You’ve spent a fortune on recruitment, you’ve got the person you want, what’s going to make them stay?

My step-daughter got a job as a care worker in a residential home a few years ago. The first day was a chaotic experience. There was no planned induction, and she was expected just to ‘get on with it’ with colleagues who appeared unwilling or unable to share crucial information. She lasted three days. What a waste and a loss as she would never go and apply for another care job. This was at a time AFTER common induction standards were introduced in England for health and social care workers.

My first job in health and social care was with the Alzheimer’s Society in London. I didn’t know at the time, but I was joining a fantastic team. In the fortnight before I started, my manager rang me a couple of times to check on how I was and to set out my induction activities. Sure, I was told I had to hit the ground running, but I was warmly welcomed, each member of the team set aside time to explain their roles and explore how we would work together.

Most of all I had a leader who took an active interest in what I was doing. I felt valued, supported and fulfilled. I’m still in the sector 25 years later!

A report by Skills for Care (England) stated the following:

The staff turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 28.5% in 2020/21. This equates to approximately 410,000 people leaving their jobs over the course of the year. Most leavers don’t leave the sector. Around 63% of jobs were recruited from other roles within the sector.

So, most people like me stay in the sector.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) estimates 22% of new recruits leave companies within the first six months.

Of course, that’s not all down to poor induction, but the first day does matter. We talk about at Meaningful Care Matters about how first impressions count when we visit a care setting.

Structured induction is essential, but so is making someone feel at home. So, on your first day, what would make the difference for you? Think back to your own experiences. How did it feel? I’ve always felt a little overwhelmed, definitely nervous, not wanting to say or do anything stupid.

It’s not just down to the ‘Manager’ to make a new recruit feel welcome. Have you talked to your team about what you can all do to make a new colleague feel at home? If your aim is to make the people you support feel safe and valued on their first day, the same must go for staff. Sure, it’s an investment of time but must surely cost much less than the recruitment process did. Recruitment doesn’t end with the appointment but lasts in the first days and weeks of the job.

Consultant Learning & Development Manager

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