Blog - Tackling the recruitment Crisis

Right at Home franchisees discuss what's being done to attract good people into care jobs

Published: 29/10/2021

Staffing in social care has been making national news headlines this month, following the publication of a report from the Care Quality Commission.

The BBC said that the CQC’s report into the State of Health and Social Care in England confirmed fears that social care providers are facing a staffing crisis, losing staff to better paid jobs in retail and hospitality, and unable to recruit replacements.

The pandemic, Brexit and general demographic changes are being blamed for adding pressure to the existing challenge of attracting people to work in the care sector, as demand for services continues to rise.

In this blog we will talk to Right at Home franchise owners, about how their businesses have been affected by the wider workforce crisis, and what the network has been doing in response.

A number of our owners have shared their thoughts through social media, acknowledging that recruitment and retention of quality staff has never been tougher or more competitive.

But they also identify a number of positives that have arisen from the situation, as it has forced everyone to ‘up their game’ to ensure they are giving staff the best possible experience and working conditions.

Christopher Neal, owner of Right at Home Bishop’s Stortford & Braintree, said: “Addressing these stresses will require serious change from central and local government, but also from independent providers.

“The good news is that at Right at Home we have a head start. We take career pathways seriously and support staff with their development. Many of our team start working towards health and social care qualifications from day one – free of charge. This will continue and we will continue to encourage everyone to do this.

“Our pay has always been above average for the industry – but we have started to make changes to conditions which will make us an even more attractive place to launch a career. This will mean more predictable, solid working hours. We are also looking much wider for potential recruits and building new recruitment partnerships.”

Christopher added: “These are small, marginal gains in themselves. However, taken together we’ll play our part in building a better future for staff, enabling us to expand the incredible levels of support we provide to local vulnerable people.”

Ben Selby, owner of Right at Home South Cheshire, agreed and said their office had actually returned to pre-pandemic levels of recruitment in recent weeks.

“We’re still seeing an extremely high level of competition, but in response to that we’ve really honed our process for attracting good candidates and giving them the best and most reassuring experience as they come through the onboarding process.

“We’ve also widened our scope for the places we use to attract candidates; after refining the system around internal referrals we’ve seen some really positive results, to the extent that we can now expect 1-2 staff referrals each month.

“We’ve worked with the team at National Office; and also looked at where other franchisees are trying new things that are working well for them. We’ve had to invest time and resources on our recruitment strategy and to focus on being highly flexible and responsive.

“We’ve got five people on our next induction session, so it’s still challenging, but not impossible.”

Annabelle Mole is Right at Home’s Recruitment Coordinator, whose role includes strategic direction for CareGiver recruitment and direct support with recruiting back-office positions.

She said: “What we’re seeing is that the franchise offices are having to work harder than ever to recruit and retain staff; because it’s not just getting new people through the door, it’s making sure their schedules work for them and other practical measures.

“The Right at Home network has always coached and trained around making sure staff are well supported and know how much their hard work is appreciated; we also highlight that there are fantastic and varied opportunities, from well-paid careers in care through to flexible hours that can be tailored to work around other commitments, such as family care.”

Recruitment is always included in Right at Home’s annual Franchisee Satisfaction Report, which is created off the back of an anonymous benchmarking survey run by WorkBuzz. This year’s survey was held in October and the results highlighted a positive attitude towards the current situation.

While recruitment remains the over-riding single greatest challenge to growing the business, this year 88% of respondents agreed that they are satisfied with the Recruitment guidance and resources provided by Right at Home. 83% say this helps them to attract and retain staff; figures that are in line with last year’s responses. One owner said: “Recruitment is certainly a challenge, but no more than ever. The support we receive is great.”

Jane Townson, CEO of the Homecare Association, said: “Demand for care has grown considerably in the last year – we’ve seen a 10% increase in local authority-funded home care and 20-30% growth in requests from people who are paying for their own care.

“We need to invest in our workforce and make sure they feel valued. Care can be challenging – supporting people with acute needs or delivering end of life care. The wider sector is now realising the importance of making sure people feel valued and well supported, and the need to highlight that there are huge opportunities for very interesting and varied careers.”

Right at Home CEO Lucy Campbell, who sits on the board of the Homecare Association, said: “Our purpose is to deliver excellent quality care for vulnerable people in the communities we serve across the UK. Demand for this service is only going to increase with an ever-aging population so having enough of the right people – with the right skills, values, and commitment to our Clients – is crucial.

“Across our network of 70 franchises in the UK, where over a third of those which have been inspected by the CQC have been rated as ‘Outstanding’, we are in the heart-breaking position of having to turn away families who need our services because we simply cannot recruit the number of CareGivers we need to support everyone who is in need of care. This is despite offering above-average rates of pay, flexible part-time working options, opportunities for long-term career progression and excellent training and support, including to those who are new to the sector.

“With an average of 110,000 vacancies across the sector at any given time, it’s no secret that the underfunded care sector has been dealing with staff shortages for a while, long before the pandemic intensified our invaluable work. However, the negative connotations associated with care work remain, and the Government’s demeaning labelling of care workers as ‘low skilled’, as well as its post-Brexit failure to agree visa privileges – as they have done for other essential workers – did nothing to address the shortfall.

“Right at Home CareGivers are essential – not only for supporting vulnerable members of the community, but also for supporting our fantastic NHS by helping more vulnerable adults to live safely and comfortably in their own homes. More needs to be done to highlight social care’s invaluable contribution to the communities we are part of, and to encourage more people to see care as the exciting and rewarding career that it is.”

Right at Home always supports career development opportunities
Lou Berreen was a worthy winner of RaH's 2021 CareGiver of the Year Award
Making sure our amazing care teams know how much they are valued