The Right Kind of People

Providing not only continuity of care, but thoughtful, compassionate and person-centered care is the key to improving the lives of people with dementia. And it can have a huge impact on CQC ratings too. Recruitment expert Neil Eastwood shares his secrets of how to hire

At the core of any Outstanding-rated care or nursing home will be a well-chosen, valued and motivated workforce. The issue of quality staff dominates surveys of residents and their families, and will be certain to take up a large portion of a registered manager’s time and attention.

But for most managers I speak to, their entire workforce strategy is threatened by the increasing challenges of recruitment – finding enough new staff of the right quality.

And, while there will always be challenges, there are some things you can do during the recruitment process that can really help find and attract great members of staff.

Here are my top three tips:

Widen Your Net

We have become lazy recruiters. The convenience of online job boards and the increasing pressures on a manager’s time have seen to that. But research tells us that the quality of candidates from an online source will be typically much poorer, than those who are found through word-of-mouth and community outreach. (As an example you can expect 14 per cent staff that applied via an online job board to be with you after three years compared to almost 50 per cent of those who were recommended by a friend.)

  • Promote a refer-a-friend scheme regularly to staff, celebrate successes publicly and, importantly, ask applicants for referrals too
  • Contact leavers you were sorry to lose. In tests, 30 per cent will return within six months of being approached
  • Put the word out to residents’ families. About half of residents will have family within ten miles of your home. Who do they know?
  • Seek out those with family care experience, those who give their time to the community and active retirees with time on their hands. Often these groups will not be found on an online job board

Use Technology

Recruiters are now experiencing high levels of no-shows to interview as well as much wasted time trying to reach elusive applicants by phone. This is disruptive and demoralising. More and more care providers are turning to technology, in the form of online screening tools (such as ours, PeopleClues), which identifies the suitability and safeguarding risk of applicants, before you ever meet them.

This helps prioritise which candidates to fast-track and dramatically reduces no-shows. Surrey-based care home operator Beritaz Care has used PeopleClues for almost three years. As business support manager Janka Siskova-Sabolova told me: “The ability to measure the risk of an applicant’s counter-productive behaviour has helped us feel much more confident about who we take on.”

Think About Candidate Experience

Care homes compete with retail and hospitality employers for the same candidates. Those two sectors are well-practised in the importance of customer service and regularly use those skills in their recruitment process, something social care recruiters often overlook. It is essential that applicants are responded to promptly, feel valued, listened to and welcomed each time they have contact with your home. Too often candidates can wait days for their application to be acknowledged or feel rushed in a busy care home when they come for interview.

By implementing these changes Registered Managers will be well on the way to improving their recruitment results, reducing their agency staffing bills and maximising their chances of an Outstanding CQC rating.

Neil Eastwood is an international speaker on recruitment and retention of frontline care staff and founder of Sticky People.