The social care workforce is made up of highly skilled, responsible individuals who are serious about their careers, and committed to the people they support.
Why, then, do employers struggle to retain their valued staff?
There are an infinite number of reasons behind an employee’s decision to move on, but when we recently asked social workers what made them unhappy at work, a recurring theme was lack of control.
I'd like to make changes at an organisational level.
For some, that meant they were anxious about their workload. “I don’t feel I will be able to do this role long term as I would become overwhelmed,” one respondent said. “But I won’t leave yet as I'd like to make change at an organisational level to provide better outcomes for the children in my local area”.
For others, the sense of impotence was focused on the sense that they were not being listened to. Yes, they felt that their professionalism was valued by their employer, but not enough to allow them to have a say in how the organisation evolves. One respondent spoke for many when they said: “Changes take place with minimal consultation with staff about how it will affect us.”
Good social workers are good communicators
Researchers have often shown the valuable relationship between employee engagement and positive outputs. Within social work, the nature of the profession means this is a hugely powerful dynamic. We know that good social workers are good communicators, and the best leaders should not only exploit that characteristic of their workforce, but do them the favour of actively listening and being fully present.
Depth and breadth
Listening properly to employees will give senior leaders the opportunity to tap in to the depth and breadth of their experience. Starting the conversation with ‘help us shape our organisation’ or ‘let’s design the future’ underlines the value an employer places on collaboration and emphasises their shared objectives.
Listening to your workforce so that you understand and empathise with them – and following up with action that proves it – will strengthen relationships and improve links throughout the organisation.
At Equinox, we carry out workforce analysis online and in person because it provides invaluable, real-time feedback on the ways workers view the sector and their role within it. We are able to flag national trends, drill down to local detail, and shape the advice we give our clients accordingly.
Get in touch to find out how we can use our expertise to help you.