Aged care providers need to create positions which highlight the sense of purpose that comes from working in the industry, according to a workforce expert.

The head of SafeSelect Ken Byrne told the Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA) that employees want to feel that their work is making a difference.

“If someone is just cleaning up urine and that is how they see their work, then that is demeaning both to them and the people they are caring for,” he said.

“But if they see that the care they are providing is the same kind of care that they would like their own mother to receive, then it makes it worthwhile.”

At the same time, Dr Byrne said providers need to value their existing staff members.

“The power of recognition can’t be overestimated,” he said. “Giving extra dollars to your staff has a limited effect but a letter from the CEO or an invitation to a dinner with the board of directors has an amazing impact.”

Dr Byrne also reminded providers that it is important to attract younger workers to the sector.

“I think there’s a lot to be said for attracting younger people into the workplace – not just in aged care but in any industry – assuming they are well handled and are given good first impressions.”

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