Staff retention and recruitment have long been priorities for aged care organisations, with estimates of a 25 per cent annual turnover across the aged care sector; well above the national average. Over the next fifty years, a larger, well-trained aged care workforce will be required to cope with the demands of a rapidly ageing population. Providers must be proactive in addressing the factors that impact workforce retention and recruitment.
A study by Griffith Business School found that organisational factors such as job satisfaction and engagement were more likely to impact aged care workforce turnover than personal factors such as retirement or career change. It is therefore essential that providers find new ways to engage staff and create a positive workplace culture.
Recognition and rewards
The Griffith Business School study found that feeling valued and recognised by management was an important factor in keeping aged care staff engaged. Creating a culture of appreciation promotes sought after skills and attributes, and contributes to a more positive working environment. Offering staff a platform to provide their opinion and share tips is a great way to create team validation and boost individual self-confidence. This can be done through the use of a suggestion box, an all-staff meeting or a team planning day. The most important factor is that staff believe their thoughts to be valued and taken on board by management.
The creation of a monthly awards program is another excellent way to provide recognition for achievements, particularly when staff are able to nominate their fellow team members. Team member nominations allow award recipients to feel appreciated by the people they work with on a day to day basis, and encourages staff to look out for examples of positive behaviour. By singling out specific behaviours or actions to be rewarded, rather than a generic employee of the month award, organisations can help embed company values into the workplace culture.
Training and career development opportunities are important for all employees, not just younger staff members. Offering development opportunities builds engagement and loyalty amongst staff, and provides an avenue for high performing staff to progress within the organisation. Training options also highlight that the organisation has a genuine interest and investment in each employee’s future.
Career development and training programs can range from online skill development through to structured career mapping and succession planning. As well as enhancing staff skillsets, these programs can also generate workplace efficiencies. This is particularly the case when educating staff on how to use technology, as the aged care sector increasingly looks to technology to speed up daily tasks and reduce administration. Educating staff with lower levels of computer literacy on basic computing and software usage can open up a world of opportunities for team members, and can dramatically boost self-confidence.
Efficiency creating technology
With a growing number of older Australian’s requiring home and aged care services, aged care providers are turning to technology to help them deliver care in a more efficient manner. Technology – such as software that provides travel routes for home care workers or medication information for residential aged care nurses – can help reduce time consuming administrative tasks and eliminate manual processes. With simplified and automated processes in place, staff can spend less time on arduous paperwork and administrative tasks, and more time on delivering better care. As well as benefiting the organisation, moving to an electronic system reduces the amount of undesirable and slow processes for staff members, therefore increasing job satisfaction and engagement.
In what other ways can providers ensure their staff members are engaged? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Tags: aged care, aged care software, career development, home care, job satisfaction, recruitment, residential aged care, retention, software, software provider, staff engagement, staff retention, technology, training