The need for reliable operational planning has intensified with the onset of the current crisis, as has the responsibility to ensure residents feel safe under the care of hard-working staff. We’ll outline a few of the challenges that care homes have always faced and which may have become more difficult to deal with recently including staff shortages. We will also look at some remedies that can reduce stress and confusion for management and staff, like on-boarding checklists to ensure adequate training, and scheduling/time off requests which help in keeping care homes running at peak efficiency and quality.

Building a Skilled Workforce

Past inspections of care homes have revealed a serious lack of appropriately skilled staff. According to the 2017-18 State of Care Report published in the UK, having the right number of skilled, permanent staff in your care home’s workforce is a key driver of high-quality care. One of the main factors behind providers’ improvement or decline in quality and ratings due to inspections is often decided by the ability (or inability) to retain and train the right staff. Staff should be educated as much as possible where they can to remedy this issue. However, training can be complicated by the various social and medical needs of a care home. It is not always ideal for employees to spread their skillset as some roles demand specialised attention, but it may be necessary to cover skill shortages. With this in mind, how can we navigate this challenge?

Onboarding Checklists

 

A key qualification of care home assistants is having specialised knowledge to provide the right type of medical or personal assistance to residents. This essential information can sometimes get lost in a paper-trail if recorded manually. Not only that, to ensure compliance, managers should track the overall employee onboarding process. Even skilled employees cannot begin working if managers have not ensured that they have signed their contract!

Training

Training

Managers need a reliable way to record the various trainings that employees undertake. This can be done online with the right workforce management solution. Bizimply can allow managers to build out required inductions for employees. This creates a standard for a skilled workforce that can be followed time and again for each employee as sees fit. Just as there are many types of care, multiple training types can be built in Bizimply, guaranteeing a well-rounded staff. Individually assigned training modules to each employee gives an accurate overview of who has knowledge for which situation. As we will explore later on, applying in a few other ways across your business can improve operations.

Staff Turnover

Skilled workforces are hard to establish due to high turnover rates within the industry. Staff turnover can be as high as 33%, meaning many skilled staff could be lost as soon as they are trained. This is in part a result of the highly competitive employment market that care homes draw from. This impacts vacancy rates, which average at 6.6% per home, with some specialised roles still needing to fill up to 10.3% of their total required workforce. This indicates a serious staff shortage, and left untreated, can be a concern to both staff and residents. Employees could be stretched thin in their effort to provide the best care possible to more residents than they should be normally asked to treat – and as a result, potential exhaustion can risk the quality of care that your residents receive, while simultaneously affecting staff turnover rates – which propagates staff shortages in the first place. However, even with staff shortages, one way that residential homes can remedy their issues is through better workforce planning. Good management can reduce the burden on staff, giving them the space to focus on what they need to do and give them the space to recuperate before they run out of steam.

Smart Scheduling/Time Off Requests

One possible way to implement this into your business is with the investment of a smart scheduling system that accounts for both operational obligations and an employee’s needs. Knowing when certain residents should receive specific care, for example, asks that an appropriately skilled staff member be available for the corresponding shift. Managers building out rotas for their part-time staff should know who holds the right qualifications and availability to fulfil the best care that the home possibly can. Workforce management systems like Bizimply contain an intuitive drag and drop scheduling functionality, where managers can define and prepare required shift times in advance as templates. Combining predetermined shift times with onboarding checklists then multiplies operational benefits. A knowledgable manager can schedule certain staff only when needed. This increases transparency and saves energy for both managers and staff.

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A quick visual overview of Bizimply’s scheduling functionality

Time off is also important for staff to recover from intensive schedules. Bizimply lets employees request accrued time off online at the approval of a manager. This information will appear on the scheduling interface, letting managers know employee availability at a glance. This contributes to preventing potential back-and-forth exchanges between employees and management.

Conclusion

Care homes are facing new struggles today, but that does not mean old ones have disappeared. In fact, they have become more important than ever to eliminate. We’ve looked at a few challenges that the care home industry has always faced regarding staff skillsets and turnover. If you’d like more advice on how we can tailor Bizimply for your unique needs, don’t hesitate to contact us by phone, email or social media:

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