Recruitment into public sector roles can be an important but difficult part of the communications team’s remit. So it’s always useful to see successful case studies on how others have been effective in this area.
by Kelsey Stubbs
Anyone else out there in local government trying to tackle the care workforce crisis?
We’ve been running a care worker recruitment campaign at West Sussex County Council with all the classic council campaign ingredients; mythbusting, awareness raising and some serious behaviour change tactics – but we’ve done it all in a very different way. And you know what, it’s really working.
The campaign objective? Recruit more care workers to the sector, dispel common myths about working in care, and support our West Sussex care providers to improve staff retention. We were told if we hired one, yes just one care worker, our campaign would be a success.
We started by researching the areas in the county with a high demand for care and a lack of care workers, which determined where we’d run our campaign. One of the key learnings from our research was that care workers won’t generally travel more than six miles to their place of work – this made deciding where we geographically ran our campaign really easy.
Of course we needed those gold dust case studies, so we contacted providers throughout the county and asked anyone willing to be featured in the campaign to get in touch with us. We turned the case studies into a variety of different comms and recently created four videos to show the spectrum of job roles in the industry:
We made as much noise in the communities as possible and ran a multimedia campaign – from a press release targeting local press to paying for poster adverts in nearby train stations with high footfall. And because unemployment was low we encouraged people to change professions by emphasising a job in care is about making a difference.
We also went big on the fact that people who work in care all hold really core values; they’re friendly, positive and kind – this was determined by research conducted with 48 care workers.
The majority of our comms featured the call to action to attend our recruitment events which we held with local care providers – where people could drop-in and potentially leave with interviews lined up and the beginning of a new career.
But I’m sure you’re aware of what some people think care work is about, which makes running a care recruitment campaign a little tricky. So we hit the road and met care workers from around the county, stuck a camera in front of them and read out common myths about care. Watch what happened here.
Our most successful comms channels have been local publications, press, sending postcards to residents, Facebook adverts and Google AdWord campaigns. We know these approaches worked the best for us because we asked everyone who attended our events to tell us how they found out about it.
We’re now in the second phase of the campaign because the first phase was so successful; 77 people attended seven events, which resulted in 13 new recruits for local care providers, equating to 12,364 hours of care annually.
My words of wisdom? Go bold and be brave – try that idea you’ve been waiting to give a go. Send an old school press release out with the headline ‘Care work is not just about wiping people’s bottoms!’ Mythbust in a different way and remember to use influencers in your comms – feature people who work in the industry to tell the message, target grandparents so they tell their family members to get a job in care. Don’t forget how effective word of mouth can be.