Employee Exit and Retention in Social Care

The Social Care sector is a growing industry within the UK, with 1.47 million people employed each year, and of course the demand for care and support continues to grow. However, despite the number of vacancies in social care increasing, so is the number of care workers looking to leave their jobs.

SkillsForCare estimates that around 390,000 people leave their jobs every year – that’s over 1,000 every day – and there are approximately 110,000 vacancies at any one time. According to research, this is because working conditions remain “chronically poor” within the sector.

According to The UK Social Workers: Working Conditions and Wellbeing by Social Workers Union (SWU) and the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) research, almost two- thirds (61%) of social work practitioners and managers surveyed were looking to leave their current position in the next 16 months.

Why people leave?

Unfortunately, there are several factors that people who work in Care encounter, that then result them into wanting to leave. In Community Cares’ study of over 3,000 social workers, they found high workloads and a lack of resources to help service users were the main stressors contributing to poor working conditions.

Other common factors as to why people leave their jobs in the social care sector are:

  • Rising Stress
  • ‘Lonely and dispiriting’
  • Working through illness

When staff leave:

In their June 2017 Report, SkillsForCare highlight that three in ten employers don’t find out what their employees plan to do after leaving their organisation. Amongst those who do ask, their leavers were roughly split between those going to work for other social care employers (53%) and those going to work in other sectors (47%).

When asked if they knew why employees had left their organisation employers who collected this information said the most common reasons given were:

  • Personal reasons (30%)
  • Career development (21%)
  • Retirement (12%)
  • Pay (11%)
  • The Nature of the work (6%)

Focussing on retention?

With more and more people seeming to want to leave the sector, this calls for something to be done about it.

Meaning that we need to increase the size and skills of the adult social care workforce by stemming the flow of wasted resources on recruiting people who aren’t going to stay in the sector.

In the SkillsForCare June 2017 report on Recruitment and retention in adult social care they highlight that retaining good staff is vital to the success of any organisation, but especially so in the delivery of adult social care services where continuity of personalised car and support is crucial for the people who need care and support.

If employers find it difficult to retain employers, SkillsForCare detail ways in which they can create a positive workplace that will encourage staff to stay for longer.

  • Reviewing workplace culture.
  • Investing in the organisational values.
  • Celebrating achievements.
  • Involving and engaging all colleagues in decision making.
  • Using CQC reports as a catalyst for improvement.
  • Offering opportunities for career progress

How can recruitment help?

Values based recruitment

Taking a values-based approach to recruitment may be part of the answer. In recruitment the idea but what really matters are the values and behaviors of the individual. By taking this approach this will help you get the right people to work in your organisation who will have an understanding what it means to provide high quality care and support and are more likely to stay.

Hiring Manager training

The hiring manager is a key member of your employee recruitment team. Implementing training could benefit not only the employee who is in the role but the overall business.

Retention Interviews

Retention interviews help identify and reinforce the factor that might drive an employee to stay. They are a great way of finding out what’s working well in your business and what might not be working so well and can also result in the identification of any issues that may cause your employee to consider leaving.

Engagement in recruitment process

By engaging with someone from the beginning of the process, you are able to make sure that their journey is a good one.  Engagement starts at the point a person has their first interaction with your organisation and making sure it’s a positive interaction. What someone hears, reads and the information they are asked all have an impact on their opinion of you and your business.  Another way for you to understand what is important to your employees is listening to what they have to say.

Understanding the reasons – helps prevent future leavers

Alongside preventing people from wanting to leave their jobs, its also important to have an understanding as to WHY employees leave.

Here are a few suggestions to help you find out:

The difference between Exit and Retention Interviews is who they’re conducted with. Retentions will be the new-starters, whilst Exits will be with recent leavers of your organisation. Despite having their own merits, they both allow you to make more employee- centered business decisions.

Exit Interviews

With a massive skills shortage across sectors, it’s no surprise that talented people in your organisations are being headhunted. The key to success is consistency.

Here are some themes your exit interview questions could follow if you want to gather actionable data:

  • Reason for Leaving – asking them their main reason for leaving and questioning what they least enjoyed about the role and any other factors that influenced them to leave the role.
  • What would’ve made them stay – find out what you could’ve done to keep them and what improvement could be made to avoid future joiners leaving for the same reasons.
  • Where are they going now – Are they staying in the industry? Would they consider re-employment with us in the future? Show interest in their new role.

Retention Interviews

Here are some themes your retention interview questions could follow:

  • Rating your Recruitment – finding out how they found the recruitment process and if there was enough communication during the onboarding.
  • Support & Training – have your employers been receiving adequate training to carry out their role? Do they feel like they have enough support? Ask these questions!
  • Opportunities for Growth & Development – understand the potential opportunities that allow your employee to develop both in and beyond their role and discuss what they most enjoy about their role.
  • Suggestions for Future Joiners – finding out if they have any suggestions they would like to make for any future joiners so that they are able to settle comfortably.

Our next event in early 2019 will examine the same theme discussed in this blog post – “Why employee stay with your Care organisation.”

This event will include commentary and analysis of our own data from 100s of Retention interviews of Care Workers, helping you to understand why employees stay with your organisations such as your own.

And our guest speaker Neil Eastwood of Sticky People will present about what care organisations can do to prevent employees from leaving.

If this sounds like something you would like to attend, then please register your interest here and we will get back to you to confirm the details.