Opinion

Caring for carers, creating a supportive workplace

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, CEO, Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society

Brian Boxall-Hunt, Chief Executive at maritime care charity The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society explores how to nurture a supported workforce

Each year, approximately 390,000 care workers in the UK leave their jobs, with around 110,000 job vacancies at any one time, which creates an increasing demand for carers. A career in the care sector is hard work, but certainly one of the most rewarding through dedicating your life to caring for others.

At The Royal Alfred, we place an emphasis on the care of not just the residents at our Belvedere House care home, but also our staff members who help to make the Society a truly caring home for those who reside with us.

The importance of supporting your workforce is more important than ever today, with greater awareness around mental health in the workplace. In the UK, one in four of us will encounter a mental health problem at one point in our lives, with work being a factor in aggravating pre-existing conditions.

As a care home, it is our duty to ensure all staff feel supported in their roles, where factors such as a close-knit team, supportive senior management that can identify areas of concern for the workforce and also social events for staff members to enjoy and become immersed in, can contribute to a happier workforce.

Benefits of an encouraging employer that can be positive on the employee, such as fantastic career opportunities (like those we offer at the Society) contribute to our low staff turnover rate of 14% – with the industry average sitting at 23%. One example of how we implement this support into day-to-day life is by our in-house trainer, Sharon Hicks who delivers bespoke skills courses to individuals.

Thanks to this investment into training, currently, our staff training levels are at an all-time high of 100%, meaning the team are highly skilled and all staff have had the relevant training for their specific roles. A dedicated in-house trainer means staff are supported in their development and with training suited to their needs – nurturing career progression and highlighting to carers that investing in their futures is important to us.

Another element The Royal Alfred has found successful when supporting our workforce is carrying out staff surveys for feedback. Regular staff surveys are conducted to ensure our staff are listened to and guarantees a dialogue between employees and senior managers. There is an established line of reporting for staff, who understand the management structure and receive mentoring from their colleagues to help with their progression, which is highly encouraged within the home.

The Royal Alfred offers staff a strong personal development plan focused on training and career development, individualised to each staff member to ensure training needs are met and each person can fulfil their career ambitions. We believe this helps to support all staff, also encouraging consistent performance that ultimately benefits not only our workforce’s wellbeing, but the residents that they care for each day.

Lastly, one final good practice to support our staff is by celebrating their achievements. Each year we celebrate those that reach significant anniversaries with our Long Service Awards. We are always seeking to personally commend staff members who go above and beyond in a very high pressure and often emotionally challenging environment and our Long Service Awards are a way of rewarding and celebrating the development of individual staff members.

In short, support your workforce and your employees will get more out of their role leading to better staff retention rates and a clear career path. This helps to provide the overall outstanding level of care that all residents at end of life deserve and ensures the mental wellbeing of your carers.

 

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