Challenges in the care sector: attracting, motivating and retaining staff
Healthcare Business catches up with Sue Lee, MD at Howden Care, which recently acquired specialist care insurance brokers CHIS and PrimeCare
Attracting and retaining high quality frontline staff in an environment as turbulent and underfunded as the care sector is a constant struggle for virtually all residential and domiciliary care providers, despite the high level of job satisfaction typically enjoyed by many longstanding carers. And as the cumulative effects of Local Authority budget cuts and cost savings made over recent years take their toll, this issue is only likely to become even more critical.
“Attracting and retaining staff is an industry-wide issue, but some care companies are using staff benefit packages to tackle it”
explains Sue Lee, Howden Care MD. “A well-structured employee benefits scheme can help motivate and reward both new and existing employees. It can also help create a positive company culture that encourages staff retention.”
“To promote the benefits available and highlight the hard work and dedication of care staff we recently ran a free ‘staff benefits’ prize draw. We also saw it as a way of giving something back to the care sector.”
North West Community Services, which provides domiciliary care and training services within the North West, was the lucky winner. The prize was a year of high street shopping discounts for its employees redeemable at leading retailers such as ASDA and Boots.
Chris Murray, North West Community Services MD, adds: “We feel very lucky and delighted to win Howden’s staff benefits competition. It is nice to be able to give this out to our team who continue to work extremely hard to support and care for the people who use our service, they fully deserve the prize and we hope they make full use of it.”
“Care providers are looking for ways to retain staff – reducing staff turnover has the knock on positive effect of reducing costs of recruitment and inductions,” explains Sue.
Care companies offer successful training, which usually starts with CQC compliant induction programmes run by a skilled and experienced trainer. Some providers also offer specialised training to help new recruits gain industry recognised qualifications as well as courses in areas such as dementia or hygiene.
Other benefits used to incentivise and motivate staff include, structured career progression, internal award schemes, social events and newsletters.
Sue continues: “Care providers are now under huge pressure to reduce costs, mitigate risk and ensure financial stability”.
Insurers now assess care businesses individually, paying close attention to claims records, risk management and business processes including HR.
“This means it is increasingly important for care providers to partner with a knowledgeable insurance broker with a good understanding of the care sector’s challenging landscape in order to protect their businesses and maximise value.”
Howden Care is able to do this by offering a choice of insurance products that allows care providers to match the level of cover to their specific needs and budgets.
“Partnering with a high quality insurance broker gives care providers access to quality products and insurers, sector specific advice, a range of employee benefits, risk management tools and other added value options. These help care businesses to reduce costs in the short term and can also lead to longer term stability of premium spend,” Sue adds.
Howden’s recent acquisition of CHIS and PrimeCare, two respected brokers in the care industry and the preferred insurance partner of a number of large care associations, including the National Care Association and Registered Nursing Home Association, has strengthened its existing care team, which offers the full range of expertise across the entire sector.
Together, the group is offering care businesses greater breadth of choice and expertise, enhanced risk management capabilities and employee benefit options, helping them to meet the challenges they face.
The group’s specialist care knowledge and shared client care ethos, combined with the benefits of Howden’s global reach and distribution network, will also make for a world-class customer service. Hard-pressed care providers will reap the rewards of this partnership.
For more information please contact:
Susan Lee, Managing Director, Howden Care
T: 07525 815454
Robbie Weston, Managing Director, Howden Employee Benefits
T: 02920 731694