Tips from BelleVie Care on recruiting remotely during COVID-19

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 Trudie Fell of BelleVie Care all about best practices in the care industry.

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

In this article, we’ll be highlighting some top tips from Trudie on addressing recruitment challenges during COVID-19.

Top tips for recruiting during COVID-19

  1. Make sure that no matter where your staff come from, they have the right values
  2. Communicate with families about the safety of working in care and share your processes and safety protocols to reduce dropouts due to family pressures
  3. Use e-learning and remote training with tools like Zoom
  4. Consider shortening the lifespan of remote training courses, and complete full face to face training after the lockdown restrictions are lifted

When it comes to recruitment, what are the biggest challenges during COVID-19?

Trudie: We have actually seen an increase in applications, which is likely linked to people in other sectors losing their jobs as a result of COVID-19. We are very keen to recruit people from a non-care background and train them, as long as they have the right values.

We realised pretty early on that we would need to recruit from areas outside care. We learnt from Wellbeing Teams, who we partnered with last year, that 70% of their recruits are from a non-care background, as they found it easier to work in a self-managing team. 

A challenge we have seen is that we have had several good people go a long way in process and then have dropped out due to families not wanting them to be out working and delivering personal care at this time, due to the risk. That’s our biggest challenge.

We’re proud of our training and investment in people, but because our training costs are high, we want to employ people who will stay with us, not just those who want work during Coronavirus. 

I think the answer for all of us, is to look outside care. Jobs are being automated all over the place and there are amazing people who are caring and compassionate. If they have those innate abilities, let’s show them how worthwhile this job is.

Let’s tell a different story to the one that’s painted in the press, let’s tell a different story, the real story, about how we put smiles on people’s faces every day. Let’s use that to recruit people. That’s how we solve the care crisis and how we support our ageing population. 

How do you provide training from someone coming from retail for example? Can you train online or do they have to be hands on?

Before coronavirus we did a mixture of face to face and online training. The face to face was really important, because typically that’s around your behaviours, how you’d react in scenarios, both from providing great care but also in working in a self managing team because you’re expected to be proactive and take responsibility for resolving problems. So we also have a suite of e-learning courses and we have extended these. We have hosted video calls with external trainers, using Zoom and the breakout rooms in Zoom. We’ve combined these with standard e-learning courses. 

If you had asked me a few months ago whether we could recruit and train a whole team of six remotely, I’m not sure I would have said that it is possible. But it is possible. We have done it.

How do you do your moving and handling and first aid training online?

That’s a tricky one. We have found some e-learning courses on moving and handling. We have kept in place our shadowing programme. If someone has come from a retail background for example and has only completed e-learning, that face to face element is really important. As shadowing is considered ‘work’ we have been able to continue with this and ensure that people are getting adequate training, and pay them fairly.

First Aid training is also a good one to cover as it is a mandatory requirement for all of our staff. What we have decided to do is, once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, then we will do a big group face to face course so they can practice CPR on a dummy. We have also changed the expiry dates for e-learning courses. So if someone has done an e-learning course, their training will expire sooner than the traditional three years, which is a way to mitigate the risks where an online training course may not deliver quite everything. But it is still better than nothing. 


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