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16th September 2013

Recruiting for Winter Pressures

Once the busy August period is over- and as I get my breath back I start to plan for Winter Pressures. No one likes to hear the word ‘Christmas’ mentioned in September but the fact is, along with August, they are Homecare’s peak times and should be planned for as early as possible. From past experience Winter pressures start to build up around November, reaching a crescendo in the middle of January, and can last through into February.

To plan for these times, we start our Recruitment drive in September, which is always a good time to recruit regardless. Students are moving into the area to attend local colleges and universities, and Mums are waving their children off to school thinking about a part time job.  Everyone starts looking towards Christmas as soon as the cold weather sets in, and as we all know Christmas is an expensive time.

Getting your vacancies out to as wide an audience as possible is key. In my own experience, radio adverts are extremely expensive and I never seem to have the response that I thought I would have. I have the same view of newspaper adverts. Putting out flyers to the local universities, and utilising notice boards in the local big supermarkets are also a good and inexpensive way of getting a message out to the local public that you are recruiting.

We have large banners made by a local card shop that produce banners for Birthday parties etc and again these are quite inexpensive and a good way to make the most of an office based centrally to where you are recruiting for.

A colleague of mine uses the phrase from “street to seat” which usually takes between 6 and 8 weeks. The timescale always depends if the recruitment procedures can be met at each stage. We do find that during this period we have a large dropout rate, so I always prefer to recruit for 50% more than is actually required.  People will lose interest or –as is usually the case, once they have completed their shadowing and see the real world of Homecare they realise that the job is not for them.

We plan for our new recruits to be working mid-November which is usually around the time we see the demand start to increase, especially if the weather is bad.

The negative of Homecare is that you can never be certain of the level of demand for your service, so my advice is you have to hope for the best but plan for the worst in order to be prepared.

Rosie Robinson

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