Home Opinion Breaking the barriers to recruitment

Breaking the barriers to recruitment

by Lisa Carr

Raina Summerson, CEO, Agincare Group

It’s no secret that there’s an acute recruitment crisis across the country, especially in the health and social care sector.

Of course, this is nothing new, and an issue even before the current crisis came to a head with the impact of Covid and Brexit.

Alongside many others in the sector, we’ve been crying out for social care reform for many years, with long-term funding and a workforce strategy remaining absolutely crucial for our teams, and ultimately everyone they support and care for.

It’s great to see the launch of the Government’s new ‘Made to Care’ recruitment campaign and allocation of funding for workforce development. However, these are short term and miniscule in comparison to amount of money being pumped into the NHS, with the continued lack of parity in pay, terms and conditions still not being addressed. We need much more change to refresh, renew and rejuvenate the social care workforce in the long term.

Culture is important

Whilst we’ll carry on knocking on the door of Government for fundamental change, we are determined to make working for Agincare absolutely the best experience, and tackle the recruitment challenge head on.

Our organisation’s entrepreneurial and innovative culture has helped us adapt and prosper for 35 years. Agincare remains family-run, independent and financially sustainable. We have  the stature and agility to adapt to challenges, without the added influence of external funders.

Start at the beginning

Over the past year we have completely reviewed our workforce programme, investing more and more into our teams.

One of the key decisions we made in response to Covid was to invest in and enhance our internal communications and engagement, and we’re benefiting as a result.

We’ve listened and learnt from our people, and from those in the job marketplace, to challenge our assumptions and identify key motivators, barriers and stereotypes regarding a career in care.

Our new people plan, based on those findings, spearheads real change into how Agincare recruits, rewards and looks after its people.

We aim to not only bring more people to us, but further build a great workplace experience for every team member in an environment where they can flourish, and build a career.

That includes reinventing our candidate journey to ensure the process is quick, easy and as user-friendly as possible from start to finish.

Our findings also informed a major ‘You care, so do we’ care recruitment marketing campaign nationwide.

It recognises that whatever their background, our care workers all have the heart to care, and highlights our promise to care, respect and look after them in turn.  It aims to break down barriers and stereotypes, by raising awareness of what working in care, is about providing an attractive alternative to other sectors.

Naturally, our incredible care workers were showcased front and central when it came to promoting the campaign. We re-invented our recruitment website with new messaging and design, alongside a seamless experience for applicants.

Engaging promotional content continues to deliver key messaging to identified audiences across online and offline channels to drive applications.

What’s next?

We have an absolute commitment to constantly review and enhance our recruitment, retention and well-being offer to potential candidates and our existing team members.

We’ll take advantage of developments in digital and integrated care systems to support and enable well rewarded career options and make sure, as far as is possible, that Agincare is the employer of choice, offering great career opportunities.

However, the key remains real workforce reform and genuine respect for a career in care that is as rewarding in the pocket as it is in the heart.

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