Workforce Challenges in Aged Care
The aged care sector in Australia is facing the perfect storm when it comes to workforce planning and management. Currently, 65K workers leave the sector each year and the average staff turnover sits higher than the majority of other sectors. (1)
With a rapidly aging population and growing skills shortages, attracting and retaining staff has become a major challenge. Insufficient staffing levels, increased regulatory requirements and comparatively low salaries have created alarming levels of workplace stress and burnout. It’s no surprise that these conditions impact staff motivation and workplace culture, and as a result more employees exit the sector – and so the merry go round continues.
It’s also worth pointing out that because of staff capacity gaps, the employees who are working are often highly stressed and overwhelmed which can impact the quality of care. The harsh truth we’re facing is that if something doesn’t change, aged care organisations won’t be able to attract and retain competent and compassionate staff – and Australia won’t be able to care for its ageing population.
Strategic Workforce Planning Benefits
’The right people, in the right place, with the right capabilities at the right time’
Effective workforce planning uses real data and evidence to shape the workforce in an informed way that aligns with the organisation’s strategy and vision for the future. It scopes out what your organisation needs in terms of talent (capacity and capability), both now and in the years to come. The process begins with a gap analysis of the skills your workforce has now, compared to what is needed to meet the organisation’s objectives both now and in the future.
Once you see the gaps, strategic recommendations and plans are made to address them. For example, you can expand training programs to get your team up to speed with new technology or soft skills advancement, or you can focus on boosting engagement and retention through culture initiatives, or career pathway planning and leadership development. The range of interventions will be determined by where your priority gaps are.
The point is, workforce planning gets you proactively ahead of the curve instead of perpetually firefighting. It aims to avoid reactive hiring which, with higher turnover than ever within the first 90 days (known as ‘’Quick Quitting’’), is both exhausting and expensive. Strategic Workforce Planning aligns your workforce investments with your strategy for more sustainable and effective improvements to attraction, engagement and retention.
“Only 4 % of problems faced by an organisation are known to top managers.” (2)
Strategic workforce planning relies on a comprehensive flow of information from multiple data sources – most crucially from employees.
By collecting and analysing data directly from employees at key points of the employee life cycle, organisations get real time and actionable feedback. This allows them to make informed decisions based on evidence, rather than intuition or estimation.
Last year, the Aged Care Workforce report (3) captured the sentiments of employees in the sector. A clear theme emerged: Many workers feel they’re being forced out of an industry they’re reluctant to leave with comments such as:
“People leave aged care for better opportunities and benefits in other organisations.”
“Stress is the number one reason.”
“My passion is working in aged care, but if the staff shortage continues, I am not staying.”
Nobody knows the organisation like the employees so… what is an efficient, reliable way to capture this kind of employee data?
And what should you do with it once you have it?
Employee Experience & AI
The aged care sector can transform its workforce by plugging into the power of employee experience data combined with AI technologies. Organisations gain a deeper understanding of their people and enhance their ability to spot gaps and red flags before they escalate into issues. When combined with industry benchmarks, organisations who adopt these technologies will be in pole position to stay several steps ahead of challenges.
In KPMG’s Annual Aged Care Sector Commentary (4), the consultancy highlighted the need “for providers to have systems that can analyse data, support efficient operations and reporting plus innovative models for the delivery of support operations.”
The Aged Care EX & Workforce Planning Program uses AI and data analytics to collect and evaluate insights from employee surveys. The results are delivered to engaging dashboards which mean organisations can track trends, compare cohorts and benchmarks and identify what’s working and what needs attention. This allows aged care leads to make informed decisions about their workforce to increase engagement and boost desired retention.
The EX & Workforce Planning Program
This program is a holistic solution combining data driven evidence and expert workforce consultancy adding context, meaning, and priority planning to provide employers with a practical strategic Workforce Plan.
The transformative program aims to result in a more agile and responsive organisational environment capable of delivering strategically aligned outcomes. Gone are the days of relying solely on historical data and intuition for new workforce initiatives. With the advent of AI and real time responses, organisations can now tap into the wealth of data generated within their own organisation.
Data and feedback gathered is analysed using AI and translated into actionable insights by HR and workforce experts.
The result is evidence based and best practice horizon planning, and recommendations that align with your strategy and suit your organisation.
Issues can be identified early through pulse surveys and sentiment analysis (a key AI capability). Organisations can then intervene swiftly to address problems before they escalate.
Analytics anticipate future skills needs based on trends. This allows organisations to get ahead with training programs to proactively build those critical capabilities.
Valuable insights into why employees leave can be used to shape targeted solutions to improve retention.
The program ultimately allows organisations to have the most meaningful and useful workforce plans they’ve ever had.
The ongoing line of sight to real-time feedback, and comparisons to sector benchmarks, also enable ongoing evaluation of initiatives. This feedback loop helps employees to see how their efforts make an impact and where further iterations may be required.
The Aged Care Employee Experience & Workforce Planning Program is designed to create an engaged and empowered workforce who in turn are more likely to deliver compassionate and quality care.
From Insights to Action - Ongoing Support for Change
The interactive dashboards deliver key metrics and employee data continuously. Invaluable insight, yes – but what next? How do you use this information in your organisation?
With ongoing specialist guidance from the outset, Above & Beyond Group help you turn workforce insights into targeted action. This expertise gives you the confidence and support to act decisively, with assurance of best practice solutions and optimal ROI.
We help you make sense of the findings, and develop your customised Workforce Plan with evidence based recommendations derived from your unique data and strategic goals. We are commonly seeing some of the greatest areas of focus for people initiatives being around uplifting engagement, enhancing capability, and alternative attraction strategies.
An Innovative Solution - Why you need your own Aged Care Workforce Strategy and Workforce Plan
Innovative strategies like the Employee Experience & Workforce Planning Program breed skilled, committed employees who deliver excellent care.
Australia is facing a rapidly aging population (2) and the ability of the aged care sector to cope depends on how well it can embrace new technologies. Organisations who don’t embrace new ways of working will likely be overtaken by organisations that do. This demographic shift poses a major challenge that calls for an innovative solution – one that builds a strong, capable and compassionate workforce.
The time is now to get proactive with the power of AI and employee feedback.
Today’s commitment to continuous improvement offers an important opportunity to create better workplaces and a greater quality of life for our aging population.
Above & Beyond Group work with providers to enhance organisational resilience and deliver excellent care through the NEW Aged Care EX & Workforce Planning Program – reach out for more information and a complimentary demo – email@example.com
Director & Founder
M 0410 360 679
Laura is a Workforce specialist, Leadership and Career Coach with a background in Psychology. Considered the go-to trusted advisor on workforce challenges in our industry, Laura partners with clients to understand their specific challenges and tailor the most effective and sustainable solutions. Her core professional purpose is to improve and future proof Aged Care & Community Services by supporting organisations to develop the potential within their people.
1 CEDA report, Duty of Care: Aged Care sector in crisis 2022; CompliSpace survey, 2022
2 ‘Iceberg of Ignorance, Sidney Yoshida. 1989
5 ‘Australia’s population will continue to age over the next 40 years. The number of Australians aged 65 and over will more than double and the number aged 85 and over will more than triple. The number of centenarians is expected to increase six-fold”.
Treasury department, Australian Government. https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-08/p2023-435150-fs.pdf