Shared values and assumptions

Culture for Care:
Shared values and assumptions

Values are of particular importance within social care. The values within positive workplace cultures closely align with those required in the care sector in order for personalised, flexible care and support to be provided. These will be values such as openness, trust, integrity and respect. Whilst it is essential to recruit people who have the right values to work in the adult social care sector, it is also necessary to continue to develop these values through investing time and energy into maintaining your positive workplace culture. If workers are themselves made to feel valued and treated fairly with dignity and respect they are much more likely to treat those they care for in a similar manner. Failure to nurture either staff or organisational values is likely to have significant consequences for the quality of the service delivered.

We know that if we behave with integrity we retain the trust of our workforce.
Woodford Home Care

Orchard End Services is a small organisation supporting young adults with learning disabilities to live independent lives in communities of their choice. Mike, one of the directors, strongly believes that services should be personalised to meet individual needs. He has developed a workplace culture that is dynamic, enterprising and energetic. His staff must not only adhere to social care values but also be forward thinking and creative in developing care and support solutions. They must be team players, yet able to work independently and responsibly in the community.

He has recently advertised a vacancy for a worker to support individuals to develop their own care and support packages. As a result of the interview process, he has two potential members of staff. Both have the skills, values and attitudes required for working in social care, Mike is now looking for that ‘cultural fit’.

Susan has worked in the care sector for 10 years, working in both domiciliary and residential services for people living with autism. She holds a level 3 qualification in health and social care and has applied for this post because she has had contact with Mike’s team through her work and is impressed by the services they provide. She strongly believes that everyone has the right to choose and control their own care and support. She also wants to broaden her own experience and learn new skills as she hopes to achieve a manager’s post in a few years’ time.

Jacky started her career as a housing officer. Several years ago, she moved jobs and has now been working with a small charity supporting unemployed young people to get involved in voluntary work in their local towns and cities. She is passionate about the development of vibrant communities and the inclusion of all citizens. She is motivated to improve her practice and learn new skills, enrolling in a distance learning course that will lead to a social science degree within the next year. She has applied for this post as the charity has insufficient funds to continue and she will be made redundant.

  • Who would you choose to work in Mike’s service? What factors influenced your decisions?

Think about your own workplace:

  • If you were advertising a post, what wording might you use to ensure any future employees shared the values of your workplace (a cultural fit)?
  • In preparation for your interviews, think about scenarios that you could present to applicants that would test their values and responses.
How to develop shared values in your workplace

Find and keep the right staff with values-based recruitment.

An important challenge faced by the social care sector is recruiting people with the right values and behaviours to undertake such an important role. These social care values - including compassion, dignity, integrity and respect - are what make the difference in delivery of care and support services.

Skills for Care has worked in partnership with The National Skills Academy for Social Care and MacIntyre, to develop a model of values-based recruitment for social care employers.

The model includes:

  • a personality profiling questionnaire for candidates
  • the Leadership Qualities Framework as a guide to behaviours and values
  • Finders Keepers to help recruit and retain staff
  • easy to access advice and information
  • examples of job ads and interview questions.

The model is designed to help employers put social care values at the heart of their recruitment and selection practice, so that they can build a strong social care culture, help people develop careers in the sector, and deliver high quality services through having the right people in place, doing the right thing, in the right way.

To view the model visit

How will it help?
It’s important to recruit for the right values so anyone coming into your workplace understands from the start of their career with you what the shared values and attitudes in the workplace are. You can use the toolkit to help develop interview questions and questionnaires to ensure that you find workers who will fit in with your workplace and share the right values and assumptions.


Other resources to support you


An Apprenticeship is a combination of on and off the job learning and development. As employees, apprentices work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills, getting paid whilst working towards a number of qualifications and gaining experience. Apprenticeships allow apprentices to understand the values and attitudes and the culture of a workplace whilst learning practical, relevant care skills.

A Question of Care 
A Question of Care is an online tool that allows potential social care workers to take an online quiz to see whether a career in care might be suitable. The tool helps people who are thinking of working in care to really understand some of the characteristics, values and skills that are needed to work in the sector.


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