Attracting and Retaining Aged Care Workers: Proven Strategies for Staff Retention

Caoimhe Walsh

Written on 21 December, 2023
home-care-workers
Retaining skilled aged care support workers is key to delivering excellent care — but which retention strategies have the best ROI? Read on to discover essential home care workforce retention tips.

Why You Should Develop Strategies for Aged Care Staff Retention 

Australia is facing a major aged care support worker shortage, with the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) recently describing the aged care sector as “running on empty”. 

The CEDA’s 2023 report makes for grim reading: it predicts a shortage of 110,000 workers by 2030, and states that several aged care homes have already closed — with 50% of those homes claiming that workforce shortages were a contributing factor.

With the country’s record-low unemployment levels and aged care workers’ poor earning potential, it should come as no surprise that many aged care support workers are switching to better-paid careers. Level 2–5 aged care and home care employees earn significantly lower wages compared to social and community service employees in general. 

Home care providers must prioritise staff retention if they wish to continue delivering high-quality home care. Not only is retention more affordable than recruiting and training new staff, but it ensures consistency of care for your clients.

How Do You Recruit and Retain an Aged Care Support Worker? 

Our in-depth guide to care worker recruitment will walk you through how to hire talented, passionate aged care workers that are a good fit for your business. But retaining your new recruit is equally as important. 

You should begin implementing your retention strategy before your new caregiver has even turned up for their first shift: 57% of caregiver turnover happens in the first 90 days.

4 Essential Retention Strategies for Your Aged Care Workers

#1 Regular Check-Ins

You’ll be able to spot and resolve issues more quickly when you’re in regular contact with your aged care workers. Every caregiver should receive regular contact from their manager, whether it’s a quick SMS to say “good work on your last shift” or feedback passed on from a client. 

For new recruits, you should also reach out before and after their first shift, after their first week and after their first month.

#2 Flexible Rostering 

When your aged care team can fit their shifts around their personal commitments, they experience a better work-life balance, increased job satisfaction and reduced stress levels. This flexibility can help you retain your staff as they feel valued and understood.

Encourage your caregiver team to set their availability and preferred shift patterns via your aged care software. You should also enable bidding on additional shifts via a job board and take location into account when rostering. 

#3 Competitive Compensation and Benefits 

Pay is a major issue for aged care support worker retention, especially among more experienced caregivers. As the CEDA 2023 report found, a full-time level 5 aged care employee earns roughly $600 less per week than the average level 5 social and community services worker.

A more competitive pay rate can help you retain aged care support staff who are only leaving for financial reasons. Don’t overlook the value of benefits, either. Profit margins are often squeezed in aged care, but an attractive benefits package may help compensate for lower pay.

Make sure payroll is processed correctly and on time, too. If your staff members have to pay out of pocket for expenses, ensure that these are reimbursed promptly. Ideally, your team should be able to attach proof of expenses to the shift record for more accurate accounts and payroll.

#4 On-Shift Support

When your aged care team feels supported at work, their stress levels will fall and their morale will increase. By ensuring your workers have the support they need, you’ll help improve retention rates — and your care quality, too.

Make sure your aged care support workers can easily access all the information they need for their shift, from shift address to patient care records. Use care note templates so they can complete their documentation more quickly. And, make sure that they can easily contact a manager if something goes wrong.

Improve Your Caregiver Retention Rates with Workforce Management Tools 

ShiftCare’s aged care software comes with a wealth of workforce management tools designed to support your business and your care staff alike. Your team can set their availability and bid on shifts via the ShiftCare app, giving them the work-life balance they need.

And, with instant access to client documents plus an intuitive care note system, they’ll find they have the support they need to provide excellent care.

Discover how aged care software can boost your team’s morale, reduce your turnover rates and drive a higher quality of care. Try ShiftCare for free.


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