Staff resourcing for the care sector – organisation for optimisation, retention and cost efficiency

2nd March 2023

Workforce planning is essential to deliver long and short-term objectives.

Employee retention and staff turnover are problems and challenges that are faced by practices in the care sector, and they have never felt harder post-pandemic. There are a lot of colleagues who are feeling burnt out – tired both mentally and physically – and therefore an increase in turnover.

It has been reported that there has been a marked decline in the care sector, with many reasons for this relating to work conditions and experience. These included poor work-life balance, long and unsociable hours, stress and not feeling rewarded.

How do you tackle the three R’s?

Recruitment, retention and return aren’t easy to navigate in a sector currently suffering from an increase in turnover. However, last year the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have released a Workforce Action Plan, setting out seven main ambitions. We feel they’re applicable across the Health and Social Care sector, not just in the veterinary sector.

Confidence, culture, and recognition

There needs to be the creation of a welcoming and supportive environment for the whole veterinary team, mental health support signposting and awareness.

Welcoming a modern way of working
Including return-to-work support for both clinical and non-clinical roles, stronger relations with overseas industry bodies and encouraging innovation to tackle challenges

Shaping leaders at all levels
This includes promotion of inclusive everyday leadership, embedded consideration of equality, diversity and inclusion at all career stages, along with a greater opportunity for free, accessible learning.

An attractive career for everyone, including those who have left
This could include promoting direct accreditation of overseas degrees, encouraging employers in re-entry processes, plus welcoming people back after career breaks.

General practice – a chosen pathway
Where appropriate, training should be shared between vets and vet nurses at undergraduate level, plus modelling against other professions, such as human medicine. No doubt this could be applied to similar situations in other professions – dentists and dental nurses, for example.

Improving client interaction and communication
There should be development of clearer explanations of the chosen care role, and the scope of that role to the public.

With an estimated 57% of male and 74% of female millennials’ taking career breaks, the aim from the Workforce Action Plan is to allow people to return to their profession regardless of how long their break was and to feel supported in doing so.

Retention rates in the Health and Social Care sector are crucial to allow those within the profession to feel respected and have access to training which is both financially accessible and can fit around work and personal commitments. This also looks to ensure that people within the profession have access to support for personal matters such as mental health.

Recruitment is expensive – not only the cost of paying agency fees but also the time taken for you to screen and interview your candidates. Retaining a high-performing workforce is more cost effective and increases optimisation.

Your current workforce will already know how things are run and live your practice values. Therefore, by offering career progression opportunities, rewards for work and other initiatives such as flexible working, it will contribute to the retention of your employees.

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