How can employers in the care industry accommodate changing staff demands?

November 6, 2017

Staff shortages within the healthcare industry continues to be a hot topic in the news as of late, with many employers finding it difficult to not only attract new members of staff, but also, retain existing ones.

This means that employers in this industry need to be on the ball to attract and keep the most talented, hard-working individuals.

Recent research from CV-Library has revealed that care professionals believe certain changes within the workplace environment would make them more likely to want to stay within the company. This means that employers might consider retaining staff members through fairer and more appealing working conditions. Below we discuss how employers in this industry can accommodate changing employee demands through better dress codes, fewer hours and a healthier work-life balance. 

Adapting dress codes to meet changing workplace trends

Throughout the years dress codes are known to change along with various fashion trends so it’s not surprising that almost half (48.40%) of care workers think that the workplace dress code is outdated. While uniform is necessary for hygiene reasons when dealing with patients it’s also important to accommodate changing employee demands. After all, being stuck in past trends isn’t ideal to attract fresh and new faces. 

It’s understandable that getting rid of the workplace uniform may not be completely beneficial for this industry, besides, patients will be more likely to trust someone in uniform and patient safety is vital. Yet, a compromise is always possible where old fashion uniform styles can be combined with modern standards to accommodate employee needs. For instance, employers may consider giving employees the option to wear shoes of their choice, providing they work with health and safety guidelines. This means that care workers can feel more comfortable at work - crucial when you’re on your feet all day.  A staff nurse with a patient

It’s important to note that the right seasonal clothes should be provided. This may mean warmer clothes in the winter, and cooler lighter clothes in the summer. If employees feel comfortable it may make them more productive. So it’s important to remember to accommodate to the needs to your employees as well as patients.

The opportunity for a shorter working week

The prospect of a shorter working week is enticing for many, and while it may initially seem far-fetched, 69.80% of care workers agree that a shorter working week would be beneficial. So how can an industry with already staff shortage challenges accommodate this employee desire? 

There are several potential alternatives that could work for both employee and employer. Firstly, employers should consider the possibility of more flexible hours. The survey revealed that as high as 71.10% of care sector workers actually work more hours than they are contracted to every week. So first of all, care workers could be allowed to get back the extra hours worked through leave days. 

Also, more opportunities for flexible working could be considered such as allowing employees the opportunity to work the same hours as a five day week but over four days. A positive view on this is that staff members will have more hours during their work day to get tasks completed and therefore may not end up working too much overtime. 

Better options for a work-life balance for staff

All work and no free-time isn’t ideal for workers. It can cause high stress, not allowing staff the time to chill out and de-stress from their busy lives. At the end of the day, this is going to be bad for employers too, stressed staff are more likely to get illnesses and require sick leave, proving costly. Out of workers in the care sector 31% said a better work-life balance would help to combat mental health in the workplace. Therefore, employers might be able to consider ways they can improve employees work life balance to increase employee productivity.

Employers can seek proactive ways to improve employee’s work-life balance, avoiding these issues before they become a bigger problem. Firstly, employers could encourage staff to leave on time to avoid work eating into their free-time. It may prove beneficial to have regular one-to-one chats with employees to discuss how they’re getting on, any issues can therefore be raised early. 

Finally, employers should look at ways to give back to staff if they’ve worked particularly hard, maybe through reward vouchers, pay rises or a half day finish. It’s important to remember that this industry is stressful to work in because there’s an emotional attachment to patients, so organisations need to make sure they’re doing all they can to keep staff happy.  

To sum up, it’s clear that employers need to be proactive in retaining staff members through better working conditions. It’s essential to listen to the workers in this industry to accommodate changing employee demands. Better dress codes, fewer hours and a healthier work-life balance may be the way to go about this. While these changes can benefit the employees themselves, employers may find that they benefit from increased employee productivity, retention and less sick days, a successful method to address the issues around staff retention in this industry.

By Lee Biggins, Founder and Managing Director of CV-Library

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