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The urgent need for safe and rapid recruitment

Jeanine Willoughby, Project Manager, Recruitment and Retention , Skills for Care

Lindsey Hanson and Jeanine Willoughby, both Recruitment and Retention Project Managers at Skills for Care discuss why there is an urgent need to recruit to the social care workforce and how this can be done safely.

The impact of COVID-19 has created an extremely challenging time for the adult social care workforce. The sector constantly faces a high vacancy rate and with greater demands than ever before, COVID-19 has led to an increased need to urgently recruit.

At any given time, it’s estimated that there are approximately 122,000 vacancies in adult social care. On top of that we know that a large number of front-line workers are currently absent from their role for various COVID-19 reasons including illness, self-isolation, childcare and bereavement.

To help recruitment, The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a campaign, ‘Care for others. Make a difference’, to help recruit people with the right values into the adult social care workforce, whilst highlighting the important work of the sector. The intention is to raise awareness of the range of job vacancies, at a time when people who have typically worked in other sectors are no longer in employment. You can find resources to support your recruitment at www.everydayisdifferent.com

Lindsey Hanson, Recruitment and Retention Project Manager at Skills for Care

But we know that employers need to urgently recruit people safely and rapidly and we’ve identified some key things to think about.

Recruit people with the right values
It’s crucial to recruit people with the right values to work in care. Missing out this vital step could expose vulnerable people and place even more pressure on existing staff. Using a values and behaviours-based approach will support you to recruit people who fit with your workplace culture, and help deliver the best outcomes for people who need care and support.
You can still assess for values via distance recruitment techniques but you’ll need to invest some time in ensuring you have the right technology so you and the candidate are properly prepared.

Recruit from your local community
With people from other sectors facing employment uncertainty and looking for work, use local and national initiatives, job boards, social media and employee referrals to reach this new audience and help maintain safe staffing levels.

Ensure that robust employment checks are carried out
Government agencies have responded to the pandemic by developing emergency processes which support safe and rapid recruitment of staff to the sector.
Some of the changes include updated ID checking guidelines to limit face-to-face contact, including documents to be viewed over a video link and scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted. Temporary arrangements are also in place for free of charge DBS checks and fast track Barred List check service.

Supported staff means safer care
Even with the emergency processes and initiatives to recruit safely and rapidly, it’s crucial to support the resilience and wellbeing of new and existing staff. If you correctly induct and support new starters, they will feel valued, deliver better and safer care and are more likely to stay with you .

To find more support and guidance around the safe and rapid recruitment of new workers visit www.skillsforcare.org.uk/safeandrapid

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