Understanding the workforce cycle

The aged care workforce is made up of diverse personnel, performing a wide range of direct and indirect care roles, including clinical staff such as nurses and allied health professionals; personal care workers (PCWs); administrative and managerial staff; hospitality and catering staff; cleaning and maintenance workers, and lifestyle staff and educators. These roles demand different skill sets, education levels, and organisational strategies across the workforce lifecycle. Each aged care provider will employ a unique make-up of personnel to cater to their specific organisational needs and consumer base. They will, in turn, need to deploy a specific set of workforce management strategies that suit their workforce composition. 

The workforce lifecycle looks at how employees and services work together from the start when an aged care service is looking to attract staff through their time with the organisation to when they leave. Typically, it involves the following stages: 

  • Attracting staff 
  • Recruitment and onboarding 
  • Retaining and supporting 
  • Developing staff and career pathways 
  • Supporting departures of staff 

Services need to consider and address the different stages of the workforce lifecycle as the workforce is critical to productivity and the culture of your aged care service. A well-designed employee life cycle makes it more likely that staff will stay longer with you and will speak positively of the organisation after they leave.  A positive approach to the workforce lifecycle can also influence the experience and satisfaction of residents and aged care clients and their families.   

Workforce retention focuses on what services and teams can do to build a culture and an environment that helps staff to continue to grow within the organisation. A stable, productive workforce offers more certainty and sustainability to an organisation and reduces costs associated with recruiting and training new staff.

Quality Standards

The Final draft of the strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards released in November 2023 outlines the expectations of the governing body to meet the requirements of the Quality Standards and deliver quality care and services. Outcome 2.8 deals with Workforce Planning. It notes that the provider must understand and manage its workforce needs and plan for the future.  

Strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards: Final Draft [ Outcome 2.8 Workforce Planning, p 15]

Want to know more

  1. The Department of Health and Aged Care is working to support the industry across the workforce cycle with initiatives to:   
  2. You can browse the Workforce Retention resources 
  3. Look for research evidence within the PubMed database by using one of the PubMed searches provided here. PubMed contains brief information (‘citations’) on millions of research studies. It can therefore be challenging to search. Our librarian has made finding highly relevant information on this topic as simple as a click of a button. Click on All to see everything in the database on the topic or choose Full text to view only articles immediately available to you free of charge in full text.

Connect to PubMed evidence

If you wish to find out more about workforce in aged care, try using one of the PubMed searches below. These links (all or full text) take you to the relevant research literature in the large international PubMed database.

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