Last week’s blog focused on the new Immigration Act which will become law on 1st January 2021 and its potential impact on the adult social care market. As I hinted last week, my intention is always to provide continued support to the sector, rather than stirring up any kind of panic in people! Whilst we cannot get away from the fact that the supply of overseas care workers is going to become severely disrupted early next year, we can look at the positives on how care organisations can start to build a strategy to counter this. Let’s first remind ourselves of the four essential staffing stages – Recruitment, Induction, Training, Retention.
Taking each stage in turn, then, we begin this week with Recruitment. Easy enough a process, you might be thinking….but is it? In its ‘State of Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England’ report from October 2019, Skills for Care estimates that 7.8% of roles were vacant last year in England – that’s 122,000 jobs at any one time. And, from anecdotal evidence we’ve collected over the years, getting potential recruits to even turn up for interview can be a challenge in itself, which is extremely frustrating and time-wasting for you as the potential employer.
There are, nonetheless, several things you can do to help applicants show up for the interview:
Be flexible with interview timing – if the candidate is currently working, you may then need to offer times that are ‘after hours’ to suit them, a really useful tip. The other side of that ‘bargain’ though will be to ask them to contact you, should they need to reschedule.
Be friendly and helpful – don’t forget that this process is two-way; candidates are checking your organisation out as much as you are them! Make it appealing for them to want to work for you. And, if they don’t have any previous care experience for an entry-level role, then they could well be feeling a bit anxious. Why not send them a link to our Care Challenge Quiz which gives them a real flavour of what to expect in a care role ahead of the interview? Then, once they have confirmed that they have done this, give them a quick call to check if it’s something they still want to pursue. As we know, a career in care is not for everyone.
Offer a shadow shift – working alongside an experienced care worker for a period of time will make sure they are exposed to the challenges and rewards of working in social care. It will save you a lot of investment in time and money finding out they are not suitable before you employ them.
Help the candidate to be organised – whilst you obviously want to hire people who are already organised and professional, they may be juggling a number of opportunities at different stages. Make sure, then, that the candidate knows exactly where to go, how to get there, what the interview will entail, what time it is, where to meet, what they might need to bring with them (copies of their CV and certificates, perhaps), etc. It might also be a good idea to give the candidate a quick call 24 hours before the interview, as a friendly reminder and to check it is still their intention to come.
Value the knowledge of experienced applicants – one of the things we have seen over the years is that if you recruit someone with experience, then you shouldn’t need to have them repeat the Care Certificate (or any other of the mandatory courses). If you have access to Click, our online learning, assessment and competence recording system, you can build a rapid and robust evidence portfolio with them, saving loads of time and money, by using our interview assessment module on the Care Certificate.
Whilst the above might seem a little over-the-top, or something that you might not deem absolutely necessary, you will at least know that you’ve played your part to encourage the first part of this process. You will also come across as an engaged and interested potential employer and avoid wasting time with candidates who are unlikely to progress.
We also know that, in order to attract younger care workers to either the sector or to your particular roles, it’s a good idea to engage such candidates via digital technology, perhaps through a phone app – anything that makes it easy or comfortable to apply for the job – plus the use of online recruitment sites such as Indeed, which offer free, basic services. You can find out more here.
Next week, the focus is on Induction – an often-neglected, yet vital, part of the staffing process.