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The importance of social care talent strategies as Covid-19 intensifies

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There’s no denying that as winter approaches, coupled with the ongoing fight against Covid-19, there will undoubtedly be tough times ahead for care homes, their patients and staff. With fresh reports of a second wave of coronavirus in full swing and case numbers increasing by the day, it’s perhaps fair to say that the future looks incredibly uncertain. And for care homes, the need to not only have enough staff to contend with the expected additional pressure on their services the next months will bring, but also ensure the wellbeing of their employees so they stay in their jobs is going to be absolutely crucial. Consequently social care talent strategies are going to be more important than ever.

However with news last week that the social care winter plan will give local public health bosses a de facto power to issue blanket bans on visitors in care homes – reminiscent of the action taken during the first lockdown – care homes look set to face additional pressures relating to not only the wellbeing of their patients, but also their own employees. The impact a blanket ban on visitors had on residents and staff at care homes during lockdown was widely documented – and with the very real prospect of this happening once again, the next few months look challenging to say the least for an already under pressure workforce.

Live in families at care homes to ease loneliness in lockdown

And it is perhaps for this reason that one care home group has taken the decision to invite family members to actually move into to the home for a period of two weeks in a bid to keep the most vulnerable people in touch with relatives should fresh lockdowns be imposed. Brendoncare, which operates ten care homes in the South of England, is inviting relatives to stay in a room next to the resident, for free, for a two-week period to help soften the separation residents face. Zoe McCallum, the COO of Brendoncare commented: “It’s a two-week holiday, if you like, when you are in the bubble with your loved one………. We hope it will give people confidence in care homes again. We have to build confidence among the relatives.”

Brendoncare is not the only home trying to ease the strain residents have faced during periods of lockdown. Welford Healthcare, for example, has created screened off visitor rooms in two of its homes. Each room is divided by an airtight partition and has an intercom so residents can receive visitors without having contact. One manager at the company’s Arhentum Lodge home, Alison Wingrove, said that “we are booked up two to three weeks in advance…the reactions have been wonderful. You can see how beneficial it has been.”

Could this put additional strain on an already pressurised workforce?

While there is no denying that any initiatives that address the incredibly difficult time residents have had over the past six months are admirable, it could be argued that the two aforementioned schemes may, in fact, put more strain on staff at homes. With more people in the home itself, coupled with actually managing the logistics of the schemes themselves, it could result in additional workload for employees. And at a time when care homes are struggling with staff shortages – not only due to people being off work due to self-isolation or sickness themselves, but also a historic dearth of talent in the sector – the is a real danger that initiatives like these could in fact negatively impact talent attraction and retention strategies. Arguably in the current climate, this is something that homes can’t afford to miss so it will be interesting to see how each of the schemes plays out in the coming months.

Partnering with an expert for immediate and long term talent strategies

There’s no denying that a second wave of coronavirus and the additional pressures this will place on care home employees is inevitably going to prove a challenging time for employers in the sector. And it is for this very reason that short and long term talent management strategies are arguably more important than ever for homes. However with talent shortages exacerbated by Covid-19 finding staff, often at short notice is incredibly challenging, which is why homes should be partnering with an expert talent specialist.

Our team is on hand to not only source staff at short notice due to our extensive network of candidates available for work, but we can also partner with you to develop a long term talent attraction strategy to ensure that on an ongoing basis you have the right people. Individuals that not only have the requisite skills and experience for the role, but that are also the correct fit for your team. We use a variety of approaches to talent mapping, and we utilise psychometric testing which offers a comprehensive way to assess if an individual’s attributes and behaviours are a fit for your business.

There’s no doubt that the next few months are going to be incredibly challenging. Not only have care homes got to contend with the additional pressures they usually face during winter, but added to this is the ongoing fight against Covid-19 and the impact this will have on staffing levels. Effective talent management strategies – that ensure that you are recruiting the people you need and that you are also retaining them on a long-term basis - will be the key to overcoming what lies ahead. Why not let the WR Health team take some of pressure off your team today? We have unrivalled experience in ensuring our clients have the right people in the right roles, and that they are the best fit for their company.
The WR Healthcare team is still providing the same high level of service as ever and many of the team are already back in the office. All of our consultants can be reached via their landlines, email, and social media profiles, so if you’re looking to for us to assist your firm with its talent management strategies, get in touch with one of us today.
To find out more, contact us today.