Working in homecare can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling career, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges. It is, therefore, very important to make sure you are recruiting the right people for the job.
To offer high-quality homecare a company needs compassionate, thoughtful and personable individuals who value helping people to maintain their independence by living at home. To recruit these individuals, it is important to constantly evaluate existing recruitment processes, record what works and what doesn’t, and reflect on the type of person you want to attract. If you get these things right, you have every chance of recruiting and retaining a professional and committed team that is well-prepared to deliver Outstanding homecare.
Treat applicants well
When it comes to recruitment best practice in homecare, one of my biggest pieces of advice is to make sure that you treat your applicants well, offering support and clear communication throughout the process.
For this reason, recruitment is about so much more than just posting adverts in local papers and on social media; excellent recruitment is about investing time and resources in the process to make each prospective team member feel valued and important. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, by offering candidates a single point of contact throughout the process and making sure that you communicate clearly and respond in good time, so that you don’t lose great candidates.
Review your procedures and spot patterns
While it is vital to invest time, money and resources in recruiting great homecare staff, it is also important to collect information, spot patterns and keep a critical eye on your recruitment procedures. This can help you to avoid wasting money and ensure you are channelling resources where they are most effectively deployed.
Finding out how you can use your resources effectively is a simple task if you make an effort to collect information over a long period of time and analyse the data to spot trends. One good way to do this is to monitor your advertising and find out which days, times and seasons of the year bring in the best response rate and value for money. For example, one of our Bluebird Care franchises has collected their data so carefully over the last few years that they now only advertise three days a week, when they know their money will be mostly wisely invested.
Another great tip is to ask applicants where they heard about the job opportunity; this can help identify which forms of advertising are most effective and maximise your return on investment.
Promote key messages and branding consistently
When thinking about how to improve your recruitment strategy, it is also important to make sure your adverts and recruitment materials accurately mirror your organisation’s voice. By making sure your adverts fit with your current branding and using the right key messaging, you will attract a person that is not only a great homecare assistant, but also a good fit with your organisation’s values and mission statement.
To do this, your job advert needs to be honest and reflect the way you operate. For example, Bluebird Care has a nationwide recruitment campaign, which is running from May to August, called the #MakeADifference Campaign. It has been carefully designed around the values and qualities we look for in our employees. Campaigns like this have proven to be a successful way to attract team members who share our commitment and passion for providing high-quality care to people in their own homes, and who are proud to work in the sector.
You’ve recruited, now retain
Recruitment is not just about getting the right people in the door. It is also vital to remember that after investing in recruiting and training team members, it is really important that you keep them.
I have found that offering a designated support programme for new recruits can be valuable and can boost retention rates. For example, once an individual is hired, offer them a mentor, who is a more experienced member of the team but who works in the same role. The mentor can offer guidance, support and share their own personal experiences. These types of initiatives are easy to implement, relatively inexpensive and can benefit both the mentee from having additional support and the mentor who is likely to have their morale boosted and feel valued by the responsibility you have given them.
To boost retention and ensure staff feel valued, consider implementing a programme which acknowledges the efforts of your staff and offers rewards which show your appreciation for their hard work. For example, run a rewards programme which gives small gifts or acknowledgments to employees who go above and beyond, such as responding to calls after hours, or stepping in to help a colleague. In my experience, these schemes can help to ensure every employee feels valued.
Depending on the size of your organisation, you may consider running an awards or other recognition programme where employees can nominate team members that have made an exceptional contribution to their business. Nominees can be collected from all levels of the business and then celebrated. You could invite them to annual business events to talk about their achievements, and enable the business to offer thanks for all their hard work. If this is likely to make the individual uncomfortable, you could offer thanks in more discreet, one-to-one ways that make them feel valued and appreciated for their hard work.
Another really important way to keep hold of great employees is to put in place opportunities for continuous professional development (CPD). This is important because working in homecare can be a great career with lots of development opportunities. For example, care assistants may get the chance to become registered managers in a relatively short period of time with the right support and opportunities, and many have done so successfully. Additionally, we run a ‘Lead to Succeed’ scheme, which is a carefully designed programme that helps our care assistants to develop the management and soft skills they need to progress through their career.
If you follow these simple tips, including taking the time to review your recruitment processes, keeping a note of what works well and making sure your recruitment materials highlight the compassionate, kind and committed person you are looking to hire, you can ensure that you recruit and retain outstanding team members who share your vision of enabling people to live well in their own homes.
Chloe Mahtani is Recruitment Manager at Bluebird Care. Email: ChloeMahtani@bluebirdcare.co.uk Twitter: @BluebirdCare
Many of these tips for homecare recruitment and retention can also be applied to the wider care sector. Do you have any successful recruitment and retention processes? Share your top tips in the comments section below, where you can also feedback on this article.