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Top ten ways to increase job satisfaction in social care

Do you feel recognised? Are you satisfied with your job role? If you had more recognition, would you have more job satisfaction? Three good questions, and something to take some time to think about.

A young woman in a yellow and navy checked flannel shirt, laughing and looking down at the desk in front of them, where a laptop sits, with a young male colleague blurred out in the background.
Mark Topps
Mark Topps
Regional Business Manager
Published on:
8/4/2022
· Last Edited On:
9/6/2022
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8-minute read

In 2014, Health and Social Care was deemed the most fulfilling profession and studies over the last few years, continued to reveal high levels of job satisfaction for care and support workers. However, job satisfaction has decreased across all roles within the sector, and it’s time we act to get it back on track.

In this column, I share my top ten (simple, but effective) ways to show your staff recognition and increase their job satisfaction.

Set values

We’ve all worked for organisations that have values no one ever references. Why not re-assess your values and ask the people you support and the people working for you for their input. Having clear values helps you build a team that shares your vision and mindset. And by involving the people you support; you’ll enable them to have control over the standards they expect.

Walk the walk

This is the easiest thing to put into place. Reviewing CQC reports, it’s clear that some of the highest performing teams in social care are the ones that have created a family feel at work. It is important not to lose all boundaries. Managers still need to address poor performance but lead by example and be part of the team.

Seek feedback and collaborate

Collaboration in the workplace is about people working together. That might mean care workers teaming up with managers or supervisors to achieve the team’s goals. You can gauge job satisfaction through staff surveys, supervisions, appraisals and open communication. It is important to seek feedback and communicate challenges. Once you receive feedback, you must act on it and use it to shape the culture and future of the service.

Give rewards

Everyone likes to be recognised. And your employees should be rewarded for their hard work when they have gone above and beyond. Acknowledge when your staff have work anniversaries, receive a qualification or pass probation. I’ve found a handwritten card, given directly to the staff member and re-affirmed verbally, is the best way to show appreciation. However, you could give vouchers, flowers, chocolates or a bottle of bubbles.

Use the right technology

There is a big push for social care to be digital. However, anything you implement needs to be the right fit for your service, your teams and the people you support. Make sure the technology you implement empowers your staff and is accessible to the people using it. Getting the wrong software can have a detrimental impact on job satisfaction.

Remember, job satisfaction comes from meaningful work and having fun. The only way you can do great work is if you love what you do.

Public and private recognition

Recognition needs to be completed in two parts. First, you should give recognition in private. This helps the person understand why they are being recognised and you can truly emphasise the impact they’ve had. After that, show recognition publicly and let the whole team know when someone is being celebrated for the work they’ve done. This could be through an employer of the month award or by acknowledging them in your newsletter or on social media. However you do it, it’s important that the recognition is celebrated.

Ensure a work-life balance

This is important for you and your team. 62% of workers feel that a work-life balance is now the most important part of a job. We need to ensure we adapt to this growing trend to keep in line with other sectors and industries. Some simple methods to do this include:

  • Ensure rotas are done promptly so people know when they are working and can make plans
  • Introduce flexible working arrangements
  • Make sure your teams take an uninterrupted lunch break
  • Share the visions and values of the organisation with your team
  • Don’t be afraid to say no and take time to look at what is important to you.

Pay and benefits

This is a topic that’s frequently discussed and I am the first to call for better pay for social care staff. Although we know that this is not the main factor for joining or staying in the sector, it can help to attract people into social care and increase job satisfaction. Aside from pay, what other benefits can you offer? Look at what your competition offers, both within and outside of social care. Seek feedback from your team on the benefits they would like. There is no point in introducing a perk that no one wants when that money could be spent elsewhere.

Be transparent and honest

No one wants to work for an organisation that is not open and honest and this needs to come from the top down. Most people spend more time at work than at home and you must be honest and open about expectations, roles and the kind of organisational culture you want to build.

Give autonomy, variety and development

No one likes doing the same thing day in and day out. Instead, give your teams space to think, be creative and make decisions. You can still maintain oversight, but employee engagement is critical to high levels of job satisfaction. It’s important not to micromanage. Provide your team with opportunities to learn new skills and undertake training and qualifications.

Remember, job satisfaction comes from meaningful work and having fun. The only way you can do great work is if you love what you do. Make sure your employees are in a role that is supported, recognised and above all, one they love doing.

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