How COVID-19 has impacted social care workplace cultures

“Company culture refers to the basic assumptions, beliefs and behaviours that have developed over time and are shared by members of an organisation.” – Schein

When pressure becomes increased in a workplace, cultures can begin to downward spiral. With staff vacancy rates rocketing and burnout becoming increasingly common, the COVID-19 pandemic is just one of the reasons social care workplace cultures have been impacted.

When leadership becomes overstretched, due to the impacts of the likes of COVID, funding changes, a challenging recruitment environment and difficulty to retain staff, this often results in a parental management style resulting in poor responses from staff e.g. they have a bad attitude, don’t do their job or do their job badly.

If workplace cultures start to downward spiral, staff may leave. With there being already over 100,000 vacancies in the sector unfilled and the government estimating a further 35,000 – 70,000 staff who will face dismissal due to the new vaccination legislation, retaining staff is more important than ever.

In October and November Skills for Care are putting the spotlight on the retention of staff through their #RetainToGain campaign. The latest figures by Skills for Care state the average turnover rate for the social care sector is 30.4%. As part of the campaign, they have asked employers with a turnover of less than 10% what their main activities contributing to staff retention were. These include; investing in learning and development, embedding the values of their organisation, celebrating organisational and individual achievements, and involving colleagues in decision making.

“Investing in staff retention is vital to the success of any organisation. It helps with the continuity of high-quality care, staff wellbeing, time and cost savings, and positive Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings.” – Skills for Care

Maintaining a positive workplace culture will directly influence the retention of staff within your organisation, so should your culture begin to downward spiral here are some tips you can take to reverse it:

  • First of all to try to achieve organisational clarity. To do this, revisit your mission, vision, values and behaviours, this way you can ensure that your business strategy outlines the steps you are taking towards these. Also, take the time to ensure all your key people are aligned with the strategy.
  • Make sure staff have sufficient time off to rest and recuperate, it is important to help promote a positive leadership, as well as helping minimise staff burnout which can affect their mental health and wellbeing. To do this you can rely on a trusted agency partner to provide temporary support ensuring continuity of staffing is maintained while your permanent staff members are taking time off.
  • Create safe spaces where staff trust that they can be honest in feeding back what it is really like to work for the organisation. Give staff the opportunity to identify barriers and encourage discussion to build rapport, empathy and understanding. Engage a task force within your organisation to review the barriers and develop solutions, this way changes start to stick as staff become self-managing by supporting their colleagues to make and accept change.
  • Encourage your teams to innovate. A more empowered staff force is likely to feel more engaged, proactive, and willing to go the extra mile and now a culture of continuous improvement is developing as staff respond more positively to a changing environment.

If you would like to discuss the above, or about how we can collaborate, please let us know. To get in touch, email or call us on 03305 552233.

As a specialist, family-run recruitment business, we provide a proactive and consultative approach to recruitment within Social Care. We help organisations to target issues such as continuity of staffing, reducing spend where you have a high volume of agency usage and supporting those who have specific talent requirements or are in hard to fill locations. We can help with any immediate staffing requirements or longer-term recruitment projects to ultimately save you time and money on agency spend.

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