Home Products and Services Over £2 million paid out to care workers since Care Friends recruitment app launch

Over £2 million paid out to care workers since Care Friends recruitment app launch

by Lisa Carr

Social care employee referral app Care Friends is celebrating its two-year anniversary, having paid out over £2 million to care workers across the country since its launch.

Care Friends was launched in partnership with Skills for Care on June 16, 2020, providing a solution to social care employers’ recruitment and retention challenges amid an ongoing workforce crisis. 

The app works as a digital employee referral system, allowing existing social care workers to recommend friends for jobs in their organisation. For every referral made where the suggested candidate expresses interest in a role, the referrer earns points which can then be cashed in, with every point equating to £1 in value.

Users of the app can also earn discretionary awards from their employers as a reward and recognition too, for example to say thank you for good work or to honour key tenure and career milestones. 

Care Friends is proving to offer a much-needed incentive for care workers to stay in their roles at a time when research by Skills for Care is showing that vacancy rates across the sector are continuing to rise, with a current rate of 10.3%, which is higher than pre-covid levels.

The app is helping to recruit new people into the care sector, with 52,000 candidates generated by 36,000 users over the last two years.

Notably, 48% of those candidates have never worked in a paid care role before, versus 37% nationally, so recruitment through Care Friends is contributing to growing workforce capacity. 

Employers using Care Friends have reported a much higher quality of applicant via the app as they have been handpicked for their values by a member of the employer’s current team.

Samir Patel, Managing Director of Oaklands Rest Home in Hampshire explained:

“Care Friends is delivering great results for us. The app’s been the biggest piece of solving our recruitment and retention puzzle.”  

And care workers are just as enthusiastic about using the app to help with recruitment: 

Amelia Burbridge, care worker at Bluebird Care, North Hampshire & West Berkshire, said:

“I love the Care Friends app. It’s simple, straightforward and makes sense. Earning referral and bonus pointsyou can cash in at any point is a real boost, and the points leaderboard really spurs you on to do more.” 

The Care Friends app had 40 pilot clients at the time of its launch, but two years on it has more than 550 employers on board, including national home care provider Bluebird Care, and has expanded to Ireland and Australia. 

Neil Eastwood, founder and CEO of Care Friends, said: 

“Since we launched the app with Skills for Care in June 2020, the recruitment crisis in social care has worsened dramatically and employers have seen applications from go-to sourcing channels like internet job boards and migrant labour, decline rapidly.

“So, more than ever, activating large numbers of our 1.5M workforce as recruiters represents an exciting opportunity to address this deficit, not only by bringing in high volumes of new entrants to the sector hand-picked for their values and sold on the role by a trusted source, but also redirecting recruitment spend into the pockets of our care workers to help them manage rising living costs.”

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