Here at Cohesion, we care about making the difference, not just to our clients, but to the industries they work within.

This is the second in a series of blogs about the PhD student we are sponsoring to carry out cutting edge research on Recruitment and Selection in the Social Care sector:

“This study has been a real eye opener and an amazing opportunity to really make a difference to the Social Care sector. It would be difficult to ram everything I’ve done so far in to one blog, but I’ll give it a good go!

I have been involved in some exciting discussions with both academic lecturers as well as other PhD students from related disciplines. This has helped provide an external viewpoint on the challenge ahead and has provided further areas to read into in a bid to be more thorough in the groundwork to build from.

The biggest chunk of work I have undertaken so far is a very in-depth literature review to ascertain the current status of the field and get an understanding of what has previously been researched. This has helped me get to know the sector as a whole, and to identify how under researched the area really is.

This has been hugely insightful as there is a real need to look beyond the social care literatures and to broaden scope to encompass allied fields such as medical and nursing orientated research. The reason for this is that, although the professional literature is rich with information and guidance such as Skills for Care and the Kings Fund research; the academic based literature is sparse and there is a real lack of research.

Furthermore, the research that does exist is often orientated largely towards elderly social care and thus neglects the other niche facets. The reason why it is appropriate to broaden scope to allied fields is because these fields contain elements common to Social Care, such as the need for compassion and empathy in its workers (a large part of this really does come down to the people). Moreover, it provides elements to incorporate in the research going forward to look to see if these aspects can be fruitful in the Social Care sector.

This has also provided a large array of variables that are potentially worth examining. These range from competency dimensions, to personality traits, to attributes and skills. Additionally I have been able to read and research the emerging technique of values-based recruitment, which is being touted and pushed as the way forward in Health and Social Care industries (read more about values-based recruitment and how it could work for you and your business in this free ebook.) Beyond this, a fundamental aspect has been to get to grips with what the contingencies to recruitment are within the social care sector.

More specifically, what aspects are causing recruitment to be difficult, what aspects impact turnover, the applicant pool, and what may attract workers to the sector? This has been a hugely fruitful search.

The latest aspect of my work (which is an ongoing colossal task) is the development and refining of the model that will be examined going forward. This has required careful theorising and decisions on what the key aspects are. This, going forward, will hopefully be discussed within a focus group with Cohesion and key stakeholders. This will allow me to get an industry viewpoint on the model and the key outcomes that they see as essential.

So far, this review has allowed me to look at the state of the field, the gaps in the literature, and given me ideas on how to address these issues.

Basically, this is the road map that sets out where we are going and, more importantly, how we are going to get there! As well as what the outcome will be from this project.

This is a hugely exciting and innovative study, nothing of this sort has ever been done before and I am hopeful that the impact on the sector will be great.”

During our next catch up, we will be finding out what John has done so far and what he’s learnt about Social Care as a sector and recruitment as a practice.

For more exciting updates from John, 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.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates on Changing Social Care!



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