Recruiting for values and behaviours in social care

A values-based approach to recruitment can help you improve staff performance and turnover. 

Values and behaviours-based recruitment and retention: find and keep people with the right values, behaviours and attitudes to work in adult social care and know what it means to provide quality care.

Workplace values help employers to embed a positive workplace culture and support the process of recruiting and retaining people who understand the right and wrong ways of working. They can help you recruit workers who perform well and are more likely to stay.

Our values and behaviours-based recruitment and retention toolkit below, has guidance, suggestions and practical resources to help you find people with the right values, behaviours and attitudes. 

If you want to know how to get started with this approach, come to our free workshops. 


What are values?

Values are the beliefs and views that people hold about what is right or wrong and good or bad. They apply to all aspects of life and influence how a person behaves in different situations. How a person behaves in a particular situation can provide evidence of their core values and whether these align with those of your organisation.

How workplace values can help you

Workplace values are the guiding principles that are most important to an employer. Establishing and communicating strong workplace values, and making sure that the values, behaviours and attitudes of the people you recruit match these, will help you to deliver high quality and consistent care and support. 

ADASS's national workforce development group endorse this approach and say

"Values-based recruitment has the potential to unlock new pools of candidates to work in social care - essential if the sector is to meet rising demand for care and support in an increasingly competitive labour market.

The right values, behaviours and attitudes are the raw materials for quality care and support - good induction, training and management will do the rest."

Where’s the evidence?

A study published by Skills for Care in April 2016, suggests that employers taking a values based approach to recruitment and retention are reaping the rewards. Read the key messages here. You can also view our infographic and read the full report

There are case studies and examples included in the toolkit below. You can read how national charity, Sense, introduced values based recruitment in their workplace here.

A toolkit to help you

This toolkit contains guidance, suggestions and practical resources to help you find people with the right values, behaviours and attitudes.

Follow the steps below to identify, embed and check your workplace values and behaviours. If you already know what you're looking for, here is an A-Z of all the resources in the toolkit. 

For tailored support in recruitment and retention read more about how we can help your organisation or contact your local area team to discuss your needs.


Before you can recruit people with the right values and behaviours, you need to identify and agree your own workplace values.

Your toolkit

  • Learn from Warrington Community Living and Angel Human Resources about how they identified their workplace values.   
  • Learn from The Good Care Group who profiled their existing workforce and found that their highest-performing care workers scored highly in areas of tenacity, resolve, self-discipline and emotional stability and resilience.They included these values and behaviours in their recruitment process and reduced their turnover.
  • Use the Values based recruitment and retention guide and planning poster to work with employees, people who need care and support, and their carers, to identify your workplace values and how they will be implemented across day to day activity.

Once you’ve identified and agreed your workplace values, it’s important to have a process for embedding them. It’s vital they are integrated into everyday activities so that everyone is responsible for embedding them.

Your toolkit

  • The Social Care Commitment can check that everyone agrees to uphold the same values, by asking employees to sign up to seven “I will” statements that address the minimum standards required to work in care. The Values based recruitment and retention guide will help you to identify how your organisations values and behaviours can link to the Social Care Commitment.

Finding someone with the same values as your workplace is an important part of the recruitment and selection process.

Are we ready for values and behaviours-based recruitment?

Before you start, it's worth considering whether your organisation is ready to deliver values-based recruitment. After all, there is little point in recruiting people who have the right values and behaviours if these aren't first embedded into other areas of your organisation. 

  • Find out whether your organisation is ready for values and behaviours-based interviewing and what it takes to be a good values-based interviewer by running through this checklist

Should I just focus on the values of the individual?

The values and behaviours of your employees should always be an important part of your recruitment and selection process.

However, some roles require specific qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience which should also be considered alongside an individual's values and behaviours. Here are some example standard interview questions you could ask, in areas such as commitment, motivation, flexibility, organisational skills and self-motivation.

  • Learn from Nina Osbourne, an invidual employer who employs her own personal assistants. She requires quite specific support, so her recruitment process includes a combination of practical information and the type of person they need to be.

How will I know if candidates have the right values?

Don’t assume candidates know about your workplace values. Be clear about what is expected of them and check that their values match your workplace values. The suggestions below will help you do this.

Your toolkit

Advertising your job role and promoting yourself

Applications and short listing

Interviewing and selecting candidates

It’s important that you ask the right questions to assess a candidate’s values and behaviours. 

