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Staff retention a problem?


Do you need to look in the mirror?


Top reasons why staff have left social care organisations


  • There is no leadership, or management, everything is last minute, surprised there haven’t been real accidents
  • I’ve no idea what the culture, or ethos of the organisation is
  • I’ve not had a job description or employment contract in 12 months
  • Paperwork isn’t properly completed, or done at the time
  • Policies and procedures are out of date and a ragbag filched from other providers
  • In almost 3 years, there have been no appraisals and no proper supervisions
  • I’m expected to be on-call 24-7 for free
  • I’m expected to pay for training, uniform and PPE and the training is useless
  • The uniform is rubbish, wrong sizes, stains easily and difficult to clean
  • Getting paid is a hassle, holiday pay and overtime are never there, they tell me that pensions are my problem they don’t have to pay it
  • They tell the council that they pay staff travel time, but they don’t
  • CQC are coming, this is what you tell them
  • There aren’t enough staff on duty, we aren’t trained nurses or managers
  • Poor recruitment = poor retention.

These are just a few valid reasons, from exit interviews, or talking with social care staff looking for work. If as a director, trustee or adult-airport-arriving-1457691manager you cannot effectively communicate the culture of your organisation to new and existing staff then you are not doing your job properly and you will struggle to get above RI at a CQC inspection. If the organisation culture is not understood and being achieved, the system is failing and staff retention will be poor. Staff should be on the asset side of the business, not the liabilities.


It’s said that money is a poor motivator, this is always stated by the likes of government officials and Directors of Social Service, all being paid £100k pa +, when staff are on £8.00 an hour, money is a motivator.  See for useful information. If another company offers £0.20 an hour more and your organisational leadership and management is poor, staff will go. Zero hours contract are no help either, along with incorrect, or no job descriptions, terms of employment and contracts of employment.


Look at your competition for employing new and retaining existing employees, not just other care providers, but supermarkets, warehouses, and the NHS. What are they offering that you could match? The costs of employing a new carer are around £3k+, every one that leaves is that amount and more from your bottom line. Ask yourself, can I prevent one employee a month leaving, how much will this save you?

A new employee such as a carer

How to stem the tide

  • Get the recruitment right so you’re getting better candidates
  • Build and maintain a good organisational culture
  • Move away from zero-hour contracts, show your staff you value them
  • Have a good induction, buddy new employees, introduce them, don’t leave them to work alone, not knowing who to ask
  • Provide clear, realistic guidelines of what is expected
  • Respect and value your staff and show this, employee of the month for example
  • Build and maintain an effective Quality Management System with achievable KPIs for your staff
  • Have effective staff rosters and get these done in advance, organise holiday rotas
  • Use good policies and procedures and ensure these are understood, checked and repeated
  • Use staff surveys, read and use the results and comments
  • When staff leave, interview them and find out why
  • Provide good training in paid time, not just poor-quality e-learning
  • Talk to your local college, use apprenticeship schemes
  • Provide quiet workstations where staff can do their CPD and add value to their training
  • Pay more for qualifications achieved, or a bonus when the organisation gets a good inspection, these do not have to be large amounts
  • Help the staff with their health & wellbeing, look at their work-life balance
  • If they are struggling with visas, benefits, or landlords, get involved, help them out, if you can’t advise them, then put them onto someone that can
  • Hold proper staff meetings, with an agenda, minutes in company time
  • Forget schemes that offer cheap cinema tickets and the like, offer real help; access to a confidential helpline to deal with debt & domestic violence, help with childcare
  • Look in the mirror, be honest, recognise your own inadequacies and the organisational weaknesses and put them right, or get someone else to do this
  • There is some good and free advice available, look at SfC, NICE and SCIE as start point

As a manager, trustee or director, you will have friends and acquaintances in organisations, look at these, see the ones doing well. Ask them how they do it, visit, listen, ask their staff, learn and respond. Build smaller teams within your overall team, share responsibility and bring staff through, show that there is scope to develop and be promoted, provide incentives, financial and otherwise.


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