How can a dog help you recruit and retain care staff?

by Neil 23 January 2017 0

It’s not a click-bait headline because the dog will be along in a minute, but in this piece, I want to look at the importance of building your local reputation, with or without four-legged help. Or as an expensive marketing consultant might say: your ‘employer brand’.

As care providers, we operate and recruit locally. In the community around your setting, word about you gets around alarmingly fast amongst applicants, staff, ex-staff and their networks.

Those smartphones which your employees carry mean it is now very easy to leave negative reviews online about an employer which many prospective applicants will see for months to come. This can be on social media, on dedicated employment review sites like Glassdoor, or on internet job boards.

The importance of protecting your reputation as a good employer has never been more important. Before we look at a few effective ways of marketing your employer brand, it doesn’t need pointing out that most of your reputational problems will come from treating staff with disrespect. If you think that is happening in your organisation, then don’t bother reading on. You need to get that fixed first.

Win some awards
A great way of communicating to applicants that you are a good employer is to win a ‘good employer’ award and shout about it. Display it on your website, email footers and social media pages. Being a finalist is also fine. If you haven’t entered any awards competitions, you should start now. You’ll be surprised how many are run locally and regionally by different groups.

Show you give back to the community
Many applicants looking for a job in the care sector aren’t simply looking to work for the most money; they are giving and caring people. So, consider what your organisation and your staff can do to volunteer or support a local charity. If you choose a cause which relates to care or health it can also bring you into contact with their supporters who could make suitable future staff. If you are a not-for-profit organisation, then make sure any fund-raisers within your organisation understand the potential of their activity to support your recruitment efforts.

Charitable work should be reported on your website, on social media and in newsletters. Don’t forget to send it, together with a high-quality photo, to your local newspaper.

If you are short on time or not sure where to start with getting the word out then there are communications companies, like GD PR & Media, who I use, who know social care well.

Ask for feedback as often as you can
Use surveys to measure the satisfaction of both successful and unsuccessful candidates as well as existing and ex-staff if possible. Showing that you are interested in improving the experience for these groups can only be a good thing. Online tools like Survey Monkey offer questionnaire templates and will host your survey for free. There are also specialist social care engagement companies, like Smith and Henderson, who can run these for you.

Try a dog blog
Why not publish a company blog with a twist? A blog helps give your otherwise impersonal organisation a personality and a voice. One very successful homecare business in the United States has a blog ‘written’ by the company dog (a trained therapy dog and the owner’s pet). This gains them great PR all year around and communicates a lot about the culture of that workplace to applicants. It seems everyone in the care sector in that town has heard of Lucy and her blog.

Perhaps it’s time your dog finally gets its day?

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