In the long list of incentives to recruit and retain the best talent for your care organisation, digital software shouldn’t be overlooked. Perhaps you have this in place already and could make more of it as a benefit to staff – or perhaps you’re yet to make the digital switch. As care professionals seek opportunities with better conditions, digital care management software is an asset you should have in your candidate toolbox.
Even if, on paper, changing systems and learning a new way to do something may seem like something that takes time in itself, the switchover should be a relatively simple and practical process. But, ditching the paper and going digital is all part of a bigger picture too, and here’s why…
Digital social care: what’s the big idea?
The state of the adult social care sector and workforce 2022, conducted and published by Skills for Care, has estimated that the care sector may need 480,000 more workers by 2035. Vacancy rates are growing and demand is growing, but the workforce seems to be shrinking.
Staff turnover in the sector for the report period of 2021-22 was estimated at 29%. And there’s a higher turnover rate for care workers with less than one year of experience, which suggests that something happens to take the appeal of the sector away from them very quickly. Interestingly, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they leave the sector all together, as 63% of jobs are recruited from in the sector itself.
These are the stats, but behind those are people in care – at all levels – that want to provide outstanding care for their service users. Can we look at a new way to help carers, care service managers and care home owners do that, and try and attract more people into the sector too? We think we absolutely can!
Digital innovation in care homes
High turnover rates are expensive and eat into your time. This seems like a ‘people problem’ but incorporating tech into your operations helps to engage and empower your staff for a happier team.
Practically speaking, a digital and uniform approach to care plans and risk assessments should allow for a more streamlined process. Care plan and risk assessment prompts – all in the palm of the carer’s hand – mean that notes and logs are completed in real time and not later on in the day, after hours, or even the following week. Managers are able to check in too, even if working remotely. Let’s not forget the handover, where anything from illegible handwriting to missing information, means that a carer cannot jump on a shift and pick up where another member of the team has left off.
And, it’s a system that ad-hoc staff pick up for temporary stints with minimal fuss on both sides.
Beyond the practical, using tech for care is walking the walk: championing person-centred care in theory and practice, by supporting staff with the tools to record their work more precisely, handover shifts accurately and provide the best care they can.
A forward-thinking approach appeals to carers who want to work in a dynamic environment with training opportunities for personal and professional development: a career with reward, recognition and prospects. Include your staff in the process of going digital to engage them and gather their valuable feedback around which platform to choose.
Switch to digital and put people back into care
Allow your staff to deliver outstanding person-centred care that isn’t being detracted from with time-consuming and repetitive paperwork. As well as setting your service apart from the rest, this helps you become a more attractive employer within the sector, for the next generation of recruits.
When looking at recruitment, especially from outside of the sector, going digital separates the dynamic from the dreary! You’re able to set up new staff easily and give them the confidence to work through care plans and risk assessments, logs and tasks, while being confident that your senior team are able to check in as well, on the same day or later on.
Beyond the essential paperwork, a digital system lets carers and service providers take snaps and videos of their day to add to the client’s personal file, or share with the client’s family. From day one, this puts the client’s wellbeing alongside their welfare, and says ‘yes, we take care of the ‘must-dos’ but then we make sure our care users are happy’.
Managing the expectations of all involved
Last but not least, there’s a lot to learn when you start a new job (even if you’ve already worked in the sector), so it must be simple for staff and service managers to adopt new technologies.
If you find yourself worrying about keeping hold of your staff and worrying about the shortage of incoming, experienced talent, use all of the help and funding available to navigate the digital switchover. A better digital infrastructure improves your desirability in the eyes of candidates. Find more information on access to funding in our previous article here.
Often managers step in to cover for short staffing issues or have to pick up shifts on short notice, leaving them feeling that they’re getting the short end of the stick. Three ‘shorts’ don’t make a right; but they’re quickly rectified. Going digital allows you to maintain the involvement and engagement with your staff, provides an overview of daily processes, but most importantly, allows you to step back and do your own job, while they do theirs.
For more information, you can read our guide to going digital here, which takes you through some hints and tips about ditching the paperwork for good.