  • You could use A Question of Care: A career for you in the interviewing process. This online, interactive quiz uses scenario based videos and questions to assess people’s values and behaviours. Read our guidance to find out how it could support your recruitment process.
  • Learn from Dussindale Park nursing home who use scenario based interviewing questions to find candidates with the right values and behaviours.
  • Assessment centres are increasingly being used in the sector as a way to select people for jobs. Our best practice guide to assessment centres will provide you with tips and ideas to help you successfully plan an assessment centre.
  • Involving people who need care and support and carers as part of the selection process can really help draw out the values, behaviours and attitudes of job applicants. Read how Avalon Care use this approach to support their recruitment.
  • Ensure your recruitment process adheres to the right legislation, policies, procedures and best practice. Poor selection methods will make it difficult to defend a challenged recruitment decision. Read our guide on avoiding discrimination and prejudice in selection.

Pre-employment checks

Any job offer should be conditional based on satisfactory background checks.

  • Employers are under no legal obligation to provide job references and many employers will have a standard reference policy where only basic information is provided. Because of this, it can be argued that employers should not rely too heavily on employment references. However, you might find this example reference request form a useful template to decide what information is important to you as an organisation.
  • You could face a civil penalty if you employ an illegal worker and haven’t carried out a correct ‘right to work’ check. Our eligibility to work in the UK checklist includes the evidence needed to prove a person has the right to live and work in the UK, as well as links to further information and support.
  • Don’t ignore candidates who have a criminal record; this could mean you lose talent with real value. This guidance from NACRO will help you to safely recruit ex-offenders, and explains the legal duties of employers. 

Research shows that people who feel valued and supported in their job are more likely to stay in their role and remain working for you as an employer. Reinforcing and communicating your workplace values during induction is an important way of achieving this. 

How can I include values in the induction process?

From day one it’s important to be clear about your expected workplace values and behaviours. Maintain communication with new starters during the induction period so you can continue to check their values and behaviours align with your workplace values, and your employees have the opportunity to ask questions.

Your toolkit

  • Examples of what employers would like/ don’t want to see shows how values and behaviours might look in practice. Employers can use it to develop a leaflet that shows workers the meaning of values and how to implement them into their work.
  • The Care Certificate gives everyone the confidence that workers have the same induction - learning the same skills, knowledge and behaviours to provide compassionate, safe and high quality care and support.
  • The Social Care Commitment is the adult social care’s promise to provide high quality care to people who need it and employers can use it to ensure everyone in the workplace is committed to upholding the same values. An employer makes their commitment first and encourages their employees to make the commitment, so the whole workforce is working towards improving quality and raising standards.

It’s important to integrate values in supervision, appraisal and progression reviews.

How can I include values in the supervision and appraisal process?

  • Speak with employees about the workplace values and check they are appropriate, current and reflected in day to day service delivery.
  • Link targets and objectives to your workplace values to help workers know what is expected. This also provides a formal setting to measure and review their progress and identify where positive changes can be made.
  • Ask for feedback from the people you support about worker’s values, behaviours and attitudes.
  • Acknowledge and reward your workers for demonstrating the workplace values. 

Leaders and managers are vital to help workers understand why values matter and how they fit into their day to day work. If you’re a leader or manager, you should encourage your employees to take responsibility for upholding positive workplace values.

Why do we need to involve leaders and managers?

Embedding values is not a tick-box solution. It‘s a continual process of development which needs ‘buy-in’ from everyone.

How can I include values at leadership and management level?

The Leadership Qualities Framework supports leadership at all levels and explains what good leadership looks like in different settings and situations. It’s important that leaders and managers reinforce values.  

We have created a guide and poster which can help your leaders and managers to plan the workplace values. 

It’s important you have a process to check that your workplace values are understood, being upheld and are having a positive impact.

How do we know whether our values are working?

Supervision provides a formal setting for reinforcing individual and workplace values. It should encourage two-way discussion which will help you to find out on what is working well and where positive changes can be made.

How will we know if we need to change our workplace values?

  • Talk to stakeholders, particularly those in need of care and support. Gathering feedback on workplace and individual values will show if and where change is needed.
  • Ask people who leave your organisation why they left; this may identify issues or gaps in your workplace values and behaviours. Read how The Good Care Group ‘learned from leavers’ to improve their retention. 
  • Learn from Warrington Community Living and Angel Human Resources about the different methods they used to check whether values are working and how staff uphold values on a day to day basis.
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