We were asked to conduct a programme of research into how social care employers could be supported by Skills for Care to address recruitment and retention challenges.
This followed on from a previous project on calculating the costs of recruiting new staff, which had identified a demand for a more holistic approach to recruitment guidance and support, rather than additional standalone tools.
We ran a programme of work to understand the recruitment and retention user journeys across the adult social care sector to identify motivations and triggers, user needs and how they are met currently and pain points, so that we could then go on to identify the elements of the Skills for Care offer that could be utilised to meet these needs.
To do this, we carried out 12 user interviews with social care employers and ran two user experience mapping workshops with user representatives and Skills for Care team members.
Early in the project, we identified that the research participants who took part were mostly from organisations who had a higher level of engagement with Skills for Care than might be typical for users of the resources.
To mitigate this, we carried out a user needs validation survey to test whether the needs expressed by those taking part in the interviews and workshops were reflected more widely across the sector.
We targeted recruitment for the survey to ensure that we reached those providers who were less engaged with Skills for Care and the resources they offer, so that they were sufficiently represented in the findings, and so that the recommendations accurately reflected a diverse set of user needs.
As part of this project, we also carried out a stakeholder survey and workshop, to gather the views of those within Skills for Care on how the recruitment and retention offering could be best used to meet user needs.
From these activities, we were able to curate user journey maps for recruitment and retention and a backlog of 27 validated and prioritised user needs. We presented the findings and recommendations to Skills for Care, which included a service blueprint for a prospective new support service.