The care workforce, particularly in aged care and disability, poses the most significant risk to providers. The ongoing shortage of workers, the high labour costs, and the quality of care from those who are reluctant to work in this sector all present challenges. While the disability and aged care royal commissions have made commendable recommendations, it remains to be seen whether the Government will implement them.
However, providers and the sector can take steps to address these issues independently, without waiting for government support. In fact, the Government is actively encouraging the care sector to innovate and find solutions.
Three key concepts for providers
After extensive collaboration with providers nationwide, our CEO Michael Maher distilled the workforce challenges into three core concepts for providers to consider. While there may be slight variations among health, aged care, disability, and allied health sectors these concepts are broadly applicable across all four care sectors.
1) Assessing the starting point: a necessity for planning
For successful workforce planning, the first step is understanding the current situation. Providers should collaborate with their counterparts to create a comprehensive overview of their starting point.
2) Tackling workforce shortages
The supply and demand gap in the care workforce is significant. To attract more workers, especially in aged care and disability, we need to expedite the onboarding process. Many potential workers have alternative employment options that offer quicker job placement and fewer compliance requirements, such as a supermarket or cafe. Making candidates wait four to six weeks for their first shift is impractical.
3) Leveraging technology for efficiency
Modern technology should reduce your workload. If it doesn’t, it’s time to reconsider your software and platforms. An automated platform, rather than relying on spreadsheets, can streamline and verify almost all your compliance needs.
Three practical ideas to implement
1) KYC (know your carer/ staff)
Digitally ID checking every staff member is essential. It eliminates the need for copying primary IDs, reducing time and risks. Systems like ConnectID, operated by the company providing BPay, EFTPOS, and PayID can perform real-time ID checks via existing banking apps.
2) Streamline police check management
Opt for sharing police check results among providers. Since there’s only one central criminal history database and results are now electronically transmitted and updated, there’s no downside to acknowledging checks arranged by other providers. Naturally, during the initial recruitment process, you should request a fresh police check if the existing one is older than three months.
However, for ongoing updates, envision the time savings that could be achieved by receiving automatic updates from each worker whenever they complete a police check for another provider. This would effectively reset the legislative clock (e.g., every three years in aged care) on an ongoing basis.
3) Focus on testing, not retraining – professional development
Many providers prefer to train their staff according to their specific methods and requirements. While this approach is crucial for certain areas, such as site-specific training like fire and emergency protocols, a different approach can be applied to common industry subjects that are universally taught.
When a worker claims to have substantial sector experience, and recently completed (X) training, it is generally a valid assertion. However, it’s wise not to solely rely on their word. Instead, assess their knowledge through testing, and if they demonstrate competence, you can accept their credentials. If they are not yet competent, require them to undergo further training.
This approach can significantly reduce both time and costs across your workforce. Testing takes just ten minutes, in contrast to a full day of paid training in cases where testing isn’t conducted.
Change doesn’t always require monumental steps. Simple process adjustments can lead to substantial improvements. The right software can support these changes and free up your managers to lead rather than manage manual compliance requirements.
If you’d like to explore the possibilities, schedule a OnePassport demo. Our platform offers automated compliance management and seamless AIR integrations to save time for your IPC teams, among many other valuable features.