social care roundtable

There are currently a number of issues linked to recruitment- skills shortages are wreaking havoc, employment rates are creeping up and competition for top talent is fierce. This doesn’t only affect us as a business, but also our clients.

We are proud to be passionate about the success of our clients’ businesses as well as the sectors they work within.

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On 30th January, Cohesion is holding a Social Care Recruitment roundtable event on future-proofing the UK Care Sector Workforce.

It’s estimated that the adult Social Care sector in England alone will need an additional 1 million workers by 2025, yet the sector is struggling to evolve.

Plagued by a number of challenges including low pay, high turnover, a disproportionate level of diversity, ignorance about career pathways and a negative image. Raising the profile of Social Care is a critical issue that needs to be addressed.

We are excited to be holding a roundtable discussion where we will be debating this hot topic with key players in the industry, including speakers from Skills for Care.

We have representatives attending from some great organisations, including Livewell Care, Midway Care Group, Turning Point, Helping Hands, Places for People, National Autistic Society, Central and Cecil Housing and The Guinness Partnership.

Also attending will be the PhD student we are sponsoring to carry out ground breaking research in to recruitment in the Social Care sector. Read more about our Social Care Recruitment PhD here.
This is an exciting opportunity for us to discuss issues in the industry, not just from a recruitment perspective, but from Social Care providers too.

Read our latest ebook on future-proofing the Social Care sector.

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Are you thinking about recruiting carers? Here at Cohesion, we’re experts in social care recruitment, click here to find out how we can help you. 

Cohesion is holding a round-table event to discuss issues in the Social Care sector. With a guest speaker from Skills for Care, this promises to be an exciting discussion around a hot topic in the UK at the moment.

It’s estimated that the adult social care sector in England alone will need to add 1 million workers by 2025. Yet the sector is struggling to evolve. Plagued by a number of challenges including low pay, high turnover, a disproportionate level of diversity, ignorance about career pathways and a negative image, raising the profile of social care is a critical issue that needs to be addressed.

The event will be taking place on Friday 30th January 2015, here we will debate this hot topic with key players in the industry.


social care

It’s the turn this week of Dave Beesley, managing accounts within Cohesion’s Social Care recruitment division, to tells us his thoughts on the benefits of a Total Recruitment Philosophy (TRP).

What does TRP mean to you?

TRP brings the entire recruitment and onboarding piece together and is only successful if practiced as a whole. It sets a recruitment process apart from others – it allows a company to reach, engage, and retain quality staff.

My top tips for getting the process right in Social Care Recruitment:

1. Include a proper attraction strategy

If you have recruited to similar roles in the past, then make sure you use data on the sources of those successfully recruited last time. It should form the foundation of your attraction strategy this time round.

Download our e-book on our top tips for social care recruitment

2. Communicate non-stop.

Candidates’ love calls, emails, and text messages to keep them in touch with the process. And remember that candidate engagement has to continue right through the post offer and pre-employment stage.

3. Values based telephone interviewing

Values based telephone interviewing has taken over from competency based interviewing as the primary method for selecting Care & Support Workers. Focus on attitude and values rather than previous experience. Prepare your candidates for face to face interviews. You want them to give a good account of themselves, so putting them at ease and removing surprises will give the best outcomes. Spend time on offer management – I recommend lots of communication with the candidate, understanding how they felt about interview, and whether they would accept, so that you can anticipate any objections before giving the offer itself.

4. Onboarding is so much more than referencing and DBS checks!

OmWe recommend welcome calls, new starter fact sheets, and inviting new starters to social events with new colleagues if possible. New starter and non-starter surveys. We find out so much by asking why applicants start (or don’t) and use this to refine our processes on an ongoing basis. How much influence? Do you ensure your organisational values and beliefs influence every stage of the recruitment process? Does the feedback you obtain from candidates and new starters influence the recruitment, employee onboarding, induction and training process?

Are you thinking about recruiting for your business? Click here to find out how Cohesion can help you. 

social care recruitment study

Academics from Aston Business School are teaming up with Solihull-based recruitment experts Cohesion, who are funding a three-year social care recruitment study  including  attraction and selection practices in the UK care sector.

Organisations in this sector are faced with a dual challenge: the need for fast paced recruitment to meet business growth and turnover, alongside the continual demand to improve the quality of care provided. It is hoped that the study will result in specific and high-impact recommendations for recruitment and selection in the sector.

The project will begin with a literature review, which will uncover existing research evidence on the effectiveness of recruitment in the care sector, and investigate the current selection and assessment processes.

Download our e-book on Social Care Recruitment for more tips on how to recruit the best social care workers 

From this, the study will move on to explore what it means to be an effective care worker, looking to uncover key knowledge, skills and competencies for the variety of roles which care workers may carry out. The project also aims to look at the reasons why care workers stay in or leave a role, a particular challenge in the sector.  Understanding these factors will help employers develop recruitment and selection strategies which will mitigate the potential costs of high staff turnover.

The final stage of the care recruitment study will track the progress of a group of care workers over an 18-month period.  Through monitoring key performance indicators, absenteeism, development and turnover, conclusions will be drawn regarding the most effective recruitment and selection techniques which lead to the most effective performance over time.

