Is Wellbeing the Catalyst for Staff Retention and Quality Care?
Ahead of The Care Show 2018 (17-18 October, NEC Birmingham), The Carer talks to Sophie Coulthard from Judgement Index and The Road To Outstanding Podcast abou
t the role staff wellbeing plays in workplace culture and quality of care.
What is the state of the nation for staff wellbeing right now across the care sector?
It’s very varied across the sector but there are common issues in many companies. Our research shows a lot of staff working in care are much better at caring for others than themselves, and
this has a direct impact on their own wellbeing. There was also a piece of research done recently by NACAS which found that 61.9% of respondents felt their work had a negative impact on their mental health which is significant.
What impact does this have on staff and the wider operation of care homes?
Poor wellbeing causes a ripple effect across organisations. If staff wellbeing is not a priority, then it can cause higher sickness levels which can impact on the business-side such as agency costs and then lead to a poorer working culture. There’s also the consideration of how good the quality and consistency of care being delivered is, if there are significant well-being issues within the team.
Why is increasing staff wellbeing such a key factor in improving staff retention, care quality and workplace culture?
I think a focus on increasing staff well-being can be the glue that brings all these key
issues for so many care companies together. If staff know the company is focused and committed to their wellbeing, then they will feel valued. If they feel valued then they are more likely to stay with that company, promote it as a great place to work and do a better job because they are happier. Many companies are focused purely on the quality of life for their clients or residents, but if you put your energy into the quality of life for your staff then they will deliver the results.
What challenges does the sector face in improving the wellbeing of its staff?
I think it’s a tricky subject because many believe it can’t be measured or quantified. Or they believe it will be costly and time consuming. I think that staff themselves may also present a challenge if they are very used to things operating in the same way. They may not immediately buy-in to the idea or think it is a flash-in-the-pan.
What must happen to enable change?
I think the challenge is that change cannot happen overnight, so it needs to be seen as a long-term commitment with a leader within every company with a strong vision of the long-term benefits. They then need to sell this to the staff as well as listening to any ideas from the team. And it needs 100% commitment. As soon as a leader forgets or cancels something from their well-being policy they will lose the trust from their staff.
What impact does improvement of staff wellbeing on the quality of care delivered?
One of the top complaints I hear from people using care services, is when they don’t have continuity of care. If staff know that the organisation they work for is committed to their wellbeing, then they will be less likely to leave. It’s also a simple fact that the happier you are at work the better the quality of your work and we see this in the results of high-performing care companies.
Can you share some simple tips on how to measure and spot wellbeing issues?
A quick look at sickness levels and staff turnover can provide a lot of information. We use the Judgement Index assessment which measures well-being levels within individuals but also in teams or entire companies. When you see a chart showing stress levels, energy, self-regard, self-criticism and self-esteem all in the red then you know there is a collective issue. The Judgement Index can identify issues that staff surveys may not.
What is your top aspiration for staff wellbeing in the care sector in the next 5-10 years?
I’d love to see every care company have a wellbeing policy or mission statement for their staff, as well as for their clients.
What are the key takeaways for visitors attending your session at The Care Show?
They will learn about why wellbeing should be a priority for them if they want to improve staff retention and care quality, but I’ll also be sharing what should go into a well-being policy and how to bring it to life. I always give away practical tips in my talks so that the audience can go back and implement something right away.
Why should care sector professionals come down to The Care Show this October?
It’s set to be the best Care Show yet! The show always shares the positive about working in care which I think is so important and is very much aligned to what I try to achieve with the podcast (The Road to Outstanding). There are some great speakers and so much experience being shared it really is invaluable.
Please share your top visitor tip for making the most of your time at The Care Show
Plan your trip in advance. When I see people walking around with different talks highlighted in their programmes I know they are taking it seriously and out to get the most out of it. I’d also recommend taking as many notes and photos as possible, so you don’t forget all the great information you soak up on the day!
Meet Sophie at The Care Show on Thursday 18th October 2018 from 12:15 – 12:45 as she presents in Theatre 1 as part of the show’s People conference stream. For the full conference agenda please click here.