Interview Transcript

Regarding the approach to staff, there have been reports that they’re overworked and underpaid for the work they’re doing and the value they’re creating for the end customer. What type of personnel or character do they look to hire, and if they haven’t got the monetary requirement, what techniques do they use to motivate them?

A lot of people are working on a values-based recruitment process. The people who come into social care don’t do it for the money; they do it because they share the values and want to make a contribution to people’s lives. I’ve seen so many people in social care who come at it because they have personal experience; either they’ve supported a loved one or had a family member who has received support and they want to really give back. I think people work, where possible, on values, but it’s difficult because whatever your value base, you’ve still got to pay your mortgage, feed your children, do all the things the rest of us do. So, for some people, it’s very difficult for them to make choices to go into social care. I was talking to a care provider recently; a new Aldi supermarket had opened in their town, and they were offering significantly more than the care provider. They knew the value and quality of the care staff and attempted to lure them into retail — and of course, the flexibility inherent in that. Also, it’s not a complex job in the same way caring for somebody is, so if you’re getting more money, it would be very tempting to do that. I think we’ve got to look at this issue and it has to be a proper approach.

The Department of Health and Social Care are so disingenuous. They change their name, and then they produce an “NHS people plan.” If this were an integrated system, they’d have an “integrated people plan” and make sure people were trained to be able to move seamlessly across the system, exactly as service users do. Service users interact with the NHS, the private care provider, and their local community, and it’s the sum of all those parts and how staff work between those different organisations that define the experience of service users. I think we need to either stop this pretence that the system is integrated or start doing something tangible to make it integrated.

Just back to that case with Aldi and the care home; did they use any specific techniques to keep the people, or did they lose their employees to Aldi?

It really showed the value of value-based recruitment — the majority didn’t go and work for Aldi because they were really committed to the people they supported and the people in those services. They really enjoyed working with them and that employer who they felt valued them. I think we have to look at how we acknowledge and value our colleagues as well.

Things that are not very tangible but very important are how we give feedback, how we ensure we tell people the impact they’re having on people’s lives, connecting with them and their families, and making it really clear theirs is an important job — lots of those things we don’t do enough of. The prime minister had a reception in Downing Street for the fantastic people who had worked during Christmas in the NHS. Well, there were fantastic people working all over social care and yet, no acknowledgement from the top of government about that. I would want to see people understand that if they’re going to talk about integrated systems, even those small things about recognition do make a difference and they should be available to everybody.

You mentioned a couple of interesting points on values-based recruitment. Can you elaborate on how you see this being rolled out and specifically, the techniques they use when Aldi comes knocking with a higher hourly rate and an easier job? Are there certain strategies they use to keep their employees, or is it just about hiring well the first time around?

I think that is the start of the process; a values-based recruitment process where you try to match the values of the person with the work they’re doing, trying to encourage people who have a real commitment to making people’s lives better to come into social care. There’s been some great work done by the Skills for Care organisation on values-based recruitment.

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