The recruitment crisis in social care affects us all. While there have been many articles written about recruitment and retention, with the crisis showing no sign of letting up, I look at the current recruitment trends and how we can survive and thrive despite the challenges in the employment market.
Showcase your company culture
People no longer want to have a job that just pays the bills, they want to work for organisations that align with their own values and beliefs. Your team will feel passionate about the work you do if you invest in and highlight your company culture.
- Be transparent about your values and culture. Showcase this through posts on social media or in a dedicated section on your website. Perhaps you prioritise wellbeing – make sure you shout about how you do this and the perks you offer that other companies don’t.
- Engage in local community events – you could sponsor the local football team, a community event or support a local charity. This showcases your social responsibility and community engagement.
- Focus on what we all do best - delivering high-quality care. Highlight the work you do on social media, in recruitment literature or by shouting out your team's hard work. This promotes your service and builds a positive relationship within the local community - evidencing your values of compassion, dignity and respect.
Career and development opportunities
Job seekers want to know there will be a chance to progress within their careers. Make sure you have a clear career pathway development and opportunities for training.
- Ask your current team for testimonials about their progression and share these on social media and on your website. Build a careers folder to show people during interviews. Is there a member of your team that lobes being on camera? Ask them to do a video about their journey or invite them to sit in on an interview and tell the candidate about it.
- With your employees’ consent, utilise their career milestones on social media. For example, shout them out for passing their probation, share photos with a certificate for a qualification they have obtained and celebrate promotions.
Utilise digital resources
The world is digital, so make sure you are too!
- Introduce video interviews for candidates who are already in employment and may struggle with the normal interview times you offer. This reduces travel time and expenses and saves time for both you and the candidate.
- Get on social media. You can use this to showcase your service and what you have to offer. Social media is great for marketing campaigns, recruitment campaigns, sharing job adverts, engaging with the community and so much more.
- Switch to online assessments for psychometric tests, numeracy and literacy tests.
- Post on online job boards and amplify your reach when you're looking for staff.
- Make use of applicant tracking systems - this gives you oversight over everyone who's applied to your service.
- Attend virtual careers fairs and shout about the work you do.
- Make use of virtual reality training.
Pay and Benefits
An increase in the hourly rate/salary is not the golden ticket. If you don’t support people, they will still leave, but pay is an important factor for job seekers.
Ensure you pay fairly
- Undertake a gender pay gap review and published this on your website.
Encourage a work-life balance and showcase this through:
- Not phoning the same people to pick up overtime/cover shifts.
- Having set rotas so staff know what their shifts are or have a month’s worth of rotas set out so people can plan their personal life.
- Offer flexible working – shorter shifts, various contracted hours, remote working etc.
- Encourage breaks and time off.
Focus on employee wellbeing
I don’t need to tell anyone about the importance of wellbeing and I know many providers have already increased their offering.
- Regular check-ins.
- Provide access to mental health resources such as an Employee Assistance Programme and know local mental health services that can support them. Incorporate wellness programmes – this could be for staff, the people you support and relatives.
- Foster a supportive culture.
- Recognise and reward employee contributions with bonuses, promotions and public recognition.
- Provide ergonomic workstations for office-based staff.
- Offer flexible working for office-based roles.
- Review your offerings - can you offer an enhanced pension plan, a private medical plan or increased annual leave entitlement? Can any of these be extended to the family of the employee?
Focus on diversity, equality and inclusion
There has rightly been a growing focus on diversity, quality and inclusion and studies show that job seekers increasingly search for organisations that prioritise this. Make sure you’re doing the work to create an inclusive workplace.
Ask your current team
Ask your current team these three questions to understand why they were drawn to your organisation and if the culture you've created is working for them.
- What made them apply for a job with you? Was it your social media, word of mouth, your website, the pay and benefits you offered, or your presence in the community with the people you support? Capture their feedback and do more of this.
- What makes you stay working for the company? Put this feedback into job adverts as quotes and on social media.
- What could we do better? Use this feedback to fuel your action plan
Recruitment is critical for all providers, so getting it right is key. Make sure you track any change you make and the applications you receive to see what is working and what is not. Remember, be adventurous as it will help you stand out in the crowd!