An empowerment programme to regain positive work engagement for social workers in the North West Province
Calitz, Taetske Monique
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The objective of this study is to reclaim positive work engagement for social workers in North-West province through an empowerment programme addressing the issues contributing to low job satisfaction, burnout, and job turnover of social workers. Keywords: Social work, social workers, group work, programme, empowerment, engagement, job satisfaction, stress and burnout. A serious shortage of social workers is experienced in South Africa. One of the reasons provided is the high turnover rate of social workers; thus social work is classified as a scarce skill profession. An urgent retention strategy is needed in order to retain social workers for the profession. Section A refers to the problem statement, research objectives, research procedures and research methodology. The keywords as well as the limitations of the research are investigated. The research was conducted in two phases. In phase one the needs assessment was implemented and in phase two the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the empowerment programme. The problem statement in section A is based on the following: The working life of social workers is limited and creates a shortage of social workers. Several factors contribute to this shortage of social workers, including the lack of resources, and of professional and family support. Undefined roles in social work contributed to lower job satisfaction and engagement. When social workers are under stress and do not have sufficient resources they will contemplate job turnover. Research indicates that positive work engagement can be put back into social work by addressing the factors contributing to job dissatisfaction, negativity, stress and burnout in the profession. Positive work engagement may be a protective factor against burnout. This problem statement resulted in the following research goal of reclaiming positive work engagement for social workers in North-West province through an empowerment programme addressing the issues contributing to low job satisfaction, burnout, and job turnover of social workers. It further resulted in the four research aims indicated below: To determine by means of a literature study what affects the retention of social workers, with specific focus on stress, burnout, job satisfaction, positive work engagement, and turnover. To determine what degree of work engagement and job satisfaction South African social workers and those in the North-West province experience in their current positions and how this influences job turnover, burnout and the intention to leave the profession. To develop and implement an empowerment programme to reclaim positive work engagement. To evaluate the effectiveness of an empowerment programme for enhancing the degree of work engagement social workers experience in their profession. The Design and Development model (D&D) was implemented. The model consists of six phases, which all have been used during this study. Quantitative data was mainly utilized. The literature study focused on factors influencing work engagement, job satisfaction, stress, burnout and job turnover in general as well as information specifically related to social workers. Section B consists of the four articles in which the research goals and research outcomes are reported. Each article is dealt with as a self-contained unit focusing on specific research objectives that were achieved via specific research methods. These methods were employed to collect the necessary data for the design and evaluation of the empowerment programme. Article 1 The research goal of this article was to determine what affects the retention of social workers with specific focus on burnout, job satisfaction, engagement, turnover and job stress by means of a literature study. An investigation was carried out into the existing literature on factors influencing work engagement, job satisfaction, and job turnover. Attention was further given to aspects contributing to stress and burnout and to preventative measures to address last-mentioned. The results of this research indicated that burnout, via stress, job engagement and job satisfaction, consistently predict intention to leave and thus turnover of social workers. Article 2 Social work was classified as a scare skill. The retention of social workers is an important aspect that needs urgent attention. Before a retention strategy can be put into place a needs assessment is necessary in order to determine the factors influencing retention. The research goal of this article was to determine what degree of work engagement and job satisfaction South African social workers experience in their current positions and how this influences job turnover, burnout and the intention to leave the profession. In this article the researcher presented, analysed and interpreted research findings based on responses provided by 60 social workers from the North-West province. The research questions focused on job engagement, job satisfaction, burnout and stress social workers experienced in their current positions. The purpose was to determine the needs social workers experience that will affect their turnover intention and to establish what is needed to retain them for the profession. In this research, Exponential Non-Discriminative Snowball Sampling was applied in order to identify participants. The results of this research indicated that the needs/problems social workers experienced were stress, burnout, lower job satisfaction and engagement. These needs or problems can be addressed through an empowerment programme. Providing the necessary information, support and skills training social workers could be empowered and retained for longer periods for the profession. Article 3 The research goal of this article was to develop and implement an empowerment programme to reclaim positive work engagement. The programme was developed after a needs assessment had been done including sixty (N=60) social workers from the North-West province. It was completed with a thorough literature study on the related themes. The result of this research was that the programme was presented to eleven (N=11) social workers in a two-day workshop consisting of seven sessions. Article 4 The purpose of this article was to evaluate the effectiveness of an empowerment programme for enhancing work engagement social workers experience in their profession. This was done through the use of the UWES (Utrecht Work Engagement Scale). This scale measures the work engagement employees experience. The UWES was used on three occasions with both the experimental and comparison group. The first measurement was taken prior to the intervention, the second 32 hours after the intervention and the third a month after the intervention. The observations, reflections and process notes of the researcher as facilitator and presenter were used to evaluate the practical value of the programme as well as to suggest recommendations for future use. A self-developed evaluation questionnaire was used after the intervention to afford the experimental group the opportunity of evaluating the value of the programme. The results of this research indicated that this empowerment programme for social workers to regain positive work engagement improved the engagement social workers experienced and was thus successful. It increased their feelings of dedication as well as vigor and empowered them to take care of their own well-being in order to counteract turnover and burnout. After completion of the research, the programme was also presented to the comparison group. In Section C a summary of the findings and conclusions of the research report and some recommendations are provided. Section D consists of various addenda such as questionnaires and measuring instruments that were used. Section E contained an integrated bibliography.
- Humanities