With recruitment challenges topping the polls of business risks for care providers and unrelenting growth in demand for services, being an in-house recruiter in social care is a tough job. So, we caught up with Neil Eastwood to find out about his newly launched online Recruitment Masterclass course, which is a new resource to support those responsible for finding quality new staff for their care organisations.
DbH: You are best known for your 2017 book, Saving Social Care, so is this the next step on that journey?
NE: Yes, I suppose it is! More and more providers recognise they need a dedicated person responsible for recruitment, but given how fragmented the sector is, it can be an isolated role and so busy that there isn’t time to step out of the office and learn from others. I considered what method would work best to provide on-demand best practice advice direct to this group, who need it the most, and settled on an online course – e-learning I guess you’d call it.
DbH: So, what would I learn if I was a student?
NE: The first thing to say is I knew from the outset this had to be highly practical advice and delivered in short videos (known, apparently, as edu-bites) with very clear learning outcomes. A clearly successful approach to recruiting emerged from all my research around the world and what the course does is take the student on that journey. A transformation if you like.
In terms of content then the goal is to make it easily actionable in such a way that you can make meaningful improvements to elements of your recruitment process very quickly. These methods have done exactly that – for example doubling and even tripling growth, hugely reducing agency staffing spend and lowering vacancies.
The course is split into modules which cover every aspect of finding care staff, such as where to source, how to attract them, improving the candidate experience, selection and interviewing and optimising the recruitment stages.
DbH: How much opportunity is there for a typical care employer to influence their recruitment results and where would you start?
NE: There is a lot of inefficiency in almost every care recruitment operation I have studied. That isn’t meant to be a criticism at all – it is very difficult not to get wrapped up with searching for and processing applications and there is a mind-set that the next training course always needs filling. The particular area that I concentrate on first is to get a picture of the target applicant. This is very important because we should not be trying to hire everyone who shows even slight interest in the job. We must be picky and search for applicants that have the right values for the organisation. The place to start therefore is to examine our current workforce for clues.
DbH: So, you are saying that our current staff hold the answers to who we should go looking for?
NE: Exactly! Who are high performers? Who has stayed over 12 months? I am very interested in why successful care staff came to be in paid care in the first place. It is not always a choice. One common pathway is via family care experience. None of us wanted to be put in the position that we had to care for a loved one – we would want them to be healthy and active – but being a family carer introduces you to the intrinsic rewards of supporting others. That experience, and perhaps contact with paid care staff as part of that role, makes those people much more likely to succeed in an employed role.
That was just one example, but discovering the pathway your colleagues took is valuable, as is understanding which recruitment methods worked for them and what messages they responded to.
DbH: How can employers and recruiters find out more?
NE: The Recruitment Masterclass and a free taster version of the course can be found at www.FindandKeeptheBest.com.