In the second of our two-part article Julie Hopkins, Director of Care Sector at Albert Goodman shares her advice. Part 1 can be found in our Autumn newsletter.
1. Trading Key Performance Indicators
Every care business is different, but each will need key performance indicators which may vary from business to business. These could include:
a. Occupancy as a percentage of turnover reviewed on a monthly and quarterly basis and compared with the national average
b. Analysis of fees split between private; social; and CHC
c. Staff recruitment and retention performance versus budget strategy and value tools recruitment
– Are you recruiting carers with a vocation for care?
d. Payroll costs as a percentage of turnover, to include employer National Insurance contributions and agency costs and benchmarked
e. Agency costs versus budget
– Are you able to utilise Bank staffing?
– Have you sufficient staff cover for absence?
– Have you enough staff cover as resident’s needs change?
f. Analysis of referral sources and occupancy conversion
g. Non-payroll costs as a percentage of turnover and benchmarked
h. EBITDAR (profit margin) as a percentage of turnover and benchmarked
2. Staff recruitment and retention
To retain staff, they must feel valued and supported. Are you giving them opportunities for continuous learning? Have you invested in new technology to make their jobs easier? By continuously striving for improvement you show staff that the business is always seeking to do better, which will give them confidence and optimism. Do you have a clear vision and action plan to do this, with which to engage your team? How do you communicate with your staff? An open and transparent culture, where the staff knows they will be listened to, promotes a happy and stable working environment in any business. Do you always have enough staff to cover shifts, so that staff do not feel under additional pressure? Bank staff are useful to help with this and can be an alternative to the agency. Thinking to the future, both staff and residents value continuity. Do you have succession plans and a programme for the rising stars in your team identified from their Personal Development Plans? Ask yourself, ‘Would the quality of the care service pass the test of, “could I place my mum or dad here”?’
Good leadership from the top leads to good management, which results in good care and ultimately a good reputation for your care business, both within the care setting and in the community beyond. The Registered Manager is the ‘hub’ of the home and the face to the outside world. S/he and the provider should aim to create an environment where staff and residents flourish. Long-term, this is the route to excellent occupancy levels with fees at your target level. Succession planning is vital and you should have a plan in place at every level of the business for a person or people to step up when the need arises. See our article ‘What Makes a Good Care Leader?’ later in this newsletter.
4. EBITDAR Strength
A successful care business can stand alone or result in a platform for growth. Current market indicators are showing existing care home operators seeking their next care home acquisition and the next generation of family owners taking on the reins, as well as new entrants to the care sector with Registered Manager continuity and/ or external consultancy support.