Dr Ann Davis, Head of the Work & Organisational Psychology Group at Aston Business School will be supervising the PhD student, and said of the project: “This research is a fantastic opportunity to study the different techniques of recruitment and selection and find out what works most effectively in different organisations.”

Debbie Edmondson, Talent Director at Cohesion, said: “We’re really excited about this opportunity to work with Aston in order to develop and improve testable recruitment models. We’re passionate about innovation at Cohesion and we look forward to understanding more about how we can improve recruitment processes in the care sector.”

For more information call Cohesion on 0121 713 8320. To find out more about collaborating with Aston University, contact the Business Partnership Unit on 0121 204 4242 or email


engagement onboarding social care

If you are involved in recruitment in the social care sector, it is likely that the question at the forefront of your mind is, ‘How do we recruit people who share our vision and values?’. This question was recently driven home with shocking revelations from a recent programme in the BBC’s Panorama series, showing the abuse of elderly and vulnerable residents.

Recruit the best social care staff

There are no easy answers to this question. One way, we can help to ensure this stops happening is by recruiting the right people; staff who are motivated, enthusiastic and, above all, caring. Undoubtedly, there are great carers and support workers out there who treat their service users with the dignity and respect they deserve. The difficulty comes in consistently finding, engaging and retaining the right people.

This, is only half the battle. Making the transition from ‘offered candidate’ to ‘happy employee’ is just as important to get right. We know from experience that what happens in the first few months of a new starter’s  journey, from application to induction is crucial. If  the experience and engagement is great for  a candidate, their engagement as a new starter will be high and their perception of your organisation will be reflected positively. Just imagine the potential of job referrals and recommendations  from a group of highly engaged new employees!


positively engaging carers

Why on-boarding is important

On the other hand, if the on-boarding experience is poor, the consequences can be dire. If there is little to no engagement right at the start of the recruitment process, they could end up rejecting your offer and accepting the offer of a competitor.  The perception of your organisation could become negative with the reputation of your organisation suffering with it.

Over the years, we at Cohesion have been, and continue to, fine tune our methods and practices around sourcing the right talent for our clients. More importantly, we know one size does not fit all. We partner with each client closely to make sure we attract the best talent who match our client’s values, vision and culture.


Positively engaging your carers

We also know positive engagement with candidates/new starters is the key to retaining the best staff. From sourcing to on-boarding, we maintain constant communication with candidates, informing them every step of the way. We found this reduces the candidate drop out at any stage. And, that’s not the best part. The best part is we do all this as the recruitment partner of our clients, under their brand identity and image. So when, candidates join, they join with a positive impression of the organisations they are joining!

How does all this tie in with good care? Recruitment cannot possibly provide all the answers as to why or how such abuse can take place, but it can certainly be a part of the solution. Getting the best talent, the right talent, is the least we can do. Indeed, it is the least we do. There are most definitely super care and support workers who really do care. Our job is to ensure you recruit them!

Are you thinking about recruiting carers? Click here to find out what Cohesion can do for you.

values based recruitment social care

Last week I had the pleasure of spending a morning with colleagues from Skills for Care, Alternative Futures Group, Profiles4Care and Avenues Group.  The strand that holds us together – values based recruitment.

Now it’s no secret that social care has its fair share of recruitment problems.  It speaks volumes that the sector is growing, yet thousands of front-line jobs are still sitting vacant.  HR teams are at pains to come up with a reliable and consistent way of filling care and support vacancies.  Even harder still is the need to fill vacancies with the right people, who will actually stay.


Why values based approach to recruitment may be part of the answer.

At the heart of values based recruitment sits the idea that skills are something that can be taught and developed with the right training.  What really matters are the values and behaviours sitting at the core of the individual.  When you plug this approach into recruiting a high performing support worker, this means that what you might be looking for is that passion for making a difference to the lives of others.  It’s a part of their DNA.  Not making a difference is simply not an option.

I think the social care sector is onto something here.  We’ve seen it with our own clients.  These individuals are easy to spot.  When you talk to them they have a genuine and sincere enthusiasm and passion for enabling others to live happy lives.  Putting higher calibre applicants in front of hiring managers becomes much easier, because you can spot a ‘fraud’ a mile off.

I say values based recruitment is part of the answer.  It doesn’t solve attraction problems on its own.  The sector still has far more work to do in how it sells itself and retains staff.

Freeing from the shackles of previous experience

What it does do however is open the potential candidate pool far wider.  When you remove the shackles of having to recruit for previous experience, you have far more interesting places to go with your candidate sourcing strategy.  We’ve seen it first hand – one of my most memorable interviews was with an applicant who was working at B&Q, but the one thing he loved most about his job was his role as an employee champion – supporting his colleagues to ensure they were living a fulfilled life at work.  He blew the client away at interview and was offered the job on the spot.

So often social care is berated for being behind the times but I can’t see any reason why this approach shouldn’t be adopted elsewhere.  How many times do we complain about the customer service rep who just doesn’t care, or the pushy sales person who doesn’t have our best interests at heart.  If these skills can be taught and developed, then recruiting against values is surely a no-brainer.