It’s no surprise to anyone familiar with, providing for or working in the care sector that there are massive staffing shortages of almost all types of health professionals.
With this in mind, when you take into account the damaging and untrue stereotypes surrounding nursing in care homes as being ‘low-skilled’ and hard-work - care homes are really struggling to keep up with demand.
Understanding how to recruit (which you can learn here!) and retain nurses should be one of your top priorities if you manage or own a care home.
Despite the high employee turnover in the UK health sector - many health professionals are leaving their current jobs but not the sector.
What does that mean to you?
This is an important point to understand as it means that your employees aren’t leaving for a change of career - they are leaving your team, your residents and your care home for somewhere that values them.
It’s been said that employees don’t quit their job, they quit their manager - and clearly this rings true for care homes. To that end, there is increasingly a move towards engagement and retention rather than recruitment.
Healthcare institutions must start to look at retention and keeping their best employees happy by creating positive, healthy workplaces.
Here are 8 affordable ways to engage and retain your best nurses.
1. Hire the most suitable nurses
Even in times of dire nurse shortages, care homes should look beyond experience and education and hire based on empathy and a strong sense of motivation and responsibility.
Recent evidence suggests that one of the reasons that top performing nurses leave their organisation is because of “working with ineffective colleagues”.
Good retention starts from the moment you hire a nurse.
2. Train and Empower
Training and development are key factors in helping employees grow within your care home. Giving your staff the tools to take on more responsibility helps them feel empowered and gives them a sense of ownership.
There are several resources to help you understand how to empower staff effectively and responsibly (a great example is The Road to Outstanding podcast).
By empowering your staff, you reduce the overall cost to your facility by ensuring that tasks are dealt with at the appropriate level and not pushed up the chain thereby increasing costs.
Ask your nurses on a regular basis how they are doing and be ready to follow up on their feedback.
Employees that feel heard are more likely to stay than those who believe their ideas, thoughts or concerns are not taken seriously.
Creating a collaborative workspace is important and vital to retaining staff.
4. Show them you care
Get to know them personally, ask about their family and friends. Understand what drives and motivates them.
This has the benefit of showing your employees that you care and strengthens your nursing relationships.
5. ‘Gamify’ your Care home
We’re all familiar with the swear jar, so why not introduce a “sulky jar”? Every time someone makes a negative or unproductive comment they have to put in 50p.
It’s a good way to encourage a more outwardly positive outlook in your team - although you should always be clear that your team to outline any serious concerns in appropriate settings.
At the end of the month, spend the money as a team and celebrate the joys of working together.
6. Thank them
Thanking your team for their hard work can go a long way. A great way to express your gratitude to your team is providing fruits or a sweet treat in the breakroom, or starting an ‘employee of the month’ scheme.
You can also give work anniversary gifts to thank your team for their committed contribution to the care home.
7. Ask your nurses how you can improve
One of the main reasons a nurse leaves their facility is because of poor management and lack of leadership.
Find out from your employees how they liked to be managed and what feedback they have for you and the rest of the management team.
Being an approachable manager to your team is only part of the puzzle. Your team will lose faith in you and your management skills if you do not follow through on their suggestions - make sure you make it clear about any progress on concerns they may have.
8. Redistribute tasks
Monitor everyone’s workload and try and redistribute tasks more evenly among your team.
Everyone is overworked but when a nurse feels unfairly burdened with someone else’s workload this can lead to resentment and ultimately the patients start to suffer.
These are just a few ideas to help retain your best nurses. They are cost-effective and can be implemented immediately - why not try taking 1-2 tips from this list and trying them out?
Want a smart solution to your staffing gaps? Find out more about Florence here.