Section 5: Job matching

Section 5: Job Matching

Job matching is the process of matching the right person to the right job, based on their inherent motivational strengths.

It involves either matching the job to the person or the person to the job – requiring an understanding of both elements under consideration.

[VIDEO: With NSCSS about job variety and careers]

Theoretical and empirical issues of job matching, labour markets and the movement of job information in labour markets all feed into the relationship between recruitment and job composition. Based on this knowledge, we now have job matching models that do an excellent job of helping us to understand how workers are matched to jobs in internal labour markets.

Here are some of the most important aspects that contribute to successful job matching:

  • Developing an understanding of the job or tasks involved from the perspectives of both the individual who is filling the position and from the supervisor or managers.
  • Defining the supervisory structure
  • Being clear about the availability of administrative support
  • Understanding compensation plans
  • Defining a career path
  • Setting a clear working schedule or shift pattern
  • Having an understanding of occupational related risks (both physical and mental)

Understanding motivations is key
According to Herbert [1], most effective managers share one thing in common: an ability to understand and focus on inner motivations – both their own, and of those around them.

Question: What do you believe are the most important elements when it comes to matching someone to a role?

Tapping into talent: How do we discover people’s motivations?

People become care workers for a variety of reasons. For many, social care is not just a job but a calling. They do the work because they see an opportunity to make life better for people who need help in maintaining some independence and quality of life. One employer described a key skill finding people who want a job which important to others.

“You need to tap into people that are like minded to ourselves and thinking, ‘I would like a job working with people. I’d like a job that gives me some satisfaction that I’ve made a difference to others. That my work has value to the people who receive care’.” (Northern Ireland employer)

Of course, not every person who applies for a job in the care sector because of a ‘calling’. Many become care workers because it is the only job available. They may need flexible work because they have caring responsibilities at home. Or, they may lack the qualifications for work in other fields.

Many people who have been out of work for a long time and their lack of recent work experience. This doesn’t mean that people who join the care sector out of necessity rather than choice won’t excel in their jobs. People who become care workers by thinking of it as ‘just a job’ find that the work taps into skills and capabilities that they hadn’t though that they had before.

“So a lot of people step into it and realise that there’s something a little bit more, not easier about it, but there’s almost something that they didn’t think was within their gift, but then it is.” (Belfast Health and Social Care)

Using specific and probing questions to uncover motivations in those applying for a care role is difficult. It relies on the expertise of the interviewer to elicit feedback from the applicant – requiring extensive training in this approach and many years of experience to refine their skills.

Question: Do you agree with this statement? What questions could we ask to uncover someone’s motivations for working in care? Why is this important?

Recruiting a diverse workforce

Case study: United Kingdom
Many employers are looking for ways to recruit both men and women into a variety of roles.

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About 80% of UK care workers are women.

Why do social care employers find it hard to recruit men?

One care home in the South of England recruited older men who had been made redundant after a local factory closed. The employer offered free training and job tasters to make the work attractive to potential employees.

‘Socialisation’ often deters men from applying for care work even when they may be a good match to the work.

“I think the gender socialisation that young men have grown up with is likely to lead him to say, “Yes I’ll take the van.” That said I meet a lot of male carers, who are very passionate and dedicated to their work. These are very widespread societal attitudes. I think there’s still a strong notion that caring work is women’s work.” (Northern Ireland Care Worker)
Question: Why do you think that the majority of care workers are women? What barriers do men face to entering the sector? How can we all help to break those barriers down?

Why recruiting a diverse workforce is important

Care workers come from a variety of backgrounds. Some organisations use targeted recruitment to find people who are underrepresented in the sector or people who are disadvantaged in the labour market. These might include:

  • Young people
  • People who have been off work for health reasons but want to return to work
  • Ex-offenders
  • Those who can only work on a part-time basis

Tapping into under-used parts of the job market can provide employers a source of talented people who, with training, provide a high quality service.

Ensuring that every employee feels valued

Within a diverse workforce, it is important to ensure that staff feel valued and safe when carrying out their jobs.
Some care workers we talked to spoke of experiences of discrimination from clients, family members or other health care professionals. There are many reasons why organisations should have Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies: one of the most important is to ensure that care work is attractive to a range of job applicants from different backgrounds.

Question: Does you organization have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy? How is it enforced?
Case study: United Kingdom
Job shadowing
Some employers in the UK offer people interested in joining care services the chance to work in the sector for a limited time, to see how they feel in the role.

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Skills for Care deploys Care Ambassadors to talk with people who are thinking about joining the sector. Care Ambassadors aim to ‘inspire and motivate’ people to work in social care. They talk with people who might be interested in working in the sector – for example those who have experience caring for family members.

[VIDEO: Interview with Peter Northrop (Skills for Care)]

One care home in the South East of England has developed a job shadowing scheme to encourage long-term unemployed people to try working as a care worker for a two month period.

Participants received full training, salary and benefits with an offer of a permanent job for those who successfully pass probation and want to continue. The programme was surprisingly popular with men who had worked in a local factory, which had closed. After a year, three quarters of those initially recruited were still working for the care home.

Developing new approaches to recruiting talent from a wide talent pool is particularly important considering skills shortages and stiff competition for talent.
However, good recruitment policies are not enough. People need to feel valued and engaged in rewarding work.
In the next section, we will discuss some of the ways organisations can improve the quality of work for care workers.

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