Unprecedented, extraordinary and even surreal. All words we keep hearing related to the Coronavirus, and undoubtedly true. No-one reading this will have experienced such circumstances in the past and let us hope we don’t see anything like it again.
Regardless of the size of your operation, it is likely that staff issues will dominate even more than is usual. Word has started to trickle through about some front line and head office staff self – isolating. The impact of this is still not yet apparent with all providers working hard to put together plans for when things get worse.
It’s a worrying time for everyone right now, but particularly for the Care Sector. But in amongst the danger, fear and uncertainly, what positive opportunities may also become apparent?
Here are our top picks
- Better deployment of technology to recruit staff faster. Video Interviews, on-line inductions and on-line training have all featured in plans we have heard about.
- Sharing of best practice and being Kind! LinkedIn, Care England and other sector related bodies as well as old – fashioned networking have helped us in the last few weeks to understand how the crisis is being addressed. One of our clients is setting up a creche at work, many have shut day services to reduce risk and several have re-deployed key roles such as team leaders as a contingent workforce should the management team get sick. Many providers with high levels of temp staff are busy making sure that workers stick to one location minimising the danger to permanent staff and residents alike. Others are clearly communicating via Skype, the Intranet and Microsoft Teams, amongst others. One of our favourite LinkedIn shares is getting children now out of school to make cards and write letters to those is a supported setting.
- Ripping up the rule book: Social Care Organisations are rightly highly regulated. However a relaxation of the norms may yet prove a winner in terms of starting people in front line roles faster. We have heard some providers are offering contract roles based on a Whatsapp Call, straight from telephone interview, and many providers are also starting workers now based on Adult First checks only – without all references in place.
- While it’s no doubt a stressful time, our ways of working are unlikely to ever be the same again. It’s difficult to imagine going back to travelling for hours for a meeting that can happen just as effectively, and perhaps even better on-line.
- Now for the most potentially game changing impact of the crisis. It could prove (and let’s hope it does) a catalyst for workers from other industries experiencing the sector, with lasting impact in the years to come. Many social care organisations are already targeting workers from retail, hospitality and others that have been affected, offering short term contracts, volunteer and bank roles as an alternative to higher agency use. We know how rewarding a career in care is, and many workers forced to consider alternative industries due to their current situation will experience themselves how rewarding a career in the sector is and stay beyond the crisis.
Unprecedented times? Yes. More challenging than ever? Yes. But if there is one thing we know – the care sector is an industry with fight in them. We wholeheartedly believe that by being open to opportunity, working collaboratively, and giving the best care – as is always the case of our sector, we’ll get through this together. And we’ll come out winning on the other side.