Exploring the relative importance of factors that influence the job retention of social care staff working in intellectual disability services

George Murray, Karen McKenzie, Dale Metcalfe, Kathryn Whelan, Aja Louise Murray

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We wanted to find out what would help care staff to stay in their jobs. The most important thing for them was getting on well with the person they supported. The next most important thing was their pay. These results can be used to find ways to help staff stay in their jobs. This is important to make sure that people with a learning disability get good support. Abstract: Background: High staff turnover presents a challenge to the provision of good quality community-based support to people with an intellectual disability. While recent research has identified factors that are thought to be important for staff retention, their relative importance to social care staff is unknown. The aim of this study was to address this gap. Methods: 205 social care staff who worked in intellectual disability services completed an online questionnaire that asked them to: rank factors that had been previously identified as influencing staff retention in order of importance; identify the extent to which their most important factor was met by their organisation (fulfilment score); and rate their recent job-seeking intentions. Findings: The most important factor overall was the relationship of the staff member with the person they supported. This was also identified as the most important factor by the most participants, followed by pay. All of the factors, with the exception of “benefits” (such as pensions), were rated by at least one person as the most important factor. A significant negative relationship was found between fulfilment score and job-seeking score; that is, the lower the former, the more the person agreed that they had been seeking a new job. Conclusion: The results suggest that interventions to improve staff retention should take account of differences in staff views about which work-related factors are most important to them; use multi-component approaches where possible; prioritise staff pay; and help ensure that staff relationships with those they support are positive and fulfilling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


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