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The impact of a behaviour and values-based approach to recruitment and retention in the Care Sector

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Having staff with the right values has a positive flow-on effect on your clients/residents

The use of values and behaviours as part of recruitment and retention strategies has delivered significant positive outcomes when dealing with 2 of the critical workforce challenges facing the sector – Risk Management and Staff Performance. Consilium Research and Consultancy was appointed on behalf of the UK Social Care sector to conduct a study to assess the impact of a values based approach to recruitment and retention. The study conducted throughout 2015 and reported in April 16 involved over 100 providers, employing 27,000 staff. This report provides an assessment of the longer-term impact by capturing changes in key business performance indicators such as staff retention, absence and key performance measures.

Read the full report here or keep on reading for a summary of the findings. 

Impact on Care /Support Staff

Almost all employers reported that their values based approach to recruitment and retention represented an improvement on other approaches they had used. These employers were most positive about the approach enabling them to identify attitudes and attributes which they believed could not be taught or learnt. Employers were very happy to invest in up-skilling candidates who demonstrated a real desire and interest in social care work through mandatory and more specialist training. The majority of employers (72% of 81 employers able to make a comparison) stated that staff employed and supported using a ‘values based’ approach perform better than those recruited through ‘traditional’ methods. The majority of employers (between 73% and 76% of the 81 employers able to make a comparison) also stated that staff recruited and supported using a ‘values based’ approach possess stronger care values (for example, ‘respect’, ‘empathy’, ‘compassion’; ‘treating people with dignity’; and ‘integrity’) than people recruited through ‘traditional’ methods.

A ‘behaviour and values based’ approach was stated to be more effective than ‘traditional’ methods in gaining an understanding of, and building a relationship with, candidates. The relationship was enhanced by using a wide selection of recruitment methods which enabled the varied values and behaviours of individuals to come to the fore. Employers highlighted how targeted, values and behavioural based questions and follow-up discussions were used to enable candidates to reflect on their answers and apply them to real situations. A number of employers highlighted their increased willingness to offer jobs to candidates without relevant experience or social care qualifications if they exhibited the right values and attitude. Employers provided examples of candidates who, under ‘traditional’ approaches would have been discounted at the application form stage who had gone on to provide high quality care in a variety of roles. Employers have been rewarded for making informed judgements on people from a range of backgrounds because of their values and fit with the organisation, role and person in receipt of care and support.

Impact on costs

Employers reported a range of financial benefits of implementing a behaviour and values based approach to recruitment and retention. Excluding investment in personality profiling tools, employers largely described using or developing existing resources more efficiently in order to identify values within candidates. Where additional resources had been used, employers reported that the benefits in terms of quality care outputs outweighed the costs. The results of the employer survey found that staff turnover, at 19.0%, is 5.6 percentage points lower amongst employers using a ‘values based’ approach to recruitment and retention than those using ‘traditional’ methods. This compares to a sector average of 25.4% as of February 2016 according to NMDS-SC data. The analysis reveals an estimated return on investment of 22.8% from implementing a values based approach to recruitment and retention.

Conclusions

There is a spectrum of impact and understanding with reference to a values based approach to recruitment and retention. This research has confirmed that a large number of employers recognise and experience the benefits of using a behaviour and values based approach to recruitment and retention. Staff recruited and supported according to a ‘values based’ approach are reported to perform better (i.e. in terms of sickness absence, punctuality, role related skills and overall) than those recruited through ‘traditional’, non-values based methods.

There is evidence that staff employed and supported using a ‘values based’ approach demonstrate stronger care values (i.e. compassion, respect, empathy, treating people with dignity, integrity and communication) than people recruited through ‘traditional’, non-values methods. In addition, when extrapolating the impacts of lower turnover rates of staff to overall costs linked to recruitment, training and induction, a value based approach to recruitment and retention can offer significant cost benefits.

The results of this research indicate that staff turnover amongst employers using a values based approach to recruitment and retention is lower than amongst employers using ‘traditional’ methods and the sector average overall. This overall figure, sourced from the NMDS-SC, will include a number of employers using a values based approach to recruitment and retention. There is very little difference between the turnover figure reported in NMDS-SC and that for employers using ‘traditional’ approaches to recruitment and retention. This suggests that only a small minority of employers currently use a values based approach to recruitment and retention.

Despite the positive perceived or experienced impact of using a value based approach to recruitment and retention there remains a large degree of confusion amongst employers about what a values based approach ‘looks like’, how to develop it and what represents good practice.

Employers also tend to adopt short term solutions to tackling the shortage in the supply of labour rather than investing in the longer term approaches to improving rates of retention.


We can help you implement a values based approach to your recruitment process via consulting or pre-employment assessments. We recommend using Care Advantage for behavioural screening of frontline care staff. Learn more about this online and easy to implement tool on our dedicated Care Advantage website

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