March 20, 2024

Why your best care professionals are quitting

Table of contents

In the competitive environment of domiciliary care in the UK, maintaining a dedicated and skilled workforce is essential. However, many domiciliary care businesses face the challenge of high staff turnover.

This article delves into the reasons behind this and provides owners and managers of homecare businesses with practical, actionable solutions to retain their best care professionals, thus ensuring high-quality care for care recipients.

Understanding burnout in domiciliary care

Burnout in domiciliary care professionals stems from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It's characterised by emotional exhaustion, reduced personal accomplishment, and depersonalisation, often leading to decreased job performance, as well as impacting their personal lives. Burnout can lead to a decline in the quality of care provided, increased errors, and higher staff turnover rates.

A study by the Health Service Journal reported that over 40% of healthcare workers experienced burnout symptoms during their careers.

Your team may not always know they’re experiencing burnout, and addressing this very real and common issue in the industry is to recognise the signs of burnout, such as frequent sickness, reduced efficiency, and a negative attitude towards work.

First Steps Towards Addressing Burnout

  • Assessment and Awareness: Regularly assess staff for signs of burnout through surveys or one-on-one check-ins. The Stress and Burnout Questionnaire by Mind Tools (mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_08.htm) can be a starting point.
  • Implement Mental Health Check-ins: Establish a routine for mental health check-ins, creating an open environment where staff feel comfortable discussing their stress and challenges.
  • Offering stress management workshops: Organise workshops focused on stress management techniques such as mindfulness, time management, and relaxation techniques. The Mental Health Foundation (mentalhealth.org.uk) offers resources on managing stress.
  • Promoting a healthy work-life balance can be effective: Encourage a healthy work-life balance through flexible scheduling, ensuring adequate breaks, and discouraging overtime except when absolutely necessary.

Resources like the NHS's Every Mind Matters (nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/) provide valuable tools for managing workplace stress.

Navigating financial incentives and job satisfaction

Financial incentives are closely tied to job satisfaction and retention in all realms of work, especially domiciliary care. Low wages, compared to the demanding nature of the job, can lead to dissatisfaction and high turnover rates.

The UK Homecare Association reports that fair remuneration is critical for staff retention.

First Steps Towards Enhancing Financial Incentives:

  1. Market Analysis: Conduct a comprehensive market analysis to understand the current industry-standard wages for domiciliary care professionals. Resources like PayScale (payscale.com) can provide insights into average salaries in the sector.
  2. Evaluate and Adjust Compensation Packages: Assess your current compensation packages in light of this analysis. Consider factors such as the cost of living, the complexity of care tasks, and the level of experience required.

Some other things to be considered are performance-based bonuses, enhanced benefits such as increased annual leave to promote a healthy work-life balance and career-advancing opportunities. Without considering these factors, you’re at risk of losing your best care professionals.

Article continues below this video

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:

Advancing career opportunities in care

Limited career advancement in domiciliary care can result in a stagnant workforce. Care professionals often seek opportunities to grow and develop their skills. Creating a clear career progression plan within your organisation can motivate staff and reduce turnover. Care professionals, like individuals in any field, seek opportunities for professional growth and advancement. In a sector where the work can be physically and emotionally demanding, career progression can provide a sense of achievement and purpose. Providing clear career advancement opportunities can lead to a more skilled and competent workforce, which in turn improves the quality of care provided to your care recipients.

First Steps to Enhance Career Opportunities:

  1. Assess Current Opportunities: Evaluate the existing career progression opportunities within your organization. Are there clear paths for advancement? Do employees understand what these paths are?
  2. Consult with Staff: Engage with your care professionals to understand their career aspirations and the types of advancement opportunities they are seeking.

Extra resources: Skills for Care (skillsforcare.org.uk) provides resources for career development in the care sector.

Embracing digital tools for efficient management

Leveraging digital tools is becoming increasingly essential within this sector. These tools can greatly improve operational efficiency, enhance the quality of care, and streamline various administrative processes. Understanding how to effectively integrate these digital solutions is key to modernising care services and meeting the evolving needs of both care professionals and care recipients. Digital tools can automate and streamline administrative tasks like scheduling, billing, and record-keeping, freeing up time for care professionals to focus on direct care activities, and let them do what they do best - care!

First Steps Toward Implementing Digital Solutions:

  1. Assess Needs and Goals: Identify specific areas where digital tools could improve efficiency and care quality. Consider factors like time spent on administrative tasks, communication gaps, or challenges in care coordination.
  2. Research and Selection: Research various digital tools available in the market. Focus on user-friendly, scalable, and secure solutions. The Care Quality Commission (cqc.org.uk) provides guidelines on choosing appropriate digital tools.
  3. Pilot Testing: Before a full rollout, conduct a pilot test with a small group to understand the tool's effectiveness and gather feedback.

Extra resources: The Care Quality Commission (cqc.org.uk) offers guidance on selecting appropriate digital tools for care services.

Read also - What you risk in poor retention: Nurturing domiciliary care excellence

Fostering a supportive and inclusive work culture

A supportive and inclusive work culture is fundamental for retaining staff in the domiciliary care sector. It involves creating an environment where all team members feel valued, respected, and have a sense of belonging. Regular team-building activities, diversity and inclusion training, regular team socials and open communication channels can foster a positive work culture.

First Steps to Building This Culture:

  1. Assessment of Current Culture: Conduct an assessment of the current workplace culture. Surveys, interviews, or focus groups can be used to gather feedback from staff on how they perceive the current environment.
  2. Developing a Plan: Based on the assessment, develop a strategy to address any areas of concern and to strengthen the aspects of the culture that are already working well.

Extra resources: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (cipd.co.uk) offers resources on building inclusive workplaces.

By addressing these critical issues with clear and actionable steps, domiciliary care business owners and managers can create a more stable and satisfied workforce, whilst retaining the best possible team. This not only benefits the care professionals but also ensures high-quality care for the care recipients, ultimately contributing to the success and sustainability of the business.

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