Recruitment and retention
The effective implementation of induction in social care is a significant step towards the delivery of high-quality care and support. This can be achieved by ensuring that staff achieve acceptable levels of competence to practice and show commitment to practices that value diversity and empowerment. All staff in social care, including students and agency staff, should receive an induction. Explore the links below to learn more.
Why are good recruitment/retention strategies important?Open
Attracting and retaining the right staff leads to better outcomes and greater wellbeing for people who use services. Developing efficient, effective and fair recruitment practices is critical to attracting candidates with the appropriate skills and attitude for the work. Social care needs staff who are genuinely committed to supporting empowerment and the values of self-directed support. At a local level, it benefits people who use services if there is a workforce that reflects the diversity of the area.
Good retention strategies lead to better recruitment. If opportunities for career development and good terms and conditions are offered to people, they are likely to want to work for and stay with an organisation. It is a waste of organisational resources and destabilising to other staff to induct and develop new staff who do not stay. Recruiting people who are wrong for the job can lead to increased labour turnover, higher costs for the organisation, lowering of morale among good workers and provision of less effective services.
Service users as employersOpen
The policy context of personalisation in adult social care means that people with an individual budget need to develop skills and knowledge of recruitment practices in order to recruit and employ personal assistants. Information to support people around the recruitment of a personal assistant can be found on the In Control website. Skills for Care also has a toolkit to help people employ their own personal assistants.
The Big Society agenda also heralds a climate of decreased public service funding and an increased need to seek within local communities resources to meet community needs and enhance individual wellbeing. This translates as an increase in the recruitment of volunteers in community roles that may previously have been offered as paid employment. For information on good recruitment practice with regard to volunteers, see the Volunteering England website.
Equality and fairness in recruitmentOpen
The employer has a legal responsibility to ensure that no unlawful discrimination occurs in the recruitment and selection process on the grounds of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, and religion or belief. Equality of opportunity is an integral part of the recruitment and selection process, and to this end employers may offer training and encouragement to any under-represented groups. Job advertisements may state that the employer encourages applications from those groups that are under-represented in the organisation.
The Equality Act became law in October 2010. It replaces certain previous legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and consolidates other pieces of legislation. It ensures consistency in what is needed to make the workplace a fair environment and to comply with the law.
The Equality Act offers protection to groups who were protected by previous equality legislation, for example on grounds of age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. It extends some protections to groups not previously covered, and also strengthens particular aspects of equality law. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) offers core guidance for employers regarding key changes to recruitment, for example in relation to questions about health and disability. See the Key additional resources section.
Human resource planningOpen
It is important for any organisation to plan its workforce requirements, matching available supply against forecast demand. A skills audit of existing staff will increase knowledge of the skills the organisation has available and those that are lacking, and thus help pinpoint areas for future development.
Human resource planners in adult social care need to be aware of the impact of the following issues at the local level:
- local demographic changes, a growing ageing population
- the support model of reablement, which needs staff committed to these values
- support for carers to return to work, study or volunteer and the impact of this on the workforce
- increasing recruitment of volunteers, and the need to fulfil ongoing community needs in a low-cost and local way
- people with individual budgets purchasing their own care and employing personal assistants.
Follow the link to Workforce development to understand the context of human resource planning.
Key additional resourcesOpen
- Being the Boss (a website run for and by people who employ a personal assistant).
- Equality and Human Rights Commission Core guidance: recruitment, London: Equality and Human Rights Commission. Guidance for employers regarding key changes to recruitment, for example in relation to questions about health and disability.
- Skills for Care (2010) Finders, keepers: The adult social care recruitment and retention toolkit, Leeds: Skills for Care.
- Promoting employer relations and HR excellence: staff management and retention (ACAS website; carries information on management and retention).
- Resources on recruitment and selection (available on the ACAS website).
- Self-directed support (resources on the in Control website).
- Social Care Association (its website lists a number of services available for members such as advocacy, an employment helpline etc).
- ACAS (2010) The Equality Act 2010: Quick start guide for employers, London: ACAS.
- Government Equalities Office (2010) Equality Act 2010: what do I need to know?, London: Government Equalities Office.
- Skills for Care (2010) A toolkit to help people employ their own personal assistants, Leeds: Skills for Care.
- Taylor, S. (2005) People resourcing, London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
- Volunteering England, The recruitment guide, London: Volunteering England.