March 20, 2024

What you risk in poor retention: Nurturing domiciliary care excellence

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Where compassion and dedication are the pillars of running a successful homecare business, the constant turnover of care professionals poses a significant challenge and can pose a huge hindrance to your success and growth. High staff turnover can have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only your bottom line but also the quality of care delivered to your valued care recipients.

This article explores the multifaceted issue of poor retention and offers actionable insights to help you foster a more stable and rewarding work environment for your care professionals. Discover how embracing technology, nurturing employee satisfaction, and investing in training and development can transform your business and the lives of those you serve.

Counting the hidden costs

Before delving into solutions, it's crucial to understand the depth of the problem. Staff turnover can take a substantial toll on your domiciliary care business's financial health. Each time a care professional leaves, you incur recruitment costs, training expenses, and productivity losses. It's not just about the upfront expense of hiring; it's about the long-term financial drain that comes with constantly replacing staff. Losing experienced, knowledgeable and well-trained staff who know your business well can be detrimental to agency costs.

What you can do today:

  • As a starting point, calculate your staff turnover costs. By understanding the financial impact, you can better appreciate the urgency of addressing this issue. Use a turnover cost calculator tool, which can be found online, to estimate the true costs of turnover in your specific context.

As Harvard Business Review aptly notes,

"Research shows that happy employees are 12% more productive and are more likely to stay with their current employer."

This highlights the importance of addressing employee satisfaction to combat high turnover rates. [Harvard Business Review]

Prioritising care worker well-being

Without care professionals, your care recipients would be left without the essential support they need and ultimately your business would cease to exist. Fostering employee satisfaction is, therefore, paramount to reducing turnover and maintaining high-quality care services.

To improve job satisfaction, start by offering fair compensation that reflects the demanding nature of the work. Providing flexible schedules can help care professionals better balance their work and personal lives. Additionally, create opportunities for career development and growth within your organisation. When care professionals see a clear path forward, they are more likely to stay committed to your business.

What you can do today:

  • Conduct anonymous employee surveys (via Google Forms, SurveyMoney, or even a physical ‘suggestion box’). These surveys can reveal crucial insights into the specific issues affecting your workforce and help you tailor solutions to address them effectively. Take the time to listen to your care professionals and act on their feedback.

Read also - Why your best care professionals are quitting

Streamlining operations with technology

Embracing digital tools and solutions is a game-changer in the domiciliary care sector. Technology can streamline scheduling, care management, and reporting, reducing administrative burdens on care professionals and improving efficiency. By using technology, care professionals can save valuable time, which can be better spent on providing quality care.

However, not all SME domiciliary care businesses may have the resources or immediate capacity to implement complex technology solutions. A manual approach to improving efficiency includes optimising scheduling through careful planning and minimising travel time between care recipients. While these manual methods may not be as efficient as digital tools, they can still make a significant difference in reducing operational inefficiencies.

A Deloitte report underlines the importance of embracing digital tools, stating that

"Digital tools in healthcare can improve productivity by up to 25%, allowing staff to focus more on patient care."

What you can do today:

  • Explore technology solutions tailored to the needs and scale of your domiciliary care business. Invest in user-friendly software that can simplify scheduling, automate reporting, and improve communication between your care teams and care professionals.

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It's not easy being a homecare provider! Long hours, situations change quickly and people need your support every moment of the day. We asked the team at Walfinch Mansfield why they feel so supported by Birdie - and what kind of difference that makes to their day:

Investing in career growth

One key factor in retaining care professionals is their sense of career advancement and personal growth within your organisation. Care professionals who see a clear path for progression are more likely to stay committed to their roles.

Offer ongoing training and development opportunities to help care professionals enhance their skills and knowledge. Encourage mentorship programs, where experienced care professionals can guide and support newer team members. By nurturing their growth, you not only retain valuable talent but also elevate the overall quality of care your business provides.

It’s advisable to have a career path for each job role in your business, this gives employees oversight of what their next possible step is, and what they need to do to get there. In doing this, it’s vital to keep the paths up-to-date and implement quarterly reviews to see how they’re doing, advise on what they’re doing well and what else they need to do to achieve the next step in their career. The most important tip here is to ensure you give the tools to employees to achieve these next steps - if this ‘next step’ feels impossible and unattainable, employees will inevitably seek work elsewhere.

Aberdeen Group underscores the importance of employee training and development, noting that

"Companies that invest in employee training and development experience a 24% higher profit margin."

What can you do today?

  • Create a structured training and career development plan for your care professionals. Identify areas where they can grow and acquire new skills, and provide the resources and guidance they need to achieve their goals.

Fostering a supportive environment

Lastly, building a positive workplace culture is essential for retaining care professionals. A nurturing environment that values teamwork, recognises individual contributions, and promotes open communication can significantly reduce turnover.

Team-building activities and recognition programs can help foster a sense of belonging and appreciation among your care professionals. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions and work socials can ensure that their voices are heard and their concerns addressed promptly. By creating a supportive and inclusive workplace culture, you create a strong foundation for employee retention.

Gallup's research emphasises the impact of workplace culture on turnover, stating that

"A strong workplace culture reduces turnover by 27% and increases employee productivity by 20%."

What can you do today?

  • Schedule the first team-building activity or recognition event within your domiciliary care business. Invest in building a culture where care professionals feel valued and supported.

Read also - Struggling from a lack of staff?

Poor retention is not a minor concern but a major risk that domiciliary care businesses in the UK must address head-on. By understanding the hidden costs, prioritising employee satisfaction, embracing technology, investing in career growth, and fostering a supportive workplace culture, you can take significant steps towards improving retention rates. Whether you choose digital solutions or manual methods, the key is to act swiftly to ensure the stability of your workforce and the quality of care you provide. Your care recipients and care professionals deserve nothing less.

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