Guest blog by Sophie Coulthard on taking your recruitment and retention strategies to the next level

Sophie Coulthard from Judgement Index works with care organisations to support the selection, development and retention of staff. Sophie is passionate about improving onboarding practices and culture within care, in order to reduce staff turnover. She also hosts a free podcast series “The Road To Outstanding” covering top tips and strategies through interviews with care managers and industry experts – Insequa co director, Bill Watson, was featured in the most recent episode. In 2018 Sophie was named as a top influencer in social care for her work on the podcast.

5 things to take your recruitment and retention strategies to the next level

Recruiting and retaining staff is a never-ending hot topic in care. I often ask people on the podcast if they do anything different in their recruitment strategies, and while there is sometimes a story of an innovative recruitment process most people are still doing what they’ve always done.

So I wanted to pick up on a few things that you’re probably already doing to a certain extent in your recruitment activity, and show you how you can capitalise on that to really take it to the next level.

Use Your Values As A Marketing Tool

Every care company has a set of values and they’re quite often similar to another company in the area. So how can you make them stand out? Get your staff together for a workshop and ask them to talk about your values. What do the values mean to them? What does it mean to embody them?

This exercise has two benefits, the first being that it gets the staff engaging and taking ownership of your company values but it also gives you valuable information to use in your recruitment efforts.

If your staff believe the value of “respect” means letting residents have meals at times that suit them then you can use that information in your job description and interview, meaning you will attract and be able to recruit people who share the same values as your team.


Do Social Media… Properly!

When I’m at a conference and I ask people to share if they have a company Facebook page I see lots of hands go up. But, when I ask them if they post regularly a lot of those hands come down! The key with social media is consistency and Facebook is the best place to put your efforts because it works so well for local businesses!

My advice is to find a few people in your business who are a bit tech savvy and give them the responsibility of being your “social media mascots” in charge of sharing the great things you do and other positive stories from the local area. This is your opportunity to become embedded in the local community.

Facebook is a great place to promote your events and fundraisers and you can even create adverts to attract potential new staff. Once they’ve seen all the great things you’re sharing on social media they’ll be excited at the thought of working for you. Don’t forget you’re probably collecting a lot of evidence on your Facebook page for your CQC file too.

There was a fantastic episode of the podcast with Social Media Expert Michelle Purse back in the first series, so be sure to take a listen here. You will also find links to her free Facebook bootcamp if you’re looking to get started.

Create and Promote a Well-Being Policy

Well-being is a hot topic across the work place at the moment, and in care I find companies are fantastic at looking after the well-being of their clients, but perhaps not as conscious of the well-being of their staff.

If you look after your staff then they will look after the clients, so start by making a list of all the things you currently do to promote well-being in your company. This can include social events, ensuring people get their birthday off work, having a dedicated “chill-out” staff room, having a recognition board and making thank-you a part of your culture.

Then, get it down on paper! Share your new well-being policy on social media. Put it into the staff handbook and make it a part of your recruitment and induction process. I can pretty much guarantee your local competitor does not have a well-being policy in place so it will really set you apart and help you to attract new staff.

Brush Up On Your Induction Plan

Skills For Care estimate that the cost to replace a care worker is £3,500. But, with a proper induction plan in place you can reduce staff turnover in the first few months by up to 50%. So it’s worth spending some time to review your induction process and make sure it’s as good as it can be. Your aim should be to get your new staff to fully embedded members of the team in as short a time as possible.

Start with a welcome letter. Do you send one anymore? What does it include? For most new starters they will spend the evening before their first day panicking about what to wear and what the first day will hold, so take the pressure off by letting them know what they’ll be doing, what to wear and if there’s a fridge to put their lunch in. This small effort can go such a long way.

I dedicated an entire episode of the podcast to my recommended steps to perfect induction. So for the rest on this grab a pen and paper and listen here.

Use A Tool To Help You Make Better Hiring Decisions

Many corporate businesses use assessments and tools to help them spot the right qualities in people, standardise their interview processes and help their hiring managers to be less subjective when hiring. This is something that’s also available to care companies and growing in popularity, especially when hiring from outside the sector and people who have no prior care experience; how do you know if they’ve got what it takes? How do you know if they have the right values and behaviours to be successful in the job?

The company I work for is called The Judgement Index and this assessment tool has helped companies cut their staff turnover by up to 50% and was recently featured in CQC’s Driving Improvement report. It’s also goes beyond hiring and is a great tool to use during appraisals and leadership development. There are many tools and assessments out there so I’d encourage you to have a look at them and see if they can help take your recruitment to the next level.

Hopefully as you’ve read this you have realised that you’re already doing a lot of the things mentioned, the question is could you be doing these things more or doing them better? At the end of Series 3 of The Road To Outstanding I created an episode all around these five strategies. It’s jam packed with tips and resources so if you’d like to expand on what you’ve already read then take a listen here. Don’t forget that notepad and pen!

For more information about the Judgement Index head to

The Road To Outstanding is available now on iTunes, Spotify or Podbean and you can find out more on Twitter.

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