How the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has driven innovation in our recruitment practices

29 December 2020

Picture of a woman sat on a tablet competing elearning

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presented unprecedented challenges to our recruitment and on boarding processes. Our Recruitment Team has discovered new ways to recruit and induct colleagues, many of which we intend to keep. Here, Katie Morris, Senior Recruiter at Exemplar Health Care, reflects on the challenges of recruitment in 2020 and how we’ve overcome them.

Recruitment in 2020 has been very different and it presented unprecedented challenges for our Recruitment Team. However, ‘Responsive’ is one of our Exemplar Health Care values, and ‘Responsive’ we were!

When the pandemic started, we adapted the way that we operated and rose to the challenge of recruiting new colleagues into the business safely and in a timely manner, despite lockdown restrictions. This has ensured that each of our homes has enough of the right colleagues to support our service users during this unique time.

Meeting the staffing challenges of the pandemic

When the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started, we developed a new temporary Associate Carer role to help us to meet the potential staffing challenges of the pandemic. The role was designed for those working in the hospitality, leisure or travel sectors, or students, who might be looking for extra work.

In the following six months, when we started a recruitment drive in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we saw a huge increase in the number of applications and offers of employment, of almost double that of the same period in 2019.

Many of our new starters have been a great fit in the homes, and we hope that they will continue in employment after the pandemic ends. 

Virtual recruitment

Despite working remotely for much of the year, the team adapted fast and implemented a virtual recruitment plan to protect our employees and candidates.

Instead of the usual open days and face-to-face interviews, we’ve taken our recruitment online.

Candidate engagement is very important to us and over the past year, we’ve concentrated efforts on bringing the culture in our homes to life through videos, social media and our website. This helps new candidates to get a feel for what it’s like to work in our homes. Next year, we hope take this further and create virtual tours of our homes.

We’ve also welcomed two new Nurse Talent Specialists to the team, whose role is dedicated to supporting new Nurse colleagues through the recruitment process. At a time when visiting our homes is restricted, our specialists talk to candidates about what life as an Exemplar Health Care Nurse is like.

Video interviews have been our biggest change this year.

At first we weren’t sure how they’d work, and whether they’d allow us to ‘get a feel’ for candidates in the same way that you do face-to-face.

However, on the whole, we’ve found them to be a success across the company, and many colleagues have said that they offer more flexibility and increased productivity, giving hiring Managers more time to spend with our service users. 

Induction and on boarding

First impressions count!

The notion of starting a role without coming into the workplace on your first day and meeting your team may sound daunting, but our virtual on boarding process has supported over 1000 new colleagues since the beginning of the pandemic, and has worked better than we could have imagined.

Our Learning and Organisational Development team have facilitated virtual inductions with a combined approach of welcome calls and eLearning, as well as a dedicated buddy in the workplace.

Looking ahead to 2021

With the New Year fast approaching, and the ever changing challenges of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we will continue to improve and adapt our recruitment approach to ensure the safe recruitment of colleagues to our homes and central services teams.

We’re excited to plan our first virtual recruitment event in the New Year, and will continue to support remote recruitment where possible.

We take pride in recruiting the best talent, which is why regardless of the virtual style of recruitment, we will continue to provide that personal touch to your career journey. We’re not just recruiting for a role, we’re supporting our colleagues on their chosen career path.

If you’re interested in working with Exemplar Health Care, please visit the ‘Job search’ on our website to see our latest vacancies, or get in touch with our Recruitment Team for an informal chat.  

We’d love to hear from you and hope to welcome you to the Exemplar Health Care family in 2021.