Competition is heating up in the aged care sector.
Since its introduction on 1st July 2013, the aged care reform has given consumers more choice and control than ever before. Aged care providers have been racing to improve the quality and diversity of their services, but will all of these efforts be enough to ensure their survival in this tough, new world?
This week I had the opportunity to meet with industry expert Bruce Message, Director of Premier Consulting, to learn a little more about CDC and find out his top tips for a successful transition. Who will be the CDC winners? What essential tools should be in every provider’s survival kit?
Q: In a highly competitive market there will always be winners and losers, in your opinion what are the common characteristics of those providers who will ‘win’ and those who will ‘lose’?
In my view, some of the common characteristics of providers who will ‘win’ include those who:
- Balance as much as possible the quality and level of care offered to consumers and providing this in a financially sustainable manner. This is of great importance given an operating environment characterised by increasing health and staff costs, and consumers entering with typically higher care requirements;
- Have in place a business strategy which is dynamic and agile enough to respond to a consistently changing operating and regulatory environment;
- Are actively involved in their local communities and have entrenched themselves as a leading provider of aged care services in their area; and
- Are commercially astute, have in place strong corporate governance structures and are always focussed on the consumer.
Some of the common characteristics of providers who will ‘lose’ include those who:
- Fail to innovate in terms of their care delivery model, management processes, and providing up-to-date residential offerings;
- Fail to invest in their corporate image and consequently ‘fall behind’ fellow competitors; and
- Have a weak corporate governance structure.
Q: What systems, infrastructure and solutions are available to assist aged care providers during their transition?
Each provider will have to navigate the transition based on its own individual circumstances. There is no one method that providers can adopt to ensure a smooth transition. However, a “high level” solution framework may include:
- A financial health check of the organisation to identify reasons for current performance;
- An understanding of the type of consumer that you will be attracting and catering for in the medium-to-long term; and
- A business strategy which sets the business direction, best maximises current systems/infrastructure and identifies (then plugs) gaps in which need to be filled.
Q: Why is staff recruitment and retention so important in this consumer driven era?
Staff members form the heart and soul of an organisation. Having staff recruitment/retention policies in place which reflect how you want your organisation to be perceived is key to a successful transition into the consumer driven era.
With the industry facing an ageing cohort of staff and a new ‘type’ of upcoming consumer, the ‘baby boomers’, an active staff recruitment policy should attract the next generation of carers, ensure that the current wealth of experience is retained and for ‘fresh’ perspectives to be shared and brought into the organisation.
‘Baby boomers’ will be more sophisticated in terms of required levels of care and services provided, hence your recruitment policy must be able to adapt to this market in order to maximise success in the consumer driven era.
The power of the consumer will drive a greater desire for better service, and the key to delivering better service is the minimisation of staff turnover. Having a good staff retention strategy in place not only contributes to motivating staff and promoting a collaborative culture, it will more often than not translate into reduced staff turnover, thereby increasing resident satisfaction. Examples of good staff retention strategies include consistent staff training/development programs and work/life balance policies.
So how is your organisation going in its efforts to remain financially sustainable under CDC…?
What strategies are you undertaking to ensure you become a CDC ‘winner’?
What recruitment and retention policies do you have in place?
How are you preparing for the future influx of ‘baby boomers’?
To gain more useful tips and advice from CDC specialists on how to come out on top in this competitive new market, don’t miss our upcoming Getting ready for Increased Consumer Control conference.
Other blog posts you might enjoy:
How to successfully transit your service delivery to Consumer Directed Care, What does Consumer Directed Care mean for your Residential Aged Care service? & Remaining financially viable is still a challenge during Consumer Directed Care implementation.