Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare

Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare

Over the last 18 months, care homes have faced the challenge of not only needing to maintain stringent infection control measures but also manage a multitude of workforce issues, including national staff shortages and workers needing to self-isolate.

Added to this, Sunrise Senior Living and Gracewell Healthcare were experiencing increasing costs in their recruitment activities, often falling behind the industry benchmarks on key metrics.

But thanks to a new resourcing initiative, led by the care home provider’s recruitment team, the company has seen the number of high-quality candidates recruited increase, as well as a reduction in the rising costs of recruitment and a drop in the rate of team member attrition.

The provider used three work streams to deliver the resourcing initiative. Primarily, the recruitment team brought itself closer to potential candidates through its use of social media. This included targeting advertisements to users who were likely to hold the values and skills needed, and actively reaching out to those businesses most affected by job losses from the pandemic. The team also used messaging tools available on social media platforms to contact candidates directly.

Secondly, Sunrise and Gracewell also introduced a new system of value-based questions when assessing candidates for roles to boost the recruitment process. The questions were written to reflect the traits required for a successful career in care, and allowed the recruitment team to receive a more detailed insight into applicants’ character.

It also introduced an initiative to quickly introduce team members who provide clinical leadership to care homes with emerging outbreaks of COVID-19, meaning better support for homes dealing with virus outbreaks and fewer future infections.

Additionally, the learning and development team introduced a virtual rapid induction programme, as part of which internal team members hosted training sessions using methods such as videos and workbooks, followed by putting their knowledge into practice during a shift.

The final work stream was the introduction of ‘shadow shifts’ which meant candidates were placed in their relevant care home to speak to residents and existing team members after a formal interview. This allowed candidates to gain real experience of what their job entails while also providing interviewers with a better understanding of candidates’ soft skills.

The judges said this initiative offered “demonstrable financial metrics, strategy and purpose with links to work, people and professionalism matters.” They also said that there was “innovative redeployment” of sales staff, even though this came with challenges.

Highly commended: NHS England and NHS Improvement