How better spend management processes can help organisations support care workers during a recruitment crisis

27 September 2022   |   13 Minute Read

 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the care sector is facing a recruitment crisis. With prices, inflation, and interest rates rising, care workers are moving into the hospitality and retail sectors to find better pay and conditions and less stress. Therefore, it’s key for managers to find ways to attract and retain staff. Spend management is an often-overlooked process that can have a big impact on the day-to-day experience of staff. So, it’s an important area for managers to consider when they’re looking to improve job roles within the sector.

A recruitment crisis

According to recent reports, there are more than 100,000 vacancies across the care industry, with staff turnover estimated to be at approximately 30 per cent and trending upwards. Low pay, long hours, working conditions, and on-going stress in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have all been cited as reasons staff are leaving the sector in favour of other industries.

Our survey results

With this in mind, we surveyed 250 care-sector professionals to understand more about spending trends in the industry. We discovered that carers and support workers were regularly spending on travel, catering, and facilities management – 56% were spending at least a few times a month. And this was often done with petty cash (used by 56% of the carers and 68% of the support workers we questioned) and by paying out of pocket (35.4% of carers, 36% of support workers).

However, only 14% of the staff in these groups used a spend or expense management platform. That leaves the majority of these care workers grappling with manual processes that create hours of paperwork and leave them covering costs with their own money. In fact, 36% of the carers surveyed, and 39% of the support workers, spent at least half a day a month processing expenses. That adds up to six full days a year for each worker.

The problem with manual processes

Relying on manual processes like reimbursements and petty cash adds hours of admin to already busy schedules. Using petty cash leaves individuals reliant on physical petty cash boxes which can easily be misplaced and ledgers which need to be filled in by hand. While asking staff to pay for essentials like travel or food out of pocket can be a significant strain on their finances. This is not an ideal solution when low wages are pushing staff out of the industry. With petrol and food prices rising rapidly, this problem is compounded further. Asking staff to keep hold of piles of receipts adds further stress and annoyance. If they lose any receipts, they can’t claim back money they might be relying on. And if staff aren’t paid back in a timely manner the relationship between employers and employees can be damaged further. In fact, in a Soldo survey, we discovered that 70% of employees would start looking for a new job due to constant expense reimbursement delays. (The Soldo Spending Playbook – How Europe’s Most Successful Founders Are Using Tech To Spend For Growth)

How automation can help

With automated processes, no one is left out of pocket and busy workers are no longer required to do hours of frustrating finance admin or keep hold of wallets full of receipts. This removes a significant source of stress and irritation. Rather than time-consuming expense forms, users simply use a pre-paid card and user app. And with some platforms, cards can be issued to teams rather than individuals. This means the kitchen staff in a care home, for example, can cover essentials like milk without needing to share out a corporate credit card, pay out of pocket, or track down petty cash.

Then they simply take a photo when they make a purchase and add VAT and spend categories in a couple of clicks. So there’s no month-end rush and finance teams don’t need to waste time chasing up missing information. What’s more, many platforms come with cards designed especially for fuel, so staff can use their cars without needing to cover the cost of fuel out of pocket and spend hours working out the mileage they can claim for. It’s a simpler system for users and managers, that reduces the overall workload and level of stress.

‘Typically, I’d have gone to the bank at the start of the week, withdrawn cash, and issued it to houses individually. A manager would then have to come to sign for it. Now I can log on to the dashboard from home, top up cards when needed, and I can put a restriction if necessary so staff can only buy allowed items. And, best of all, I set it up in a single afternoon!‘ Diana Valentim, Finance Assistant of Cairn Mhor Childcare Partnership

Tackling stress is key

With half of care workers leaving roles due to stress, it’s essential for recruiters and managers to find ways to support staff. Reducing unnecessary, frustrating, and time-consuming admin is an often-overlooked step that can be taken to improve the day-to-day experience of care workers. Automating inefficient manual processes is key, as this helps to create systems that work for everyone without the need for paper forms or paying out of pocket.

 

If you’re interested in finding out how you can change your money management process, visit our dedicated care provides page.

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