Recruitment remains a serious issue for healthcare providers, along with the retention of quality staff and improving employee wellbeing. Workforce challenges have been exacerbated by BREXIT and the coronavirus pandemic.
Around 7% of adult social care workers are of an EU nationality, that’s 113,000 jobs. A further 9% (134,000 jobs) are from a non-EU nationality.1 Non-British workers make a substantial contribution to the care and wellbeing of people who use care services, and any reduction could affect the quality and quantity of care provision.
The pandemic has left health and care workers exhausted and under sustained pressure, in Wales.2 A survey in England found that 74% of workers have seen their workload increase and 75% felt more negative about their work-life balance than they did in 2019.3 Even before COVID-19, councils across the country were struggling to recruit and retain enough high-quality social care workers to manage the workloads. Now, workforce fatigue is reaching a peak and there is cause for concern about the longer-term sustainability of people’s wellbeing.4
A recruitment strategy adapted to the new market conditions
Healthcare providers looking to improve their attractiveness as an employer should start by revisiting their recruitment strategy. The best recruitment strategies combine a number of important factors. Whilst pay is important, candidates are also looking for organisations that promote a positive culture that supports and values staff.5
The healthcare industry has a high rate of churn i.e. people moving between employers in the same industry or between roles within the same organisation.6 Staff turnover can quickly create a recruitment sinkhole – draining employers of time, money and resources. Hiring the right people in the first place is key to reducing the rate of churn and the cost of recruitment. Adding some extra steps to your recruitment strategy can help to seek out the carers amongst your candidates. For more, read Elevate your healthcare recruitment strategy.
Salary vs Reward
Many healthcare providers find budgets restrict them from hiring the people they need. This makes it particularly challenging to compete for talent with other growing industries like technology, mobile platforms and construction.7 Rather than focusing on salary, employers should consider what total reward package they could offer. Investing in employee benefits allows businesses to improve the perceived value of their reward package, for a relatively small investment.
A business has £25,000 that they wish to invest in rewarding their 250 employees. If the budget was used to give every employee equal pay-rises, each employee would receive just £100 on top of their annual salary. This is an extra £8.00 in their take-home pay each month.
Alternatively, the business could offer their employees a new benefit. If they were to invest the budget in a healthcare cash plan, for example, every employee would receive their own schedule of healthcare benefits.
This might include private care following injury or accident, and an option to claim back cash for their regular prescriptions, optical, dental and complimentary therapy appointments.
For employees, the perceived value of this benefit is much higher and is more likely to spark joy than the small pay increase the budget would afford. It is also an exciting benefit for the business to promote during the recruitment process.
A carefully considered recruitment strategy, coupled with clever use of available budget will ignite your recruitment and attract the carers in your community into any vacant roles.
1 The state of the adult social care sector and workforce: 4.6: page 77
4 Maris Stratulis (British Association of Social Workers) communitycare.co.uk/2020/12/11/coronavirus-75-social-workers-feeling-negative-work-life-last-year-survey-finds/
5,6 Skills for Care: Recruitment and retention secrets for success