Values based recruitment – is it just a fad or crucial for improving the care sector as so many experts are saying? Obviously we are not in any way positioning Profiles4Care as an independent commentator on this, but we would like to explain why we believe – and have the evidence to substantiate it – that if the social care sector is to progress then personal values must be rooted at its core.
Social care is a business all about people. It sounds obvious but what does that actually mean? In its simplest terms it’s about people who are trying to live their lives and who need help and support to do that, for whatever reason, from other human beings. It’s a situation that we all will face at some point ourselves.
The person delivering the support not only needs to be skilled in providing this help, but also capable of providing it in a way that allows the recipient to retain their dignity and self-respect. It’s what we, each and every one of us, would hope for in the same situation.
The standards of education and training in the health and Care sectors are of an extremely high quality, as can be witnessed in the annual WorldSkills Health and Social Care competitions. However, in this ‘people’ business it demands more than that. It’s as much about how people relate to and connect with others. This is not a learned behaviour but the natural preferences (including values) in how we relate to others and the world we live in.
Everyone is unique but we each have certain measurable personality traits that are either supportive or undermine our ability to work effectively in a care sector environment. For example, the degree of empathy that someone has for others, how they communicate, how they react to hostility, these are all traits associated with an individual’s personality and can impact on the level and standard of care they are able to provide.
We won’t waffle on about how effective and widespread personality profiling tools are nowadays, other than to say if you haven’t already taken one during your professional career you soon will. This is because every sector, not just health and social care, realises that someone’s attitude is as, if not more, important than their knowledge and skills.
And to clear up a common misnomer, you cannot ‘fail’ a personality test, all it will explain is whether you are suitable for the particular role, and if not where in the organisation your attributes would best fit. There is a job for every personality type in a company but often people end up in the wrong one and that’s where it falls apart for them, the employer and often customers.
How it works is explained here, so we won’t repeat it. The results of a test will guide you on where your particular strengths lie, which often many of us don’t really know. Applying this knowledge to the ‘values’ required in the care sector is actually very straightforward.
During the recent Pilot Project where we worked with the Department of Health, National Skills Academy for Social Care, Skills for Care and MacIntyre to develop the Skills for Care Values Based Recruitment Toolkit, as well as letting 100 care companies trial the system to improve their recruitment, we were also using it as our own benchmarking exercise.
Our experts already knew where on the ‘personality map’ they believed that the best care workers were located and their values. From the results of over 7,000 individual tests conducted on carers UK wide we were proved 100% correct. In shorthand, it’s the balance of introverted/Internal energy combined with feeling/people energy that was identified time and time again as key to a carer’s ability not just to do the job right once but being able to consistently deliver high standards of care day in and day out.
From the pilot we have seen the impact of having the ‘right’ people delivering care and how it benefits the employer as well as the clients. We’ve also witnessed employers that have ignored the findings of the personality profile report, hired the individual concerned and within a month were looking for ways to get rid of them. Sadly they will probably get another job in social care with another employer who doesn’t assess their values properly in advance.
The extensive work being done, from the development of the Values Based Recruitment toolkit to the introduction of the Care Certificate in April this year, underlines the fact that the values based approach is being taken very seriously indeed. This isn’t an overnight fad but a realistic view of the importance of an individual’s personal values in addition to their skills and the impact they make on the delivery of care in this country.
Social care is not simply a people business, it’s a ‘right people’ business more than any other. If employers can’t filter out the wrong people then the industry is never going to satisfy the increasing demands being placed upon it and the almost daily reports of abuse and failings of vulnerable people at the hands of so called ‘carers’ will continue.
There are so many initiatives underway to squeeze the wrong people out and encourage more of the right people into social care that we will undoubtedly see a great many positive changes in the sector over the next few years. We’re very proud to play our part in this and encourage everyone we meet to embrace values based recruitment at all levels in their organisations, however they go about it.