Neil’s practical tips to stabilise your workforce

15 Feb 2021

With COVID border restrictions, an increasingly consumer-driven environment, added pressure on funding, a care workforce whose average age is also increasing and clients/residents living longer, it is no wonder there is a strong focus on ensuring that a future aged care system remains sustainable, affordable and flexible.

Of the 5 Strategic Imperatives identified by the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce (ACWST) – headed up by Professor John Pollaers – one of the most critical has been the industry’s ability to attract and retain care staff.

For many years we have worked together with Neil Eastwood, a highly regarded advisor and consultant on workforce recruitment and retention in the Social Care sector in the UK. Neil is the author of Saving Social Care which tackles this very subject. The UK has been operating in a consumer-driven environment for around 10 years now and whilst funding arrangements and regulations are different, there are many common challenges.

Here we highlight 7 of Neil’s tips:


1. Your relationship with Universities: Nurses and allied health students get great feedback as frontline staff. They can’t stay forever but can often work less popular hours. Can you offer some practical training directly related to their course? Try the tutors, student welfare, noticeboards and referrals to get started.
2. Online sources can miss older Care Workers: Mobile job seekers are weighted towards the <25s, Facebook is most used by 25-34yr olds, but longest-serving care staff are 50+. Make sure you don’t forget offline sources too.
3. Turbocharge your referral program: Referred employees are more likely to be high-performing and tend to stay longer, yet not many providers truly tap into this source of passive job seekers. Check out Care Friends – the employee referral app for the Care Sector!


4. Non-committal responses: It’s important to listen for non-committal responses to interview questions about availability, pay etc. such as “I think so”, “That’s fine”, Not really”. These are proven flags to non-commitment and are easy to spot if you are aware. Then the interviewer knows to dig.
5. Care workers can make insightful interviewers: Involve care staff in interviewing candidates. They know what the job entails and being asked assists staff engagement which is a critical part of retention.


6. Smile more: Approximately 17% of resignations reported a friendly smile or a helpful colleague would have changed their mind. The early days of employment are so critical for long-term tenure.
7. A role for performance-related pay? Rarely used in care but successful elsewhere – recognise six months with no lateness or missed shifts (e.g. 1 hour off paid per month). If you have an absence issue this could be worth a trial.

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