Skills for Care

Why managers shouldn’t be afraid to develop their staff

22 Jan 2024

3 min read

Skills for Care

  • Leadership
  • Learning and development
  • Management
  • Retention

Victoria Collier, Deputy Head of National Workforce Development, Capability and Skills at Skills for Care discusses why managers shouldn’t fear developing their team members.

There’s a popular quote you may have seen shared before:

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.

Sometimes there can be a fear among managers and leaders that if staff gain lots of new skills and knowledge, it may result in them leaving.

But in fact, while learning and development for staff will provide them with more skills, experience, and confidence which they could use to apply for new roles elsewhere, for many it’s more likely to encourage them to apply those skills, experience and confidence to their existing workplace.

Our data shows that investing in learning and development for your team can support with keeping staff. Average turnover rates decreased from 37% among staff who had no qualifications to 26.5% among those that had a qualification.

The average turnover rate was 9.0 percentage points lower amongst care workers who had received some form of training (31.6%), compared to those who hadn’t (40.6%).

The care workers who received more training opportunities also had lower turnover rates. The average turnover rate amongst care workers with one instance of training recorded was 35.1%. This decreased by 9.2 percentage points to 25.9% for those with more than 30 instances of training. This shows that continued investment in staff training can positively impact retention rates.

Additionally, in our ‘Secrets of success research’, where we spoke with employers with a turnover rate of less than 10%, 94% of respondents mentioned investing in learning and development as a factor for their good levels of staff retention.

Supporting your staff to develop their skills and knowledge shows that you recognise them and their contribution to your organisation. This makes people feel more valued and as a result happy and motivated at work, meaning they’re more likely to stay for the longer term.

Developing staff’s skills and confidence can also open up new opportunities for them to progress and take on new responsibilities, again encouraging them to stay longer. As the newly published Care Workforce Pathway describes, progression routes can come in all shapes and sizes, it’s not solely an upwards trajectory towards a management role. Progression could involve becoming a champion for a specific topic, such as digital skills or equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, developing specialist skills or expertise, or becoming a practice leader a chosen specialism.

Of course, for some people, as they develop their skills and knowledge in a role and organisation the time may naturally come where they do feel it’s time for them to move on and progress elsewhere. It’s important not to fear this either, and to instead support all your staff to progress in their careers in whichever way suits them.

We know from our data that around 59% of filled posts in 2022/23 were recruited from within the social care sector. This means that while people may leave their roles many are staying within social care.

So, if you have supported a member of your staff in developing their skills and knowledge and the time does come for them to move on, they’ll still be utilising that experience that you supported them in gaining to flourish within social care and to best support the people drawing on care.


Find out more about how you can support staff with their learning and development with our #KeepLearning spotlight.

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