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Motivating your Healthcare workforce


Motivation especially the Care Sector is a subject about which people make many assumptions. Yes, money is a good motivator, sometimes the best, but it is short-lived and is not the only way employees can be motivated which is important in this sector.

Key to motivating people is understanding the following aspects:

  • Situation
  • Desires
  • Mindset

Why understand such things? We want to be motivated, but in different ways. Part of recruitment journeys should be to understand in advance what people need, to get the best out of them. If you don’t know this, how can you ensure you are ready to drive people the right way?

The risk is that you could be motivating all with the same carte blanche approach and getting mixed responses.

You can find out more by mapping people to their key motivators. This can be done in a 1:1 environment or appraisals. Sometimes little is done in the early stages when employing people, which over time creates cost for the business. More groundwork with your people from the offset will reduce staff turnover.

Simple oversights which have cost businesses dearly because they were not dealt with efficiently. Mainly occur when someone was first employed. A new employee is scoping you out as an employer just as you are them as a new member of the team. They want to feel valued, they want the right facilities, equipment, location – the list goes on. What better way to show people this by than by asking questions during the recruitment such as:

  • What motivates you?
  • What do you expect from me as an employer?
  • What does work mean to you and your lifestyle?
  • What is your plan for the next five years? (personal goals)

The long-term results will be significant and in most cases easier to accommodate. There is always less confrontation when all the cards are on the table. It’s harder to handle a termination of employment than it is just not to take someone on in the first place, if it’s not the right fit for either party.

Some examples of good motivation are:

  1. Provide a positive environment to work in – no one wants to work in a run-down space.. You will be surprised by the boost in morale, the involvement will build pride in the long-term care of the working environment.
  2. Acknowledge an employee’s achievement when they have a great result, gone beyond the call of duty or done something special. The best way to praise someone is in front of their peers. Always make sure it’s face to face though – an email doesn’t have the same impact. We all love a pat on the back – it’s a childhood instinct, it still means a lot.
  3. Give your employees the right tools to do their jobs well. Nothing demotivates people more than not having what they need to do their jobs. It may be updating their computer, fresh training , support, even something as simple as a chair that doesn’t wobble.
  4. Provide incentive schemes – this is vital now with many care providers using budgets and CQC achievements linked to incentive schemes.
  5. Make sure you listen to your employees. You can’t help them or change things if you don’t know about the problems in the first place. Regular reviews and informal chats are essential. The motivation, this interaction will give them can be huge.

Just a few examples, all very easy to implement. Unhappy people are not productive or indeed useful when the CQC come to visit. If you don’t address their unhappiness now, it could mean significant expense later, either through an inefficient workforce or worse a high staff turnover. Either way you will lose the people you need to move forward.


When we talk about motivating people incentive schemes are becoming more prevalent. Something that is not synonymous with the Care sector. Although there are relatively inexpensive issues of motivation through understanding your people as people. The Care manager role in a Care Home or Community Care is one of the toughest jobs in the UK with multiple skills required and many reporting channels such as the CQC. The expectation is very different, therefore our understanding of rewarding the role also needs to change. They are not necessarily naturally target driven people who live for commissions, but they are hardworking and want to earn well for delivering a successful environment, which means incentives become key drivers for them. This new target driven approach works for both the organisation and the individual, because the focus is on quality through dynamic / innovative achievements which is only going to bring great things.

So these pay structures can be key. This element of motivating, maintaining and driving employees through their pay structures, can set the tone for how people perform within a business, and in my humble opinion it is used far too little. By identifying the key drivers of your teams, pay plans can be used to get the extra mile you may need to take your business to the next level and offer the creativity needed in the Adult Social Care industry today.

Often pay plans are seen as plans for sales people only, but this can be very short-sighted. Every business requires a set of objectives to push people. The reward for them may only be small, but a small incentive now could help to achieve improved profitability for reinvestment in the future.

Read more in Adam Hutchison’s book published in June 2017 about people in businesses and their importance. Titled – Rick v Reward: The Employee Employer Conundrum – Now available on Amazon or from Mereo Publishing.


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