Launching her bi-monthly column for CHP, Sharon Allen, CEO, Skills for Care, stresses the importance of maintaining workforce physical and mental wellbeing
We know that in adult social care on any given day there are 90,000 vacancies, so keeping your best people is vital. In an incredibly competitive marketplace for top quality leaders and workers, looking after the physical and mental wellbeing of your teams is no longer a ‘nice to have’; it has to be core to the way you run your services.
Even more so as we are working in the most challenging operational environment I have seen in my thirty years in adult social care, so making sure your key workers are fit and healthy is actually a business decision, as well as the right thing to do.
You might think it’s easy for me to say that but we are subject to the same financial constraint as everyone else. Our senior leadership team has been very clear that wellbeing is something we have to – and want to – support day in and day out.
So we have monthly wellbeing initiatives ranging from taking care of our mental health to supporting our colleagues who are also carers to stay in the business. It doesn’t have to be expensive, for example, I regularly offer knowledge transfer sessions on making speeches, passing on what I know about speaking to an audience.
We know this investment works because our staff surveys consistently show our people are happy working at Skills for Care and know they are valued by us – as well as showing us the areas we need to improve in. Our turnover rates are low, and we also know we can’t ever become complacent.
I am intensely aware that in this very tough climate that creating a wellbeing programme that’s sustainable and affordable can be a challenge for many employers. That means we also have to support adult social care employers to develop programmes that are right for them and the people who work for them.
One group of workers that we know are vital to a Good or Outstanding care service are registered managers. Given how tough it is at the moment, those leaders are under particular pressure, so one way they can support their wellbeing is to become a registered manager member of Skills for Care, where they can access peer support, share best practice and knowledge.
As part of that membership they can also access our ‘Wellbeing for registered managers: a practical survival guide’ offering practical information, top tips, case studies, action plans and workforce exercises.
The great thing about the guide is that learning from using it will be shared throughout an organisation by the registered managers which means the wellbeing needs of workers at all levels will be supported.
Throughout my career I have benefitted from having and being a mentor and now that I have qualified as a coach and am offering coaching to leaders in our sector, I have a coaching supervisor who supports me to reflect on my practice and continually improve.
Creating an effective wellbeing programme not only means you have a much better chance of retaining your best people; ultimately the people we serve can access high quality, relationship-based services provided by skilled and healthy workers.
Find out more about registered manager membership and the new ‘Wellbeing for registered managers: a practical survival guide’ at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/membership.
Follow us @skillsforcare in August when we have a #happyworkplace themed month, packed with information on improving health and wellbeing in your workplace.