I hear all too often about the shortage of skilled staff working within the health and social care sector.  Sadly, this is a reality internationally.  All too often some of the most experienced and well thought of team members burnout and leave the service or care sector completely.  This is felt more keenly as it is more than just a case of needing to replace a staff member, but it is the loss of that person’s skills, abilities, knowledge of the organisation, systems and processes, and knowledge about the individual needs of the people who are being supported and cared for. 

When organizations and businesses consider their assists, usually they list their tangible or fixed assets such as buildings and equipment, but it is the human assets (people) that are the most important part of any organisation, particularly when considering the health and social care sector.  

Why are people the greatest asset of any service or organisation?

They are the face of the service.  Ultimately, people within your team are responsible the for the provision of care and services to the people you support.  They are integral to meeting not only regulatory compliance requirements but are also the face of your service and organisation.  If they are happy and satisfied in their role, they are more likely to express this through their words and actions to the people they support.  In contrast, if they are unhappy and dissatisfied, their words and actions will also express this and be passed on to the people they support and their family members.

Engagement = Productivity.  The more engaged team members are, the more productive they are too.  People who are satisfied, challenged and motivated are far more likely to be engaged and committed, helping the service and organisation to achieve their purpose and objectives.  Engagement and productivity also have a direct correlation to profitability.  Staff who are engaged and committed are more likely to go the extra mile, put in the extra effort, resulting in cost savings in terms of recruitment and retention, but also client experience/reviews and loyalty.

Skills and knowledge.  While all employees working within health and social care must possess specific competencies and skills related to their role, some skills and knowledge are irreplaceable or take many years to develop.  This includes knowledge of specific people being cared for and understanding of organisations’ cultures, systems, and work procedures.  They effectively run the organisation, no matter what level. This means their strength, commitment and dedication, and their emotional connection with the organization can’t be judged as assets in monetary value.

So how do we ensure our team members are engaged?  The message of being valued and respected doesn’t come from memos that are being sent out to thank and praise the staff. While staff appreciate those notes, they truly watch to see if the organisational leadership walks the talk. Lip service can only go so far; management can’t just say they value their workers. They must show it in real terms.

If we understand that people are our greatest asset, then we must ensure that we invest in their health and well-being too.  Hope and confidence grow and spread when people feel honored and valued.  In turn, people who feel valued and appreciated will go the extra mile for the people we care and support, and the organisation.  

OT (Australia)
Managing Director MCM
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