In a more ordinary world, those responsible for care resourcing might have been putting in place contingencies to deal with staffing challenges that summertime typically presents as staff take annual leave to enjoy a summer break, however this scenario is but a small piece in a now much more complex puzzle when it comes to resourcing in the Care Sector and has been for some time.
The ‘pingdemic’ has worsened the already dire staff shortage many care homes are experiencing, but looking longer term at the state of Social Care vacancies versus applications it’s clear to see that the disparity between the two will present challenges for the care sector that are likely to run for some time.
Why are we seeing a significant shortage of care home staff?
The reasons are numerous including:
- The new mandatory requirement for all paid caregivers to have the COVID vaccination. Reports suggest that up to 70,000 care home staff could leave the sector as a result.
- Brexit: European care workers are returning home as tightening of rules around formal requirements make it increasingly difficult to remain in care roles in the UK.
- Competition is coming from other sectors too: Some care workers are leaving the Care Sector to move to other sectors with fewer requirements which are also better paid –for example in hospitality where salaries have increased to meet the shortfall of staff as lockdown lifts. Anyone who likely may have been thinking about entering a career in care may see industries like hospitality and retail as more attractive too.
- The continued stigma attached to caregiving roles: Despite the public sentiment and heightened awareness of the hard work and dedication of carers, this has not translated significantly into an interest in care as a career.
A time for change in how we approach Care recruitment?
As these underlying factors continue to impact the care sector, the way candidates are attracted should be a key focus. Care providers are indeed already starting to promote the paybacks of care careers with role descriptions that go beyond the core duties and expectations of the individual, and more attention on the benefits available such as pension, flexi-hours and training available.
What more can be done to attract, and more importantly retain, quality individuals with the right values?
Here are some suggestions:
- Make your job adverts stand out by showcasing what makes your care business different from others. Give your care home a face and show its personality. Link your advert into some written testimonial from staff or better still, short videos from them about what’s so great about your care business. Perhaps some of your residents might be interested in sharing their experiences of receiving care from you too?
- Do you have a good or higher CQC rating? If so, shout about it! Your reputation holds strong sway with all stakeholders, including potential employees. If not, think about what you could do to enhance your rating and the impact your staff have on your potential to improve.
- Think about the demographic you’re trying to attract and act accordingly. If you are looking to attract younger carers, think about what’s important to them, most will likely be ‘digital natives’, so a good website and social presence will be important factors they look at when deciding who to apply to. This links back to point one about utilising video to promote your business.
- Leverage the ‘Captain Tom effect’ and turn that public sentiment mentioned earlier into an interest in Care; do this by promoting the rewards of caring over jobs in other sectors (as previously mentioned) so you appeal to those with the soft skills and personal traits needed to deliver great care.
- Go further to promote the benefits beyond hours and pay. Potential for career progression will no doubt be an influencing factor especially for the younger generation –do you have any staff that could showcase their development into more senior roles? Do you offer training that can enhance an employee's CV and experience of working with you?
Whilst caregiving roles carry a huge amount of responsibility and the job requirements are an essential part of advertising a role, the lighter side of a career in care, reinforcement of its longevity as a lifetime career, and the benefits of working specifically for you, are equally important in the current recruitment crisis; take some of the above points on board and that changing tide might just wash up some real treasures.
Working with trusted Care recruiters, Quality Care Group can help you source the right people to represent your care business for the long run. For more information or an informal chat, get in touch with Lorrie Maslen at email@example.com or call 01273 424 904