In-home care planning with post-its
Guide 1: How to Create an Employee Retention Plan

You’re swamped with work, covering sickness every day, trying to get rotas in place with limited staff, arranging care at the last minute and under pressure from CQC. You’re not alone. Many care providers are struggling to find time to plan long-term strategies that will help them retain valuable staff. 

You need a strong retention plan to prevent staff from leaving, and you know that staff appreciation should be a process that is embedded into the culture of your organisation, rather than an ad-hoc scheme only undertaken when you have the time.

Our guide has been designed specifically for social care providers. It has seven parts as follows:

1. Record data

Many care managers could easily make a good guess about why staff leave, however the social care landscape is complex and varies throughout the country. Collecting data from the employees that leave is the only way to understand the problem so you can make improvements:

  • Use this spreadsheet to record how many starters and leavers you have every month. You can also record where they first heard about your company, i.e. from Indeed or through social media. This information will help you understand where applicants heard about you so you can decide if other options should be explored.

  • You can design a simple staff exit survey for free using Survey Monkey to gather data about why people leave. Survey Monkey provides you with a summary of data from all surveys so that you can identify the main reasons that people give for leaving. You may have to review your survey occasionally to make sure you’re getting data that helps you make improvements.

  • Ask your payroll administrator to keep survey records up to date so they have this information when adding staff or taking them off the payroll. Involve them in all your meetings when discussing retention so they know how important their work is.

2. Involve all staff

Involving staff in any changes you might make will help them understand why new procedures are important for staff retention. It will help you identify people that are willing to help get them in place.

  • Always include a discussion on staff retention in your office team meetings.

  • Discuss staff retention in care team meetings and ask staff to brainstorm retention Care staff may be reluctant to speak up about issues they feel affect recruitment. Use post-it notes and a box so that staff can raise issues anonymously.
  • Regularly survey your staff to find out what they enjoy or dislike about their work and what improvements they would like to see.

3. Start with new employees

When you begin to gather starter and leaver information you will probably see a pattern. It is often the case that the newest employees are more likely to leave. New starters often struggle in care roles especially if they have no experience.

Focus on the support you give to new staff in the first 12 weeks to see if you can make improvements:

  • Introduce a new starter survey to find out if they need further training or support after their initial training

  • Introduce a mentor system so that the carer has a named person they can contact. This doesn’t need to be a carer or supervisor. You can delegate this to the most empathetic and kind office team member who will enjoy the role but give you important feedback if the new starter is struggling.

  • Ask the mentor to contact the new starter at different times to ensure you maintain contact with them, i.e. after their first shift, after their first week, etc.

  • Prioritise new starter supervisions so that they can have the opportunity to discuss any problems.

  • Introduce new starters to their team supervisor, seniors, and managers before they work with your clients. Ask the supervisor to explain about the team and the type of clients they will be caring for.

  • Introduce the new starter to their team using social media and congratulate them on completing their training.

  • When you observe the new starter for the Care Certificate, make this a positive experience for them. Ensure they know the person doing the observation and that they receive positive support.

  • Celebrate their achievement when they gain the Care Certificate and share this on social media.

4. Arrange a monthly meeting to analyse the data

Once you have a couple of months of data to look at get your office team together:

  • Identify the main reasons that people are leaving
  • Work out the age range of those who are leaving
  • Identify how long your leavers had been employed
  • Keep a record of this information so that you can include it in your action plan at a later stage

5. Improve Training and Development

Ensure your training staff and managers have the right skills to support your staff, including training on how to conduct supportive supervisions. Health and Social Care Diploma Level 5 develops your manager’s skills in these areas. Other training courses for managers can be accessed through the Homecare Association

  • Make sure all staff have a personal development plan and can access good quality training like health and social care diplomas

  • Conduct quarterly supervisions and an annual supervision to review their progress and encourage them to participate in further training

  • Reward staff who achieve qualifications and promote this on social media

6. Make an action plan

Once you have gathered the data and the feedback from your staff:

  • Identify key staff members who will help you deliver the changes
  • Make an action plan and include a list of the changes you want to make, a timescale for achieving them, who is responsible and the date you want to complete it by
  • Review this action plan with your office team at every team meeting

7. Review your progress

Start at the beginning, go back to stage one, and review your progress in each of the steps:

  • Review data collection and how useful it is
  • Look at the staff surveys and see if they need improving to get better information
  • Have you managed to involve a lot of staff or could this be improved?
  • Are there systems in place to support new starters and are they effective?
  • Are you meeting regularly to discuss retention data with the office team?
  • Review your training and support program for staff
  • Update your action plan


Further questions about staff retention?

Read Guide 2, Care Provider Retention Ideas, to help your team brainstorm some easy-to-implement schemes. For more ideas about staff recruitment and retention then join us in Care Begins at Home. We publish helpful articles, information, and updates for care providers. You can also connect with other providers and share your concerns and ideas.