Candidate engagement and encouraging new talent into social care
It is no secret that the care sector faces greater staff retention challenges than many other sectors. The vast majority of care organisations cite staffing levels as one of the biggest challenges, with many experiencing high turnover and a workforce that is not large enough to cover sickness and holidays leading to constant shift juggling.
Getting recruitment right is of course key, but not always straight forward to fix. With this in mind, we have complied a list of 5 top tips to increase candidate engagement and help you gain new talent for your social care business.
- Capitalise on increased interest in the sector
We are rapidly chasing down a year since the first lockdown and the world has changed dramatically in the last 12 months. Since March last year the care sector has really come under a spotlight and workers from other industries such as travel and hospitality have considered a career change. Consider how you can capitalise on this increased interest. Short-term Key Worker Campaigns and alternative offerings work really well. This leads us on to our second tip:
- Consider flexibility in your employment offerings.
This is easily said, and not easily done – but we recommend considering how you can offer greater flexibility as much as possible when it comes to shift patterns. Many of the diverse candidates attracted to social care during the last year will be shut out if there aren’t viable options for them to consider.
Many providers have changed their approach to ‘come and speak to us, tell us when you can work, and we’ll consider it’. Shorter term contracts have also worked well. We have managed several specific Key Worker campaigns – offering candidates a three-month role where they might get involved with carer, domestic, or catering duties. Some Care Assistant roles have been adapted to remove the personal care duties – as an introduction to the sector.
- Make your recruitment process efficient
With supermarkets setting the bar at same day hiring it puts pressure on other sectors to speed up their recruitment process. Due to compliance requirements it’s impossible to match this however, excellent communication is imperative – keep the candidate informed about what is happening to boost engagement levels. Really ensure you process applications for roles as fast as possible – backlogs will decrease your conversion rates. You could also consider starting training with hired candidates during the recruitment process. This has shown to boost candidate engagement whilst waiting for start dates and ensures new starters are well prepared for the role.
With Covid restrictions preventing a lot of Face to Face meetings the recruitment process has become largely digital. Screening, assessing, interviewing, on-boarding, learning and referrals all form part of a totally digitalised process for many providers. This also means getting to offer in single digit days not unusual. Do be sure you don’t lose the human element from your process though. Keep candidate engagement in your mind at all times – How will applicants understand your environment and what the setting is like if they have only engaged with you digitally? We will be holding an event on the 18th March outlining a range of digital recruitment processes and how these impact on care organisations and the recruitment process. You can sign up here.
- Adopt a values based recruitment approach
One of the best selling tools for frontline care recruitment is the fact that experience isn’t always necessary – provided the candidate has the right values to fit in with the organisation. If you are recruiting using values (and your values in particular) then you are more likely to recruit someone that will stay!
- Nurture interest from under-represented groups
Kickstart funding is still available for early talent programmes and is just one example of what can be done to improve on the low level of young people working in adult social care (less than 10% of the workforce is 24 and younger). There are other under-represented groups in the care sector too – men being the one that most organisations are probably aware of. Consider how to attract these under-represented groups with your content on your websites and the messaging in your job adverts. We understand that nurturing interest from under-represented groups may sound like it takes time, but with the right messaging your available roles can be made to be appealing to a wider audience of potential talent.