The COO of tech-enabled home care provider Cera has hailed the company’s fast track recruitment platform as a “phenomenal success” in bringing new people into the care sector during the COVID-19 crisis.
Yvonne Hignell, who joined the business in April, said the platform has streamlined the recruitment process, from application to deployment, and improved Cera’s conversion rates as a result.
Speaking during last week’s Care Virtual Summit, she said: “A process which usually takes about four weeks with high drop-out rates – so a conversion of around 1-1.5% from application to deployment – actually reduced down to about two weeks with a 3% conversion rate.”
The platform allows candidates to record a video interview and access basic skills training.
Cera is then able to view their video interviews before starting DBS checks and making conditional offers.
“So we’ve got someone taking themselves effectively down this user-led journey, fully automated to the point where they are then made a conditional offer to come into branch and have face-to-face training, ensuring that they really did take learnings from the eLearning platform.
“We would then get them kitted up, get them meeting their team and then get them out shadowing with a senior care worker before their first lone-working shift a couple of weeks later.”
Cera is now managing about 150 applications per day, four times the amount it was processing before lockdown, and bringing in around 20 new members of staff per week.
Hignell said the initiative has been “incredibly successful”, so much so that the Department of Health and Social Care approached Cera and asked the company to provide the same recruitment technology to support its Every Day is Different campaign.
“We’re seeing people coming from leisure, tourism, airlines – we’ve had two strategic partnerships with airline companies – and the range of people coming into the sector now is phenomenal,” she said.
“Those transferrable skills around customer service and making a difference in someone’s day are present in so many other industries. So as much as it’s been incredibly challenging, it’s had a phenomenal impact on Cera.”
Asked whether the recruitment platform has helped improve retention rates, Hignell said: “We know that the first 90 days are an incredibly risky time and we’ve actually seen an improvement in the 90-day retention figure. Obviously, we’re only 90 days into this, but certainly that period has improved.
“The recruitment team and the branch teams are working very closely together so there are joint incentives to really make sure that once we’ve got those folk into our business that we really look after them and treat them like gold dust.”
Cera is also developing its Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to help improve the length of time staff remain working for the company.
“We’re really trying to get under the skin of what motivates people,” said Hignell.
“We’ve all seen the research – the majority of people that come into care are ideologically driven, they want to make a difference to people’s lives – so, once they join Cera, because our technology gives them more time to care and less time filling out paperwork, and also because our technology helps them to make better informed decisions and reduce risk, the experience of working with Cera is improved.
“So this isn’t just about getting more and more people into our business, but it’s about getting them in, making them feel loved and nurtured and giving them the tools to really make a difference to people’s lives.”