aren’t able to get into a good rhythm because of a steady stream of resignations and hires  - and without a good CQC rating, it’s impossible to successfully grow your business. Good retention also helps to reduce costs associated with training new staff, so a high turnover rate can really impact your bottom line.

Finally, when it comes to hiring new care professionals, a high turnover rate is a massive red flag for candidates. People talk, and reputation is everything - so not only could you find yourself losing quality care professionals, but you’ll find it harder and harder to replace them as well.

Article continues below this video!

Birdie spoke to real Care Professionals at Alina Homecare to see how they find using Birdie:

6 tips to increase care professional retention

Competitive salaries 

There’s a lot of truth in the saying ‘Spend money to make money.’ Offering a competitive salary means that your business will inevitably attract the highest quality candidates.These more experienced care professionals will in turn likely provide higher standards of care, and improve the reputation of your entire operation!  Based on their experiences, they will likely also be able to provide suggestions on how to improve the business as a whole. 

Many homecare businesses choose to offer lower salaries in an attempt to reduce costs - however, that will only end up having a negative impact on your business in the longer run. Prioritise competitive salaries for your care team, and higher retention will follow.

Good training

A core reason people churn within a year is because of feeling lost and overwhelmed. Putting in place regular, helpful training (along with a dedicated onboarding process for all new care professionals) will go a long way to alleviating this. Beyond just standard compliance related trainings, many domiciliary care businesses with high retention rates offer personal development courses and workshops on social care-adjacent topics like community gardening and music therapy. 

A diverse and engaging training offering is a fantastic way to boost your care professional’s confidence, and provide well-rounded job satisfaction.

Practical benefits

Many domiciliary care businesses can fall into the trap of stripping back benefits to the point where a care professional has nothing more to their role than the literal delivery of care. Being able to provide a range of benefits that can really enhance a person’s life and wellbeing is an excellent way to support your care professionals and raise retention rates. 

These don’t always have to be expensive - some benefits can include certain number of paid mental health days, enhanced maternity/paternity leave or the option to take a sabbatical. It’s also quite common to be able to get discounted rates for employees for things like gym memberships, health insurance or childcare support. 

Speak with your team to learn what really matters to them, and try to create a range of benefits that will enhance their lives accordingly. 

Flexible working arrangements

More control over days and hours worked, being matched with clients that suit their personality and skill sets, and being able to easily plan their days and partners in advance - flexible working is a crucial thing you can offer your care professionals. Technology like Birdie can help do the heavy lifting to get this sort of flexible freedom in place. 

With smart technology and auto-suggestions, Birdie can help you match carers to customers based on availability and care continuity, so you’re always two steps ahead. Identify ideal client and carer matches based on availability, travel time between visits and cut scheduling time with assistive suggestions. Find out more here

A clear progression path

Part of the reason a career in social care industry can feel unappealing to new recruits or jaded care professionals is because it has a reputation for being a ‘dead-end’ job. This is simply not true - there are many avenues to go down in domiciliary care, whether that is becoming a registered manager, specialising in a specific type of care or opening a new business or franchise.

By supporting care professionals to pursue their own professional development, and keeping those potential ‘next steps’ always visible, it will not only help them to visualise a long term career at your homecare business but will help the organisation become better as a whole.

A culture of recognition

Recognition is important. In such a demanding job, faced with the real lives and concerns of the people they care for, care professionals deserve recognition and validation. Without this, it’s easy to feel isolated. This recognition can range from a simple ‘Thank you’ all the way to a promotion - but the most important thing is that a culture of recognition is built into the way the business runs. This could look like regular 1-2-1 catch ups discussing wins and feedback, a regular round up of all the top achievements the team has done or awards for positive care recipient and family feedback. The most important thing is that it’s consistent, genuine and can lead to a tangible reward like a promotion..

In conclusion, a good level of retention can be achieved by creating a supportive work environment, offering competitive salaries, providing adequate training opportunities, and making sure that employees feel valued and appreciated. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the team has access to resources such as support networks and health & safety information. By taking these steps, it is possible to create an environment where teams feel supported and motivated which will lead to greater job satisfaction and ultimately better retention rates.

Your business already delivers great care. With Birdie by your side, you’ll take it to the next level.

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