5 min read/Published On: October 29, 2020/1005 words/

Reducing Staff Turnover

Thanks as always for all the feedback on last week’s post, Competence is more important than attendance.  Whilst this is vital for all staff, how can we speed things up for new staff?

The State of the Workforce report from Skills for Care (October 2020) outlines that staff turnover for Care Workers is above 38% and it is at its highest with new staff and those with fewer than 3 years experience.

Skills for Care

So, if staff turnover is at its highest in this particular group, what can we do about it?

Last week we talked about focus.  Focus your efforts on the staff that need it in order to retain them instead of recruiting more…  Focus our budget, focus our time and focus our effort where it is needed most – when you have a system in place to support this, it makes the approach effective.

So can we apply the same principle to the new staff in order to positively impact the statistics Skills for Care has shared?

The short answer is YES…

The longer answer starts with a question…  Why do so many people leave either during induction or shortly after?

There is some truth in the perspective that people leave to work in Tesco or Asda stacking shelves because the pay is better and you don’t need a car for driving between calls etc.  However, the bit that is missing is the rewarding nature of social care.  Stacking shelves has to be a fairly ordinary role with little room for career progression – think back to the “Succession Planning” blog post a while back.

Can we incorporate something into the interview or induction that supports new starters to realise or appreciate the value of social care and what we do day-to-day?

There is a set of statistics at the beginning of Module 3 of Lead to Succeed, which outlines that 60% of people leave their job for feeling undervalued, compared to 29% of people who leave their jobs because of low pay.  So, if twice as many people leave their jobs for feeling undervalued, can we incorporate something into induction that supports new staff to really appreciate the impact of their role?  Maybe asking the very people we support to share their experience of care and what it means to them might help to connect staff into the real value and impact of the role.

What else?  What if the COVID situation has caused an increase in applications from people who used to work in leisure and hospitality who are now looking for some level of job security?  As I have said many times recently, social care does not work from home!

Skills for Care

If you have experienced a similar increase, is there something we can do to overcome the looming challenge of the Immigration Act – something we have also blogged about over the past year.

What if we could pre-prepare staff for induction and reduce the number who drop out, during or just after induction?

Knowledge is power.  You cannot put into practice something you don’t know or understand which is why our methodology has evolved as it has.  If someone has come from working in a completely different environment like hospitality, then social care with MCA, Medication, DoLS and many more, could be overwhelming and might just explain why people leave early on in the process.

Another element of Lead to Succeed in Module 4, Leading and Managing the Process of Change – where it outlines that 33% of the workforce has less than three years’ experience – essentially a symptom of people leaving early in the process.

Can we then get these new entrants ready for induction – before induction, almost like a selection process?  Well, we believe you can and some of our customers have been doing it for years with great success – one of our customers reduced staff turnover (during induction) down from sector average 28% to just 8%, which is nothing short of phenomenal, but how did they do it?

There were many factors, but there were a couple of specific elements:

  • Use eLearning to get people ready for their induction
  • Share data with the mentor or buddy and enable them to add competence evidence to the portfolio – live
  • Do this before people join


If you are experiencing the increase in applications that are indicative of COVID, can we take the opportunity to avoid misunderstandings?  Another common theme in social care that has been shared with me is people think they are just going to be taking people shopping and making nice cups of tea or, in LD settings, just taking part in activities or going on trips.  However, the reality is very different, and that is part of the reason people leave early on; they are simply not ready for the reality.

So why not spend £3 to get people going with learning, before they join, earlier in the selection process?  If people can’t or don’t want to complete learning before joining, are they really going to turn up for a shift on a Saturday night when their friends and family are making the most of the weekend (home by curfew, of course)…

If you make the small investment described above to save the recruitment costs of >£3500 (according to Skills for Care), it is a small price to pay, but the savings are huge.

Lastly, in the State of the Workforce report, Skills for Care describes how 430,000 people left their jobs (turnover of 30.8%), however 67% of them stayed in the sector.  The positive spin on that is “we retained those skills in the sector”, but the flipside is the sector spent countless hours interviewing and recruiting people.  The darker side of these figures is 33% left the sector – almost 142,000 people – which means the cost to the sector is huge.

The brighter side of the figures in the report are that some providers have turnover rates of below 10% and our customers have achieved similar results, but it does take a bit creativity and effort, but it is worth it – well worth it…

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