Why training and support is essential in creating a happy workforce

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, Chief Executive of the Royal Alfred Seafarers Society, which is shortlisted for a Toast of Surrey Award.

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, CEO for specialist maritime charity, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, explores how the recruitment and retention of staff is key to the running of a successful care home.

A recent study by Skills for Care projected that by 2035 the UK will need to source an additional 950,000 jobs to support the adult social care sector (a 59% increase on 2018 figures – see below for source). To put this into perspective, between 2012-2017, the number of jobs in care home services with nursing increased by just 4 percent. With an ageing population and 110,000 adult social care job vacancies at any one time, the need for social care jobs is now greater than ever.

Here at the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, we strongly believe in nurturing our staff throughout all stages of their career. We recognise the current issues facing the adult care sector, which means we do all we can to support those that dedicate so much of their lives to caring for others.

It is easy to see why staff at the Royal Alfred choose the home to develop their career, with elements such as our dedicated in-house trainer, Sharon Hicks, who delivers on average eight courses per month for staff across the home, providing support whenever it is required. We also provide staff with a specialist Maritime Acquaint Training programme in order for employees to experience the demands of working at sea and provides an insight to the lives of residents and enables care to be tailored to individual requirements.

We’re proud that our staff training levels reached an all-time of high of 100% in 2018, meaning each team member has the skills to deliver an excellent standard of care and compassion for all our residents.

Many of our staff choose to make Royal Alfred a long-term career choice, one in particular, Anne Kasey who this year celebrated her 35th year at the Society. Starting out as a nurse, Anne worked her way up to become the home’s most senior nurse and eventually Home Manager in 2006. Anne is a prime example of the high-level of support staff at the Society receive to help develop and sustain a strong career in the care sector and she is not alone in her devotion to the home and sector. This year, we awarded five staff members ten-year service awards, a tradition annually celebrated with those hitting their milestones.

The current staff turnover rate within the adult social care industry is 30.7%, compared to the Society’s much lower 14%. As a charity that specialises in delivering dementia care to retired seafarers and their dependents, this is crucial in developing trusting relationships between staff and residents, providing a comfortable and supportive environment in which to live.

Our latest annual satisfaction survey revealed 98% of residents felt their expectations were being met or exceeded by the care team, which is testament to the benefits brought about by having a strong team. With such unique opportunities here for staff to develop their skills, we truly believe this strongly contributes towards our excellent staff retention rates as like the outstanding care we offer our residents, with that also comes the care and support to our staff.

Please take a look at their website to find out more about The Royal Alfred Seafarers Society