Case Study 1

We were asked to support an 87-bed nursing home in West Sussex that was struggling to recruit care staff. The home had been using more that 480hrs agency care staff for almost a year.

Habitual high agency usage is expensive and self-perpetuating. A top-level review of the service also revealed the high staff turnover, poor regulatory compliance and dwindling occupancy usually associated with excessive use of agency staff.

Staff turnover is notoriously high in the care industry. A turnover of 30% is usual and to be expected. This meant that other care providers, in the local area, were likely recruiting and actively competing for staff. It also meant that applicants and existing were acutely aware of the pay and benefits offered by other care providers.

The service required immediate and practical solutions to reduce agency usage week on week.

We recommended an 8-day package plus a 1 day follow up.

Days 1 – 5
Review and development of the in-house recruitment function to include:

  • Identifying staff responsible to deliver on recruitment
  • Where and how to advertise vacancies
  • Introducing a recruitment tracker to monitor progress.
  • Streamlining and speeding up the recruitment process.
  • Managing DBS & reference requests
  • Template interview questions and recruitment letters.
  • Debunking recruitment myths and ‘old school’ practices.
  • Introducing the use of multiple communication channels to engage with candidates and request information.
  • Training staff in safe recruitment practice to ensure that recruitment meets all regulatory requirements such as the HSCA and the Disability Act.
  • Coaching staff in soft recruitment practices to ensure that applicants are not lost before they even start.
  • Updating the home manager on the proposed changes and their role in speeding up the recruitment process.

Day 6
Pay & Benefits Review

  • Market research to understand pay and benefits offered in the local area.
  • Review of staff turnover, annual staff satisfaction survey and exit interview common themes.
  • Temperature check of pay and benefits offered by the service.
  • Development of a pay and benefits proposal.

Day 7
Onboarding & induction

  • Review of the onboarding and induction processes for new starters.
  • Development of a comprehensive onboarding and induction for all roles.

Day 8
Workforce planning with the provider/home manager

  • Review and development of a staffing ladder for the service
  • Calculating planned staffing levels and establishment requirements and how to monitor and review these to meet safe staffing requirements.
  • Rota management & how to backfill vacant hours from within.
  • Advice on absence management.

1 Day Review

The provider had made significant progress in reducing agency staff usage over a 3-month period. 7 new starters had halved agency costs and tipped the balance of agency vs employed staff in the home. The provider reported improved quality indicators, reduced staff absence and higher staff morale.

The service had a healthy pipeline of applicants and the recruitment tracker demonstrated that the processes put in place were effective and timely.

Further coaching was provided to support the recruitment and management teams; however, the service had cracked the recruitment conundrum and achieved zero agency use within 6 months.