COVID-19: How to reach potential staff from outside the care industry

4 minutes

At Birdie, we’re dedicated to helping home care providers to deliver the best care - to help us reach our goal of improving the lives of 1 million older adults by 2023. Never before has our mission been so important. 

We know that recruitment is a huge challenge for home care agencies during COVID-19, so we recently chatted live with Neil Eastwood, CEO and Founder of Care Friends and James Sage, an employment lawyer at Royds Withy King, all about recruitment in the care industry.

If you missed it, you can see a replay of the entire session below.

The top 5 ways to recruit high quality care workers from outside the care industry during COVID:

  1. Furloughed workers can work in care without being financially penalised. 
  2. Offering flexible work arrangements could be an appealing way to top-up furloughed workers reduced salaries right now.
  3. Make the most of your existing network and ask staff to spread the word.
  4. Referrals are the most effective way to build a high performing team.
  5. Use Facebook to its fullest potential and pay attention to your job ad wording when recruiting online.

In this article, we’ll be looking at recruiting staff from other sectors, and how to reach them.

With a changing working landscape in work and many people becoming furloughed or being unable to work in sectors like retail or hospitality, should this be a pool of candidates that care agencies look to recruit? And how can they reach them?

We asked James Sage what the implications are if someone is currently furloughed… can they apply for and take up a job in care?

James: This was a really good amendment to the initial guidance, that states that someone who has been furloughed can take up another paid job, and it won’t impact their 80% wage entitlement. They will need to check their employment contract, however.

The challenge is in directing those people to apply for the right jobs in care.

Neil, if we can recruit these people, how do we reach them?

Neil: It may be an idea to offer support type roles, like telephone companionship to volunteers who are willing to help if you can reach those people. 

But overall, you should think of recruitment like an onion. Your agency is the core and then in terms of recruitment, you need to move out in concentric layers. Your closest layer is your existing staff, and you should always ask your staff if they want to work more, or pick up more hours first. But you should constantly check with your staff, so look at ways to help them offer their hours if you need to cover shifts. It’s not about exploiting their goodwill, but many people may need more money during this crisis, so it’s best to start with the staff you have. 

The next layer is staff who were working for you previously. If they are still working in care, there is a caveat that as a whole it won’t help the industry to simply move people from one agency to another. We should be looking at reaching out to bring more people into the sector from outside. 

Where did care workers come from before COVID-19?

This chart shows us that hospitality and retail typically make up over a quarter of all care sector intake. But beyond that, what’s important to consider is that  nowadays, a lot more people will have experience of caring for people. And once you have cared for a loved one, you experience the intrinsic rewards of care - so we might see the impacts of that from sectors beyond those that typically make up the intake. 

When it comes to reaching those people, start by asking your staff. They’ll have friends, and know people who have been furloughed or are out of work, and they’ll be able to vouch for their work ethic and values. So it’s a good idea to lean on your staff to bring in the right people. 

We asked care managers to tell us where their highest performing care workers came from, in terms of recruitment source. 

Employee referral and word of mouth, community based activities, are really the bedrock of great recruitment for home care industries. 

In terms of platforms, there are two distinct groups of candidates - active job seekers and passive candidates. 

Your job boards will help you focus on the active job seekers, and here you’ll need to really focus on your wording and making sure your adverts are relevant and highlight the important things first and foremost. 

We know that people often apply for lots of jobs at any one time, and may not read the advert in full, so you could end up with a lot of applicants who aren’t the right fit - for example they don’t have a car, or don’t have specific training. If you have requirements, make sure these are highlighted and one of the first things your applicants will read, to help you get only the right candidates. 

Check out the interview I did with Lee Davis - (video), he’s done a lot of work on how to make your job board adverts work really well, so that’s a great place to start. 

Facebook is also a great choice, and paid advertising is the way to go there. We cannot do face to face community outreach as before, so digital media is the next avenue to explore. Facebook is a great way of reaching out to the community, although you need to make sure that your adverts are really good, and really relevant.

You’ll need to remember that Facebook may attract more passive candidates however, so you’ll need to think about how you structure your adverts for an audience that isn’t actively looking for a job. If you need more help with Facebook, there are some really useful resources, like this one from Birdie. 

When it comes to passive applicants from outside the care sector, employee referrals and Facebook are a great way to target these people. 

Follow Neil/Care Friends

Facebook: /CareFriendsApp

LinkedIn: neil-eastwood-334344

Twitter: @StickyNeil


Follow Birdie

Facebook: birdiecare

LinkedIn: /birdiecare

Twitter: @birdiecare

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