Nurse recruitment has never been more important in the face of the biggest staffing crisis to face the UK in recent years.
However, solely focusing on nurse recruitment rather than keeping your existing staff happy and content continues to be a mistake a lot of care home managers make.
Retaining nurses and increasing overall productivity is a cheaper and more effective method to supporting your nursing home.
These are the 6 most effective tools you can use to retain staff and optimise your workforce
1. Provide Training & Development
Supporting your staff in their training and professional development can help to boost their confidence and team morale.
As a care home manager, you can provide your support of professional development by subsidising costs of mandatory training or otherwise.
Making the initial investment in your staff’s training helps to improve the level and quality of care provided to residents.
Although in the short-term, this may be seen as just another cost, the ability to ensure your staff stick around longer through prioritising their professional development means you potentially cut back on nurse recruitment costs. Invest in your staff!
2. Don't Overwork Them
Nurses tend to work long shifts that can take their toll on mental, emotional and physical health - especially when they constantly work understaffed shifts.
As a care home manager, you may have an initial focus on nurse recruitment.
However, rather than add more staff members to a tired and unmotivated team, make the effort to listen to your existing staff and offer them help and support.
This doesn’t always mean annual leave, even extending a break for another 5-10 minutes can do wonders to a staff member’s morale and productivity!
Remember - the CQC has stringent requirements associated with staff-patient relationships and if staff are overworked, they will not have the same level of focus they are required to have to maintain the CQC standards.
It is essential that instead of overworking your staff, you try and provide extra support as and when you need it. A great way of doing this with on a budget is using flexible workers to fill staffing gaps.
3. Hold Regular Staff Meetings
Meetings are useful for a variety of reasons - it allows your staff to vocalise any issues and for you to keep them updated on situations within the nursing home.
Nurses are often the first to spot any issues in your nursing home, from medication errors to general concerns. If problems or issues arise, you should make every effort to make it as easy as possible to be discussed in a manner that protects all parties.
This includes whistle-blowers - who often get a bad rep and are faced with bullying and harassment after raising concerns.
Many care homes end up closing down due to severe understaffing. By holding regular meetings to address your nurses concerns, you can fix issues and work towards a happier team and an even better CQC rating.
4. Give Your Staff a Treat
Treating employees shows your staff that you appreciate their hard work. It seems simple, yet is a detail often forgotten by care home managers.
Treating your staff is an effective way of keeping your staff’s morale high, increase job satisfaction and productivity.
You don’t necessarily need to spend lots of money on treating your employees. Bringing in cupcakes for the staff on a Friday, remembering birthdays and festive holidays are great ways of showing your gratitude to your staff.
Remember - the cost of replacing a permanent staff member or relying on agency nurses is far greater than the odd cupcake tray or Christmas card.
5. Incentivise Your Staff
It’s important that your staff interests at work are aligned with your own. Rather than encourage a culture of doing just the work required, share your aims as a manager.
If your aim for the year is to increase your care home’s CQC rating, make sure that your staff have incentives related to that goal.
Money is an obvious choice as a motivator but often it isn’t only money that motivates individuals.
Collaborate with your team to set incentives, whether that’s an extra holiday day, career progression or even fun team days out.
Being transparent with your goals as a care home manager and incentivising staff members when they contribute to these goals is a great way of directly involving your staff and showing them the difference they make.
6. Show Consistency and Continuity
Make sure you collaborate with staff to set goals, especially when it is an indication of their individual work performance.
It can be disheartening to set goals for your nurses rather than include them in the process as it takes away their autonomy.
One of the best ways to ensure consistency is to ensure that you have properly planned and prepared.
You could even involve staff members in these planning conversations to ensure they are fully aware of the care home agenda over the next 6 or 12 months.
By involving staff members, you are also showing transparency, which is a great way to show your employees you trust them enough to share key information with them.
Want a smart solution to your staffing gaps? Find out more about Florence here.