Recruitment Strategy and user involvement
The matching of staff to the person they would be supporting is a crucial part of our ethos. This relationship helps define the success of the support provided and ultimately how effective we will be as an organisation in meeting their goals.
To achieve a good match, we begin by looking at what the person wants from their support and staff member. For example, to be active and go swimming, to be softly spoken, to be talkative etc, and build this into the job advert. This gives prospective people the opportunity to select or de-select themselves from the role at the very beginning based on what they are likely to be doing within the role. We recognise that even the best support workers will not be good matches for everyone. A talkative and very active staff member is likely to grate on someone who prefers people to be calm and reflective around them, that’s just human nature!!
Once someone applies, we set up interviews at our office involving Managers who know the person needing support well. Once we have interviewed a prospective employee and think they could be a good match, we would set up a 2nd stage interview with the person they are due to support and / or their family. Only if this goes well, would a job offer be made and would they be appointed. If the 2nd interview isn’t successful, we would consider other people that they may be a better match with or if this isn’t possible, their application would be unsuccessful.
This approach has worked extremely well for us for over 10 years. As you get to know people requiring support better you can quite easily spot those interviewees who could work well with different people based on their characteristics as much as their skills and knowledge.
Declining a Support Package
Reputations are quickly affected when things go wrong, or difficulties exist. We have learnt that closely analysing the various aspects of the support package at the onset is an important part of trying to prevent this from happening further down the road.
There are different components to a successful support package, but providers need to be honest with themselves, not chase the work and hope things work out for the best.
Components might include the hours to be commissioned, does it really offer the opportunity for us to support the person safely and achieve the values of Partners in Support? For example, offering people developmental opportunities is a crucial and significant part of our mission, so is that feasible with the hours?
Is the person needing assistance clear what support they need and is this achievable? Do the family of the person have the same vision of the support needed as the person or us? Are the family able to work in partnership to achieve a successful outcome or if not, are difficulties likely to be played out in front of the staff team? If this might be a problem, how much of a difficulty would this cause for us as the provider based on the significance of the relationship involved? Are we able to recruit staff for the hours required or is this likely to be challenging? Is it a location that we know we can successfully recruit for?
We believe that whilst it’s important for commissioners and people requiring support and their relatives to select the right provider for them, this is a 2-way process. This often seems overlooked by providers due to pressures to expand their business. We have made decisions not to proceed with support packages when the evidence shows that one or more of these components is missing. This doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t deserve support, more that we aren’t the best provider for them.