‘Carry on Learning’ – A Top Ten of Tips on Staff Retention


Kelly has been doing a lot of sorting out recently. Amongst the papers he
uncovered was one on staff retention written some 12 years ago for the National
Care Forum. He was intrigued to see if the tips in the article had stood the
test of time and remained relevant. Here he shares
his thoughts

with the Residential Forum by reproducing the original article with annotated reflections (in
italics). The top ten tips, not in any priority order, were:

1.     It starts
and ends with management and managers – style
of management
is crucial. Managers have to be vigilant to the importance of
job satisfaction for the staff.

I believe this is
every bit as true today. Management and leadership qualities remain central to
creating a culture in which job satisfaction is enhanced in ways that
contribute to good retention levels. I’d want to add local to managers and
measure satisfaction as part of key performance indicators.

Personality, attitudes and values are
the factors which differentiate staff who stay working in the care sector – we
have to be able to identify these qualities
at the point of selection
, and then build on them.

recruitment toolkits have been developed to assist managers with the selection
process. Skills for Care and SCIE produce many resources to support the care sector
in selection and development.

feel valued. It is
essential to acknowledge and celebrate achievements. Look for ways to enhance
roles and responsibilities.

I am convinced that feeling
valued is vital. The way that people are treated makes a big difference to how
they feel and their sense of loyalty and commitment. Managers need to offer
regular feedback and positive reinforcement.

Create career pathways from the moment of induction with succession plans
which enable people to see their future in the organisation.

The lack of clear
career pathways continues to be an issue for the care sector. Care providers
can only do so much as it is a sector-wide problem. Nevertheless, the idea of
seeing a future in an organisation seems to me to be as important as ever!

Foster a sense of belonging, of team-working and the importance of what they
do contributes to improving quality of life for service users.

Yes, yes, yes!


Be as flexible as possible – the degree of autonomy in social care is a
major attraction to the work.

I’m not sure that the
term ‘zero hours contracts’ had been coined in 2005 but they have come to
symbolise the negative aspects of flexibility. Autonomy is probably the
important criteria here but flexibility and a sense of control are also
essential attributes for motivation and satisfaction.

7.  Promote positive
and stories of care in the media. The Care Ambassador scheme
developed by Skills for Care is an excellent example of accentuating the

It sometimes feels as
though it’s getting better but there is still lots to do as the positive messages
need to offer a counterbalance to the negative accounts when things have gone
wrong. The care sector definitely has an image problem.

8.  Ensure staff receive (and experience) supervision which is supportive and
individually motivating.

I get the sense that
supervision is not used or undertaken as it was. Some one-to-one time is
important, in my view, and worth making time for on a regular basis.

Recognise that whilst pay is important
so are working conditions, breaks, meals
and facilities

Remember the National
Living Wage is only a start!

10.  Don’t stop
training and development
. Build on induction with on-going training
opportunities for vocational qualifications and development.

‘Carry on learning’
seems like sound advice and ought still to be meaningful for a further 12

there anything missing for 2017 I wonder? I do recommend that all managers read
‘Saving Social Care: how to find more of
the best frontline care employees and keep the ones you have’
by Neil
Eastwood as it’s the best practical guidance on this vital subject in a long


Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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