The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many people and organisations in many different ways, and the staff and management of aged care organisations haven’t been spared. As many have seen, it’s getting tougher to engage and retain top talent, which is why aged care employers must look at new and creative ways of engaging workers.
To explore how they can do so, this article covers the importance of retaining top talent during the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of COVID-19 on staff of aged care organisations, the relationship between employee engagement and retention, and how aged care organisations can improve employee engagement and retention with automated labour management solutions.
The importance of retaining top talent during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused unprecedented workforce downsizing, furloughs, and mass layoffs, Millions of jobs worldwide are expected to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; in Australia, nearly 600,000 people have lost their jobs and in the UK 750,000 have lost jobs with 5 million people on furlough (ONS) as a result of COVID-19. Whilst we are seeing these massive job losses across industries sectors, the Aged Care Sector is still struggling to attract and retain top talent.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, workers already wanted greater flexibility, transparency, and perks in their jobs. But now that we’re dealing with the short and long-term effects of the pandemic – while employers are simply trying to get by and maintain continuity – the situation is even more challenging for workers as they deal with increasing disruption in both their personal and professional lives.
While it has always been important to prioritise retaining top talent in your organisation, the disruption associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified this effect. Keeping your best people committed and engaged makes them more likely to stick with you for the long-term, improving your organisation’s odds of recovering quickly once our economic and public health has improved.
Turnover at any point can be costly. Different estimates put the cost of replacing a worker at between 20 and 200 per cent of their salary – or between six and nine months of the departing employee’s annual pay.
Costs add up when activities such as advertising, interviewing, and onboarding are taken into consideration. Turnover also slows productivity, meaning that it can take years for a new team member’s role to bring in a greater return on the organisation’s investment.
Staff reductions associated with the pandemic, combined with the high costs of turnover, mean that it’s in organisations best interests to do everything possible to reduce turnover and keep top talent happy.
Effects of COVID-19 on staff of aged care organisations
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation in aged care organisations has grown more and more challenging
With infections in facilities, staff members have been subject to self-quarantine and illness, all while trying to maintain strict COVID-19 safe policies and manage patient care through lockdown periods.
Outside of increasing infection rates, pressures on aged care and other healthcare workers were already growing. Negative press and criticism from the public – not to mention the recent Royal Commission Into Aged Care Quality and Safety in Australia– contribute to lower worker morale. Further, as aged care services become more overwhelmed and under-resourced, the risks to aged care residents and workers may increase as workers are stretched further.
As a result, maintaining appropriate staff numbers and standards of care is becoming quite challenging. As more and more aged care organisations lose resources and the demands on staff increase, recruiting healthy and available workers, offering stronger incentives, and drawing on the reduced pools of other organisations may help organisations to fill staffing gaps. However, this demand creates competition, making it tough to attract and retain good workers at existing incentive levels.
Engaging your workers may help to ease this retention gap.
Why employee engagement is important for retention
Employee engagement refers to the interactions between employees and their organisations, and can comprise many elements, such as job satisfaction, pride, and commitment. Engaged employees are typically prepared to work hard, and they’re likely to be more positive toward and connected to the organisation and its strategy in some way.
How engagement is related to retention
There is a high correlation between an employee’s level of engagement and their tenure. It has been found, that disengaged employees are a huge factor in involuntary high turnover. People are less likely to quit their job for something with better perks if they feel engaged and emotionally committed.
As such, employers look to improve employee engagement largely so they can retain their best people. According to the Corporate Leadership Council (now Gartner HR):
• The most engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organisation.
• The average voluntary turnover of the 100 best places to work (according to CLC’s research) was 13%, compared with an average of 28.5% for other industry businesses.
• Over half of disengaged employees would consider leaving their current job for another, whereas this is the case for only 25% of engaged employees.
Some Aged Care Operations lack career opportunities or limited career paths for their teams and workers may not reap the benefit of any changes you make for months or even years. However, there are smaller, more specific actions you can take to keep employees engaged and interested in their work, and to encourage them to stick around for the long term. Automated labour management solutions represent one such opportunity.
Aged care organisations improve employee engagement & retention with automated labour management solutions
Automated labour management solutions are software programs that help aged care organisations balance client, employee, management, and business needs with day-to-day tasks, including scheduling, performance management, planning, and reporting.
When technology is capable of handling these and other tasks for you, efficiency and productivity are increased, minimising the time your staff must spend on administrative tasks and reducing the potential for human error. Not only can automated labour management solutions save you time and money, they can also increase overall employee morale and satisfaction.
For Aged Care, the four pillars to a successful engagement program are:
2. Monitor and Measure
3. Speak your own Language
4. Employee Empowerment
A few of the ways a workforce management system like Humanforce can be used to promote employee engagement at aged care organisations include:
• Creating a centralised platform where workers can communicate and collaborate with each other, even if they aren’t working from the same facility or on synchronous shifts.
• Allowing your organisation to message all workers directly – perhaps to express your appreciation for their hard work in these uncertain times.
• Disseminating timely updates or protocol changes quickly so that your staff all feel as if they’re in the know on key changes.
• Saving workers time and frustration by automating or facilitating time-consuming manual activities (such as clocking, requesting leave, or swapping shifts).
Don’t underestimate the impact of simply making workers’ lives easier on their level of engagement or their overall sentiment towards your organisation. COVID has made life complicated enough. Every step you can take to ensure your organisation isn’t contributing to the overall burden being shouldered by your employees matters when it comes to being able to retain top talent in this evolving hiring environment.
Even better, implementing an employee engagement software for aged care teams doesn’t have to be complicated. Reach out to Humanforce today to discuss your organisation’s needs by booking a demo, or contacting us today.