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Planning, Developing and Supporting the Workforce

There are three main elements of the Framework: Planning, Developing and Supporting.

Planning the Workforce

Adopt a strategic approach to planning the social welfare workforce

  • Identify human resources requirements and costed plans to carry out national legislation and policy for meeting the needs of highly vulnerable children
  • Determine the current composition of the social welfare workforce (e.g., numbers and distributions)
  • Carry out periodic workforce assessments to identify gaps in human resource requirements
  • Promote appropriate workforce realignment and task shifting among different cadres of social workers and through decentralization of appropriate social welfare responsibilities
  • Create stronger, effective links with the social welfare workforce education and training system to address future workforce needs
  • Strengthen mechanisms and capacity for financing, accountability and producing costed plans.

Collect and share HR data and promote data-driven decision making

  • Build and strengthen Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)– Bring key stakeholders together to identify where sound social welfare workforce data exist, to discuss gaps and shared data needs, and agree on requirements of an HRIS.
  • Establish and use common definitions and functions across multiple disciplines (e.g., social worker, community worker, para-social worker, social work assistant)
  • Set up systems for monitoring progress to create a feedback loop for future planning
  • Determine costs and budgets for utilizing useful technological resources to share timely and accurate data and information.            

Improve recruitment, hiring, and deployment practices and systems that take into account urban, peri-urban, and rural areas and decentralization plans

  • Recruit individuals into various certificate, diploma and degree social work education/training programs
  • Use a competency model to develop clear job descriptions for social welfare workforce cadres
  • Establish fair, transparent, and efficient practices for recruiting, hiring, and promoting for social workers and para-social workers and others in the social welfare workforce
  • Create or strengthen systems for hiring and deploying social workers to underserved areas; engage community leaders in helping to transition new social workers into their work.

Build alliances and coalitions to strengthen leadership and advocacy among broad range of stakeholders

  • Advocate for intra-ministerial dialogue and coordination at central and district levels to generate the political will, legislative frameworks, and resource allocation to strengthen and support the social welfare workforce
  • Develop a national advocacy agenda for the social welfare workforce, identifying the roles and responsibilities for government and non-government, national and local stakeholders in efforts to implement the agenda; this includes advocating to emphasize of the work, and for increased financial commitments to the social welfare system
  • Solicit input from the social welfare workforce and the communities that they serve to link the formal and informal practices and system more closely together, and to contribute to national and local advocacy agendas and social welfare workforce strengthening strategies.
  • Identify champions and leaders who are willing and able to work together to advocate for needed change.

Developing the Workforce

Align education and training for the social welfare workforce with effective workforce planning efforts

  • Develop social work pre-service education and in-service training programs to address gaps identified by workforce assessments
  • Use competency based job descriptions to develop appropriate social work education and training programs for specific social welfare workforce cadres
  • Identify ways to ‘fast track’ social welfare education and training to meet urgent and critical needs
  • Ensure information from education programs (i.e. number of expected graduates, what level, gender and home region) is fed into the Human Resource Information System
  • Develop capacity to plan, budget and advocate for needed resources to make improvements to the pre-service education and in-service training system. 

Ensure curricula incorporate both local/indigenous knowledge as well as international best practices for improving the well-being of children and families

  • Conduct periodic curricula reviews by recognized experts as well as local practitioners and develop new curricula, as needed.
  • Promote best practices and curricula that focus on indigenous knowledge and culturally competent methods of practice and that strengthen the capacity of social welfare workers to utilize best practices within their communities (e.g. community-based care)
  • Allow for both standard curricula to enable students to achieve social work qualifications as well as electives to promote innovation and diversity
  • Ensure that curricula recognize the different skill areas of social welfare work (e.g., social case work with the family and directly with children requires a quite different skill set than mobilizing and strengthening community capacity). 

Strengthen faculty and teaching methods

  • Establish competency standards for social work educators and periodically assess their performance against standards
  • Encourage social work education programs to send faculty and professionals for regional and international exchanges; as well as host international faculty in order to learn new perspectives and approaches and promote exchange of ideas and best practices
  • Build capacity for field placements that include field supervision; require internships/field placements for social work students prior to graduation and promote field placements for paraprofessionals. 

Provide broad range of in-service professional development opportunities for workers

  • Organize flexible courses and/or internet or smart phone based courses (where practical) for workers or community based caregivers living in remote areas or unable to leave their employment for full-time study
  • Establish specialized credentials and in-country credentialing systems.
  • Encourage social welfare workers access to additional in-service coursework and test-based credentials in order to achieve advanced credentials
  • Expand access to diploma and degree programs for social welfare workers
  • Facilitate ways to recognize non-formal and on-the-job learning (e.g., by offering competency based assessments)

Supporting the Workforce

Develop or strengthen systems to improve and sustain social service workforce performance

  • Improve mechanisms (including leadership development) for supervising and managing the social service workforce; seek out any special mechanisms that may be needed for community-based caregivers.
  • Create guidelines for formal induction of staff, including formal orientation programs, and peer mentorship from seasoned staff
  • Improve systems for measuring social service workforce effectiveness (e.g., performance evaluations, measuring deliverables based on clear and realistic job descriptions with clear expectations and timeframe, performance feedback, etc.)
  • Solicit input from families, community members and clients on service delivery and quality
  • Provide incentives for high performing social workers and develop and implement performance improvement plans for poor performing workers
  • Develop standard operating procedures for more coordinated and comprehensive services between national and district governments for children and families (e.g. better tracking and documentation of services, referrals, and ongoing support for children and families) 

Develop tools, resources, and initiatives to improve job satisfaction and retention

  • Solicit and implement ideas from social service workers for improving the workplace conditions aimed at enabling them to carry out their responsibilities more effectively
  • Provide the social service workforce with the tools and resources that they require to carry out their jobs to the best of their ability, particularly in under resourced rural settings (e.g. vehicles and fuel, offices, computer, printer, copier, phones or phone cards, etc.)
  • Consult with social service workers and community based care givers to identify ways to acknowledge achievements or incentives and (merit-based) promotions to provide for individuals who stay with organizations for longer periods of time
  • Solicit data from community based care givers about what would motivate them, and implement interventions to the extent possible (e.g. explore possibility of providing stipends to community based care givers for travel and other applicable expenses)
  • Develop viable career ladders for workers and mobilize support for these among employers, funders and other appropriate stakeholders
  • Ensure adherence to International and national labor policies, legislation & regulations for conditions of employment and workplace standards (e.g. salaries, case loads, working conditions, gender discrimination, medical benefits/Insurance plans, etc.)
  • Engage in on-going monitoring to measure progress of job satisfaction and retention interventions and make appropriate changes based on evidence. 

Support professional associations in their efforts to enhance the professional growth and development of the social Service workforce

  • Strengthen professional social work associations where they exist and support the establishment of new ones
  • Encourage networking and mutual support among social service workforce professionals (e.g., communities of practice list serves, electronic job postings, job fairs, social media) 
  • Support ongoing development and updating of association-based professional standards and codes of ethics for the social service workforce
  • Advocate for and encourage adherence to professional standards and ethics for the social welfare workforce
  • Issue position and policy statements in addition to lobbying decision makers on behalf and in support of the social service workforce


The Alliance's online open resource database has a myriad of information and tools related to planning the workforce, developing the workforce and supporting the workforce.