Policy / Immigration

New immigration rules: How can your home care agency get prepared?

With new immigration rules coming into place in early 2021, we’re discussing what they mean for home care agencies and how you can get prepared.

The government announced plans last week to change the way the UK handles immigration from non-skilled workers from overseas. The changes were met with resistance from the care sector, as the industry relies on migrant workers to bridge the gap in staff shortages. The new immigration policy statement outlines plans for a new points-based system, designed to cut the number of low-skilled migrants entering Britain from the beginning of next year but aims to make it easier for higher-skilled workers to get UK visas.


What happens now?

Employers have until January 1, 2021, to meet the requirements and ensure their staff have the right to work in the UK.


While EU nationals who currently live and work in the UK can stay in the country after December 31st 2020, experts say the new rules would make it impossible for most low-skilled EU migrants to come to the UK after that date. The government estimates that “70% of the existing EU workforce would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker route.”


What can you do?

In the short-term, you should aim to ensure that every employee who is not a British national yet, has the right to live and work in the UK. Protecting your current workforce and supporting them means they are more likely to stay working for you for longer.


With less EU workers able to fill gaps in the UK, home care agencies should look at ways to make a career in care more attractive. With tight budgets this means looking at holistic measures, like improving the reputation of your care agency to encourage care staff to join your business. 


Here at Birdie, we build technology designed to make your care management more efficient and help you improve the quality of your care. Our partner agencies have told us that having the right system in place is a great way to make their agency more attractive to potential candidates. But we also know that attracting great care professionals is hard work and needs to go beyond the care management system you’re using. At Birdie, we want to make sure that all of our partners are set for success, so read on for some top tips on how to make sure your agency is ready for the upcoming changes.  


“With the fight for talent coming, agencies will need to think on what makes them the most attractive and where to hire the best carers candidates”

Max Parmentier, CEO and Founder of Birdie

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How to find the best care staff?

With less people to fill care vacancies in 2021, a greater fight for talent is on the horizon. This means that home care providers must refine their recruitment strategy and target candidates through all possible channels with minimum effort involved. At Birdie, we have surveyed dozens of agencies to grasp what were the best ways to find good candidates and how to recruit them. All of our findings can be found in our free recruitment eBook, which you can download here, but here’s a quick summary of the actions you should be taking to ensure your talent pool is wide enough.


Finding your audience requires spending a little bit of time mapping your ideal candidate to the places they're likely to be, both on and offline. Social media is a great place to start, but it's not the only place you should be looking to advertise - both online and offline methods can be just

as successful.


Consider:

  • Recruitment fairs
  • Referral schemes
  • Job boards online
  • Local magazines 
  • Local job boards
  • Social media


If you’re not sure where to start, try asking your staff the following questions to gain some insight into the types of places they find information/have searched for jobs themselves.


Some good starting questions are:

  • Which social media sites do you use most?
  • Are you involved in any online communities?
  • Where do you get news and information?
  • How did you find this job? Where is the first place you would look for a job in care today?
  • When you’re not working, what do you do?
  • Where are you most likely to spend your time online? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?
  • Where do you find information about the care industry or share information with colleagues?


When it comes to recruiting on social media, you’ll need to consider each platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) as a different channel and use different methods for each. Each platform has different options for advertising and promoting too; we’ve detailed exactly how to use each one in our free recruitment eBook which you can download here. 


How do I make my agency an attractive place to work?


To ensure your agency is attractive to potential candidates you’ll want to start putting initiatives in place that help make your business a great place to work. Consider:


  • Learning and development opportunities: Can you encourage your staff to learn new skills and support them?
  • Employee buddy systems: Home care roles can be incredibly isolated, so putting measures in place to ensure regular interaction from their first day is a great way to foster communication.
  • Reward and achievement programmes: A simple system, like ‘employee of the month’ or a shared story of success weekly via your communication channel (email or WhatsApp, for example) can be a great way to motivate your staff and keep them involved.
  • Team meetings: Involving all your staff in decision making helps them to feel part of your business, and can keep them loyal for longer. It also shows you’re willing to listen to their problems and concerns. 
  • Reviews and recommendations: Can you set up a TrustPilot page, or a GlassDoor profile and ask your employees to provide feedback?
  • Reduce paperwork: Implement a software system that reduces risk for carers and makes it easier to do their job. With fewer candidates in the market, the competition for jobs will be high, so you need to ensure that your home care agency is ahead of the trend. 


Research by Skills for Care has shown that continuous learning opportunities, having care professionals aligned with the values of an agency and acknowledging achievements amongst care professionals are the best ways to keep them engaged and working for you. So not only will you be making your agency more attractive to potential candidates, you’ll also keep your current workforce loyal.


Understanding employer branding


Another important element is how you advertise what you do. It’s called employer branding and it works! The great news is that employer branding isn’t just for big companies - and it’s not expensive at all. It requires a little bit of planning and a small amount of time to maintain, but you’ll reap the rewards when it comes to hiring.


Employer branding is about packaging your agency as a great place to work and it covers everything from your logo to your brand values and the reputation of your brand on and offline. As with all branding, crafting a strong employer brand is about good storytelling. It’s about how you want your organization to be perceived in the marketplace, using specific messaging to help attract the kind of prospects you’re looking for.



How to create a great brand?

  • Ensure you have a consistent logo and website (it’s the first thing potential candidates will see when they’re looking for jobs)
  • Implement some brand values and circulate them to your team - it’ll help keep your brand focused and on track
  • Use social media to convey brand messages (like photos of your agency, staff and the things you do)
  • Gather quotes and testimonials from your staff and customers and display them your website 
  • Consider writing a blog, or having a news board where you can post updates on your website
  • Create initiatives like ‘carer of the month’ and share this good news on your social media accounts and internally to your staff
  • Think beyond just the recruitment phase and put an on-boarding plan in place that helps your new employees to settle and get a feel for your business and values



How can software help?

Implementing a software system like Birdie is one way to make your agency more attractive to potential candidates and help keep them loyal. With Birdie, your staff are fully supported in their day-to-day roles with access to all the information they need, right from their smartphones.


Using Birdie, you can demonstrate to potential carers how modern and innovative your care agency is and that you are willing to invest in both your agency and care professionals in order to enable them to deliver the best possible care.


“Many of the care workers we talk to remind us how isolated they feel and how administrative the job can be. Creating more bonds within the agency and reducing time on admin with less paper thanks to technology can really help.”

Max Parmentier, CEO and Founder of Birdie


With a care management system in place, your staff could save 2.5 hours a week on writing paper notes, which is a huge benefit. With everything on their smartphone and an easy way to log medication, the risk of error is reduced, which means your staff can be more confident at every visit.

These small benefits add up; if your care professionals are happy, confident and can do their job with ease, they're far more likely to stay with your agency than move to a different business that still uses paper.


At Birdie, we want to make sure every elderly adult has the support to live a healthy life in their own home. If you’re struggling to recruit the right staff, or you’re worried about the future of your business, why not talk to us and see how we could help?


Arrange a demo with one of our experts here.