Even with enough resources, the best-equipped premises and complete co-operation from relatives and friends, the way vulnerable and elderly people are cared for is only as good as the people doing the caring.
How to make sure your social care recruitment plan separates those with the right ethics from those whose actions would bring your business into disrepute is a conundrum employers have to face every time they have vacancies to fill. And with such high turnover in an industry employing over one and a half million people, it’s an issue that’s near constant for larger businesses and regular for their smaller counterparts.
One of the few positive factors that enables employers within the sector to co-operate effectively is the near universal agreement on the traits and characteristics needed to be an ethical, responsible social worker. From compassion for others to genuine empathy for the vulnerable, and the ability to adapt to individuals’ diverse circumstances to a strong belief in the need to maintain dignity for others, the virtue of these qualities is considered gospel. It’s measuring them in the strangers who turn up for interviews that’s the problem.
Yet that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Aside from hiring experienced, observant people to conduct the interviews – ones who are capable of spotting not only talent but the very qualities listed above, including those with the right ethics, through nothing more than simple questioning – designing a framework approach that enables employers to be confident in those they hire is possible. And what’s more, the National Skills Academy for Social Care appears to have developed one that’s realistic to impose for businesses of all sizes.
The values-based online toolkit provides a range of examples and materials for employers to build a coherent recruitment strategy, safe in the knowledge that the methods have been tested successfully on a large-scale. This includes advice such as designing job adverts in a way that ask candidates to provide evidence of their competencies. As well as this, there is a large amount of downloadable material available that may be of use to employers such as best practice examples to provide guidelines for job advertisements and questionnaires to evaluate personality traits.
Much of it seems straightforward and could be described as common sense thinking. Yet with the vulnerability of millions at stake over the coming years, having strategies like this available to all employers means everyone can choose to be safe rather than risk their clients being sorry.
I think it is important to take care of our elders. The way the system works right now is a disgrace to them.