PANEL DEBATE: Top staff retention tips for home care providers


During the recent Care Show in Birmingham, a question on everyone’s lips was ‘how do I retain my current care staff?’ It’s currently a challenge for every service, big or small, but during a packed seminar at the Home Care Theatre, three provider directors offered their advice.

Here are the top tips they shared with delegates from home care businesses across the UK.

Camille Leavold, MD and founder, Abbots Care
“The first thing to do is to make sure you understand what your care workers want. You might think that there are generic things that everyone wants – pay, for example – but you should survey them regularly to find out. It’s really cheap and easy to do.

“So set up a survey, on a quarterly basis, and ask your care workers two simple questions – ‘what makes you want to stay and what makes you want to leave?’ And offer 10 to 12 options. Our top five things that make people want to stay and leave don’t generally change and, can I just say, pay isn’t one of them. Interestingly, during the pandemic, the number one thing that made people want to stay was ‘making a difference’. So with that, all you have to do is make sure that you have really good rotas, staff have got enough time to work with their service users and they’ve got enough travel time in between.

“Another thing that you can do is hold rota clinics. Quite often, care workers know the rotas better than the coordinators, so they should sit down together and work the rotas out at a rota clinic. That makes a massive difference. Those are two things that we did last month and we managed to stop five people from leaving.”

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Max Wurr, director of Policy and Communications, City & County Healthcare Group

“It’s wonderful that we’ve got thousands of people in this country who get a simple buzz out of helping other people, but this also means that the sector runs on goodwill, and goodwill has really been pushed to the limit now.

“So, for me, the thing to focus on is how we treat people. I could come up with a list of 50 retention tips, but a simple thing to do is don’t screw people’s pay up and, when you do screw it up, fix it quickly because a lot of care workers are working pretty close to the breadline and living hand to mouth.

“The other thing is to treat your office staff – the ones who are dealing day to day with care workers – with respect. More often than not, when they leave it’s because don’t like how they have been treated. Let us not be the reason why they jump.”

Andy Hogarth, chief executive, Helping Hands
“Saying thank you is a big thing, but in a way that you actually mean it. That makes a big difference. And if carers have got children, you need to make sure that they are able to go to the nativity play or the sports day – all the really simple things that, as a mum or dad, you should be there for. If you remember that you can create great loyalty, just by being human with people.”

Caption: From left – panel chair Neil Eastwood, Andy Hogarth, Max Wurr and Camille Leavold.

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke