Emma Platt, division manager of White Recruitment Health & Social Care, one of the UK’s foremost recruiters for care homes, discusses recruiting and retaining good-quality staff members…
As the UK healthcare sector continues to suffer from the worst staffing crisis in recent memory, more and more care homes are being forced to shut down. In addition to this, with an ageing population, the strain on these institutions is only set to increase. However, despite an unfavourable staffing situation, there are still many things that care homes can do to attract more nurses.
Offering and encouraging nurses to pursue training and development helps greatly with attraction, and also retention – with one survey suggesting 70% of workers will remain in their roles due to job-related training and development. By becoming known as a care home that gives nurses the chance to progress through the ranks, and actively encouraging them to take charge of their careers – you will be seen as a far more appealing place to work.
Tying in closely with CPD, mentoring is another key approach to boost attraction. By being known as an organisation that gives mentoring to young employees, provides them with feedback, guidance, and the opportunity to soak up the valuable experience within your workforce, you can take advantage of an easy, cost-effective way to bring more nurses into the fold.
It’s vital to offer employees as much as possible in terms of work-life balance, as the excessively demanding schedules of care workers are in part contributing to the current crisis. This can be done by introducing non-traditional working arrangements such as flexible working. The desire for this is clear, especially amongst younger workers, with 67% of millennials claiming ‘flexi-time’ was something they expected as standard from a job. Technological advances, such as e-rostering and e-job planning, should make this easier to implement.
A strong employer brand is key to talent attraction, and retention. Research shows 63% of employees admit that a trusted employer increases job satisfaction. Care homes need to build a relevant Employee Value Proposition (EVP) for potential recruits. This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as finding a recruitment partner that is well placed to assist with communicating an authentic, attractive employer brand. Ultimately, with plenty of more ‘fashionable’ brands to compete with, care homes must take action to get in front of young audiences and give people a glimpse of some of the high-tech, cutting edge work going in the sector.
Communicate your purpose
Any employer brand must also communicate your purpose across all touchpoints. Many workers nowadays, especially millennials and gen Z, are value-driven and committed to finding a company that aligns with their beliefs. By emphasising the ethical, socially minded aspects of working in a care home, and the difference that can be made in patients’ lives – recruitment will be a far easier job. Highlight the ways your organisation gives back and is actively engaged in the community, and make sure you are vocal about your core values – and that this is integrated into any employer branding.
No ‘one size fits all’ approach
Ultimately, there is no magic solution for solving the current staffing crisis in care homes. However, by embracing the above methods, those in the sector can begin turning things around. Fortunately, these solutions are interchangeable, and by embracing any one method, you will be going some way to implementing the others. For instance, by investing in flexible working solutions, your employer brand will benefit.