Changing Social Care – a PhD study, part 1

Changing social care

Here at Cohesion, we are hugely passionate about the Social Care sector. Not only do we partner with clients in the industry to recruit the right people, but we actively seek new ways to positively impact the industry as a whole.

We are very excited to have partnered with an elite University, Aston Business School, and have funded a PhD student to carry out an insightful study that could change the face of recruitment in the sector.  We launched this at a roundtable event in January.

This is the first in a series of blogs, written by John Barratt, who is carrying out the study, that will tell the story of this exciting research and what it means for the sector:

“The UK care sector is rapidly growing and finds itself in a position of requiring a million new workers by 2025. Couple this with the fact that it is becoming increasingly scrutinised in terms of the effectiveness and conduct of care workers and this is an important area to consider.

These two problems have led to businesses and organisations in the sector being faced with the dual challenge of fast paced recruitment to meet business growth needs and turnover, alongside continual demand to improve quality of recruitment and selection.
To date there exists no specific study of effective recruitment and selection practice in the UK care sector. It is therefore timely to initiate such a research study, which will:

• Add research data to the recruitment, selection and assessment literatures from this important area of practice, and
• Result in specific and high-impact recommendations for practice of recruitment and selection in the sector.
The above creates four main aims for the present research going forward:

1) Carry out an extensive literature review of the social care sector literatures; this entails both the academic and professional literatures. This will help develop an understanding of what is currently known about the sector and what the gaps that need addressing are

2) Empirical Study 1: Modeling and Measuring Carer Effectiveness

The first study will seek to establish performance criteria and methods of measurement for carers (given the absence of a performance taxonomy or instrument currently).
The study will follow steps in scale design to develop and test a set of rating items that can be used by managers, supervisors and others to rate the performance of carers. This will consequently create a tool to quantify effective performance of care workers. The resulting tool can then be used as an outcome measure when looking to identify what aspects, characteristics, competencies, etc. of an individual lead to effective performance.

3) Empirical Study 2: Understanding Reasons for Turnover and Tenure among Carers

A qualitative study will be undertaken to understand the reasons that people stay or leave jobs as carers. It is important that recruitment and selection in the care sector seeks to balance achievement of two success outcomes: quality and performance on one hand, and tenure/stability on the other. By understanding some of the contributing factors to tenure versus turnover in the sector, recruitment and selection strategies can be developed around these criteria, so that employers can mitigate against the potential costs of frequent turnover.
This aim will look to identify these factors through interviews with employees (mixture of leavers and long-tenure).

4) Empirical Study 3: A Longitudinal Study of Recruitment and Selection Effectiveness

The main study in this doctoral research will be an 18-month longitudinal study of the effectiveness of different recruitment and selection techniques.

The study will look to be undertaken across multiple care providers, using data compiled from carers recruited during the study period. Various methods will be used and different types of data obtained. The main aims and outcomes that will be identified through this research study are:

• The techniques of recruitment and selection that work most effectively in different organisations.
• The effectiveness (validity) of recruitment and selection methodology for predicting different outcome criteria.
• Changes in the validities of different techniques for predicting criteria over time.”

During our next catch up, we will be finding out what John has done so far and why it’s important.

For more exciting updates from John and Changing Social Care, click here.

In the meantime, why not take a look at some of our free Social Care ebooks which further explore the skills shortage, the future of the sector and values-based recruitment.


Co-written by John Barratt, PhD student at Aston University


Sign up to stay connected

We want to make sure you never miss one of our events, blogs, or whitepapers. Sign up to stay connected with Cohesion