The private residential and nursing home sector in England employs around 450,000 people and a further 350,000 are employed to work in domiciliary care. Staff turnover is stubbornly around 25% i.e. every year, a quarter of the staff leave their current employer.

High staff turnover can lead to a destabilised workforce and an inconsistent (therefore less high quality) service. A settled, motivated and confident workforce provides the opportunity to hone skills and develop new ones and engage in career development.

It is interesting that the Care Quality Commission recognise the importance of staff morale and how this in turn translates to satisfied service users. Highly motivated individuals are more likely to seek to do the best job that they can, which means exploring ways to attract moe like-minded people into the sector is key (as well as retaining those already in).

Whilst financial considerations can never be ignored, it’s worth emphasising the other aspects of the job role that should appeal; for example, the opportunity to develop relationships with those the staff are providing care to, which may not be possible for those working in a hospital setting or as agency workers. In the care sector, unqualified care staff are also frequently offered the opportunity to train and develop their care qualifications.

What is clear is that, aside from the quality risk issues discussed and the administrative issues involved in perennial recruitment, if employers cannot retain permanent staff and end up having an over-reliance on agency workers, the cost of this can directly impact on the viability of their business

So, the message from a business and a regulatory perspective is to engage with your staff and find out how to motivate them to work well and want to stay with you – the outcome will be positive for everyone.

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