During the first wave of coronavirus care providers were reporting that up to 25% of their workforce were absent at any one time. Now we’re dealing with a second wave whilst still trying to provide care in the midst of a severe shortage of senior care workers. Meanwhile the front line care workers who worked so hard during the first wave are, like the NHS staff, feeling worn out from the ongoing struggle.
So, how can care managers recruit successfully for the winter period? The problems boil down to 3 key areas:
- Covering shifts at the last minute
- Attracting new people as care assistants (and keeping them)
- Protecting senior staff from exhaustion and burn-out
In this blog the Swarme team offers 5 ways to optimise recruiting for care during the COVID second wave.
1. Person-Centred Recruitment?
Set shifts are very useful for employers, because they make their job easier. But many care workers struggle with them. Lots of families are now juggling a complex weave of commitments to school, gig economy jobs, and family care. None of these have been made any easier by coronavirus. An 8 hour shift is now impossible for many care workers who can no longer rely on grandparents to look after the grandchildren.
Many public sector workplaces are having to move away from ‘blocks’ of work to a more adaptable system. Asking carers what hours they can do is a major shift in emphasis for employers. But the flexibility may encourage new – and experienced – workers into a sector that can struggle to offer benefits to staff.
2. Offer Valuable Training
Covid-19 has made many highly-skilled employees redundant. Many of them have not only lost their job, they’ve also lost a career path. The care sector needs short term cover, but it can also offer long term rewarding careers to good communicators, excellent team players, and people with care experience in their own family. Make sure that your training programme has clear pathways for new joiners – and tell them how they can make use of the resources on offer.
3. A Work Culture That Cares
Care work becomes attractive when it differentiates itself from the ‘gig economy’. For many care givers, like teachers and nurses, care is a vocation that provides meaningful work. Advertising the life-changing possibilities of caring for others adds important context to people looking for employment. Research carried out by Slater & Gordon in May 2020, found that as many as 41% of people asked were looking for looking for more meaningful work.
4. A Range of Interview Techniques
Many care organisations are now holding socially distanced interviews by Zoom. Whilst this solves one problem, however, it could be causing others anxiety. Many people find that communicating via a screen problematic. If it’s possible to offer a range of ways to interview, such as telephone, in-person, or video, you may find a greater take-up. Again, it’s about demonstrating the inclusive nature of your organisation.
5. Checking in on Care Givers
Care givers tend to keep giving, until they break. So, during these difficult times, it’s worth checking in with employees regularly – even if they look like they’re coping. It’s also worth reminding your care staff that acknowledging exhaustion and stress is a sign of strength, rather than weakness.
Swarme is a new approach to care which has as its goal healthy incentives for everyone involved, and an enhancement of the caring experience. Our online platform is designed around technology in order to empower carers and recruiters to work more efficiently and effectively. Carers can fit work around already busy lives and set rates of pay. Recruiters can select the carer that meets their requirements and choose how much to pay for their services.
If you would like to know more about how Swarme works, take a look at swarme.co.uk, or call us on 0782 577 4700