Motivating employees in the care industry

By Sam Thomas | 31st July 2018 | 10 min read

Since 2012, staff turnover rates within the care industry have increased by 4.7% – with 350,000 care workers reported to have left their roles in the 2016-17 payroll year. Low wages, limited funding and varying work hours all contribute to the problem – which acts as a drain on funding, time and morale.

Already established as one of the industries with one of the worst staff turnover rates, these deteriorating retention rates are causing panic within the industry. More alarming to some is that these results are not a blanket trend – some care homes report staff attrition at less than 10% while others report it at a worrying 33.8% in care workers.

So what can be done to improve staff retention in such a stressful field?

Celebrate success

This isn’t limited to the care sector; lack of recognition is one of the major issues raised by leavers. If you don’t already have one in place, make sure each of your employees has a personal development plan and that you’re regularly reviewing their performance.

Achievable yet challenging KPIs (key performance indicators) should form a part of these reviews, so that staff can monitor their personal performance and improvement. When targets are met, consider a reward such as a bonus or time off. This is an easy yet effective way of keeping your staff engaged.

Outside of financial incentives, there are ways of recognising achievement that won’t eat into your budget such as:

  • Employee of the month schemes
  • Team building exercises
  • Special mentions in team meetings
  • Project leadership roles
  • Invest in training and development

To compensate for lower wages, offer your staff opportunities to develop their skills within your organisation. By giving staff a chance to personally invest in your company and tying their own career path to the wellbeing of the business, you can improve long-term retention. 

One way to identify areas for improvement is to consult your latest CQC inspection report. This will provide you with valuable information on where you’re doing well and where you need to improve. By including your staff in your review of this report, you can identify their training requirements and opportunities with them. This will help them feel more invested in their careers and your organisation’s role in it – as well as helping them feel like they’re making a difference.

Training programmes can require funding, which is why it’s worth looking at money-saving programmes like outsourced payroll to free up some of your annual budget.

Ensure you’re motivating employees on different levels

As covered under Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, employees have different motivating factors.

Basic needs and job security in the care industry can be provided through basic pay (above minimum wage), and basic benefits like paid sick leave and accrued annual leave.

Job security can be provided through fixed term contracts or, if you can’t provide those, reasonably predictable rotas so that your employees have a secure understanding of their required hours and projected monthly income. Rotas is another area you can focus on once you’ve freed admin time by outsourcing payroll. 

Beyond this, you can utilise training and the celebrating of success to improve the sense of self-esteem and belonging within your teams. These levels of engagement cannot be fulfilled by a contract – only effective managers can help their teams reach this level.

The impact

Lowered staff turnover will provide an immediate impact on your budget by reducing your hiring and training costs.

Once you aren’t needing to focus on the hiring and exit process as much, you’ll have more time and resources to dedicate to the bigger picture: providing quality care.

In addition to this, you’ll find it easier to see successful project through to fruition once you have improved staff engagement and continuity.

Making time for motivation

In the care industry, time is at a premium – especially in the payroll function. There are a number of zero hour and occasional workers in care and the added complications regarding PAYE, employment issues and P45s that brings. There’s also the manual administration involved in 4 weekly payroll runs and the varying pay dates each month.

With this unconventional and admin-heavy employment structure, there’s a lot of legislation that affects these processes. As a result, payroll staff have to be at the cutting edge of their profession so that they’re up to date with the law, the industry news and their personal professional training.

Experts like this don’t come cheap, which further eats into the budget and reduces the opportunity for budget to be allocated to staff in other functions.

Faced with the dual problems of freeing up time and budget, many care professionals are turning to outsourced payroll to handle their admin and give themselves the chance to improve their staff retention.

Outsourcing payroll

When you outsource payroll to professionals like IRIS, you’re handing the complex administration to experts who will run payroll for you. From issuing payslips to ensuring you stay GDPR, BACS and HMRC compliant – Managed Payroll takes a complicated and sometimes messy payroll and reduces it to a simple handover from you to us, for a competitive and cost-effective price.

To learn more about Payroll Outsourcing in the Care Industry, start by downloading our complimentary guide, which covers many of the FAQs and details you’ll need to know.

Download Payroll Outsourcing in the Care Industry.