Skills for Care

Professional Carers share their experience on the Valuable People Programme

15 May 2024

4 min read

Skills for Care

  • Learning and development
  • Management

We hear from Professional Carers, led by Gary Nagle, who joined Skills for Care's Valuable People Programme to tackle staffing challenges during COVID-19.

Gary Nagle, Director of Operations at Professional Carers, initially sought to explore values-based recruitment due to challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. While recruitment had been successful in the past through referral schemes, the pandemic brought about difficulties in both recruiting and retaining staff. Concerns arose as good employees left due to safety concerns and recruiting became increasingly difficult. Gary felt like many applicants had no intention of remaining with their organisation in the long term.

This prompted Gary to consider alternative approaches to recruitment, leading him to explore Skills for Care’s Valuable People Programme, which focuses on addressing the recruitment challenges encountered by adult social care providers. It places an emphasis on ensuring employers develop sustainable policies and practices to create a supportive and values-led workplace culture to increase staff retention.

What did they learn on the Valuable People Programme?

Through the Valuable People Programme, Professional Carers discovered several shortcomings in their existing recruitment processes. They found that their recruitment journey lacked alignment with organisational values, as values were not integrated into the application and interview processes. They also found that their lengthy application forms were off-putting to potential candidates and full of questions that could be addressed later in the employment process.

Finally, the organisation was asked to assess how their current values were understood by staff and reflected in their work, which allowed them to realise that they were not actively practising their values.

How did they implement what they learnt?

Professional Carers began by redesigning their organisational values with input from existing staff, making them more tangible and actionable. This involved 1-2-1s and feedback from current team members. These values were then integrated into staff supervisions, appraisals, and everyday conversations to ensure alignment with organisational culture.

They also revamped their recruitment strategy to emphasise values over corporate aspects and restructured application forms to be more candidate-friendly. They incorporated values-based questioning into the interview process and ensured they were reinforcing the significance of their values throughout the initial employment journey.

What were the challenges?

Implementing what they learnt on the Valuable People Programme posed several challenges for Professional Carers. They faced resistance from colleagues who were accustomed to traditional recruitment methods, requiring effort to sell the benefits of a values-based approach, particularly to managers and senior staff.

Adapting to new assessment styles and integrating values into daily practices also required a cultural shift, which was met with hesitancy among staff initially, but through open and honest communication was realised as a positive direction for the organisation.

What was the impact of the changes?

Despite the challenges, Professional Carers experienced significant positive impacts from implementing values-based recruitment and the learnings from the Valuable People Programme.

Colleagues gained clarity on their organisation’s values and now actively implement them in their work. This has had huge impact on the workplace culture, creating a happier environment for all.

Within six months, they observed a reduction in staff turnover and an increase in employee satisfaction. In terms of hiring, the quality of recruits improved, leading to positive feedback on the new recruitment process. Quantity of recruits has also increased - the organisation is approaching the 200-employee mark for the first time in 25 years.

The changes garnered recognition from CQC, who in their 2023 inspection noted that their staff numbers had increased and how their values where clearly demonstrated in their work.

How did Professional Carers feel about the Valuable People Programme?

Gary and the Professional Carers team praised the Valuable People Programme for the huge impact that the knowledge gained has made on their organisation. The business continues to grow and now embeds its values in all its activities, ensuring that recruitment practises reflect these values right from the start of each employee’s journey.

The organisation reflected positively on the challenging nature of the course, which helped them realise the scope of the issues they were facing and long-term changes that would be required to achieve a truly values based environment.

Gary Nagle, Director of Operations, Professional Carers, said:

…if you’re like me, as a business owner passionate about your service, when somebody delves so deep into your processes, you have to be prepared to listen, engage and not be defensive.

Senior leaders attended the Valuable People Programme and saw first-hand the benefits of a values-based approach. This was crucial to success as key decision-makers were able to decide next steps and implement changes.

It took at least three months to change our interview and assessment styles and then notice people with the values and behaviours we wanted to attract were applying to join our team. For our existing team, through persistent discussions, marketing and communication, our values became ‘the norm’ after around six months. We now instil values from the offset to all our staff, wanting them to live and breathe our values!

You can find out more about our Valuable People Programme visiting our values-based recruitment support programmes page. 

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