Which Models of Supervision Help Retain Staff? Findings From Australia’s Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Workforces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The contribution professional supervision makes to quality services, staff satisfaction, and retention is well recognised across social work and human service settings. Yet frequent supervision is difficult to provide where organisational resources are limited and urgent client-related tasks must take priority. In these contexts, group-based supervision may offer an alternative to traditional individual approaches, yet its impacts have been infrequently researched. Using survey data (n = 917), we examine the prevalence of individual and group-based supervision among practitioners delivering domestic and family violence and sexual assault services (DFVSA), and associations these forms of supervision have with staff retention. While individual supervision remains most common, one in eight practitioners report that they never receive it. Multivariate analysis indicates frequent individual supervision is most effective for retaining practitioners. This provides empirical support for prioritising individual supervision within strategies for promoting workforce sustainability and service quality in DFVSA and other social service settings. IMPLICATIONS Individual supervision remains more common than group-based approaches in domestic and family violence and sexual assault services. Workplaces should consider prioritising individual supervision over group supervision when attempting to improve practitioner retention. Managers should adopt a critical stance and consider evidence when assessing the implications of adopting group-based approaches to supervision.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Social Work
Early online date30 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Domestic and Family Violence
  • Retention
  • Sexual Assault
  • Supervision
  • Workforce

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