Care providers should share ownership with employees to combat staff shortage

care giver

By Will Prochaska. This article first featured on the Huffington Post.

Earlier this year headlines reported that 900 carers leave their jobs every day. National Care Forum statistics show that 48% of recruits working in Domiciliary Care leave in under 12 months and 68% in under 2 years.

The statistics paint a picture of a dissatisfied and dis-engaged workforce in crisis, which is a major factor in driving poor quality care, and should worry anyone whose loved one relies on such support.

For care providers, the commercial reality of high staff turnover is excessive expenditure on temporary staff agencies and never-ending recruitment, which is enough to put many providers out of business. All this with the National Living Wage on the rise and the impending Brexit challenge on the horizon.

In some sectors the answer would be simple. Pay would be increased to retain talent and the higher costs passed onto the consumer. But in Care this is made nearly impossible by current economic realities and local government funding constraints.

In this context, providers who operate employee ownership models are at a distinct advantage. CASA – the leading employee owned care provider in the North of England – employs over 800 staff who are also the beneficiaries of the trust that owns it, allowing CASA to reward them on top of their salaries when it makes a profit.

But CASA’s philosophy goes much deeper. CASA invests in a workforce development strategy designed to combat the challenges of staff recruitment and retention, which also ensures that it delivers the highest quality care. In their most recent staff engagement survey 84% of employees stated that they find their job fulfilling, and 89% feel trusted to do their job. With engagement statistics that strong it’s no surprise that CASA achieves a ‘good’ or better CQC rating wherever it is inspected.

The key to success is not just a company’s ownership structure but its ownership culture, which isn’t straightforward to achieve. It requires a multi-faceted approach to shaping the systems and behaviours exhibited in an organisation, and it needs to be monitored and nurtured.

At a point where the Care sector is desperate for innovative solutions to challenges of low pay, an approach which makes employees owners in their business, and which drives their engagement, is one which more providers should examine closely.

At Baxendale, we’ve been helping social and commercial businesses to transform their business models and cultures since 2000, specialising particularly in innovative ownership models. We should know something about it: we’ve been employee owned ourselves since 1983 and were recently honoured as one of the best B-Corps in the world for workers.

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