Keep an eye on Retention Rates…

Dementia Care
November 1, 2013

The cost of recruitment is expensive. Our staff turnover rate this year has been 10%, which is higher than it’s ever been before.

The bottom line is the job is not as attractive as it once was.

Dog walking, picking up the newspaper, collecting a pension, cleaning the cooker or having a chit chat were the most demanding of tasks required when I first started.

Now Homecare workers are expected to complete a difficult role at inconvenient hours. There are not many people that want to walk around at 9pm at night in the dark in the middle of winter, for Minimum wage is there?

4 or 5 years ago the pay rate for Homecare workers was a reasonable rate with a good differential between that and the minimum wage at the time. But due to budget cuts in Social Care and hourly contract fees either staying the same or in some cases decreasing, and the rise in NMW, this has now eroded away those differentials that were once an attractive incentive to join the Industry.

It is for that reason that Staff Retention is such a prized asset. I am really proud of my staff retention rates and brag about the stats at every opportunity.  (Yes I probably do need to get out more). But the more staff you retain, the better qualified and skilled your workforce is, and that subsequently results in a better quality of service provided.

It is simple mathematics. As a provider you spend a lot of money on recruiting one individual, advertising vacancies, interviewing, shadowing, uniforms, supervisions, ongoing training, counselling (!) … the list goes on.  To replace that one individual is a costly affair with no guarantees that the person you replace them with will be even half as good as their predecessor.

According to my own figures the majority of staff leaving our organisation progress onto other jobs within the sector that are higher paid. We ensure staff achieve their qualifications and have the skills and knowledge necessary to be able to do their job. So when they see adverts doing a similar role in a hospital setting for a significant increase in their hourly rate, of course they will move on to better brighter things.

I would advise keeping a close eye on your Retention rates and try and calculate the costs of recruiting and retaining one new member of staff. In these tough economic times it makes good business sense.

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Rosie Robinson

Domiciliary Care Specialist

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