In-house vs. Agency Recruitment: A quick guide to finding the best staffing solution for your care business

27 March 2024

If you are a care home manager, you have a stressful job on your hands. Your to-do list is never-ending. And the staff shortages aren’t making your job any easier.

Our ageing population and longer life expectancy have increased the demand for adult social care. However, careers in social care have limited appeal. While the government is going some way to address the staffing crisis, the demand for care continues to rise. As a result, the gap between the numbers of eligible carers and those in need of care is widening.

It’s no surprise then that with a vacancy rate of 9.9% and an attrition rate of 28.3% in 2022/2023, staffing is likely at the top of the list of things keeping you up at night. And finding an effective staffing solution is probably pretty high on your wish list.*

Today, we will explore a few strategies for overcoming the staffing challenges you’re experiencing.

In-house Recruitment

As a manager of a small or medium-sized care home, your primary responsibility is your residents’ well-being and quality of life. To achieve this, your home needs to be effectively and safely operated.

Your responsibilities include overall management, staff supervision, care planning and coordination, quality assurance and compliance, health and safety, financial management, resident advocacy and support, communication and collaboration, continuous improvement, and training and development.  And then you have to manage recruitment on top of everything else.

Recruitment is time-consuming. You start by advertising the role on Indeed or other job sites. Then comes the arduous process of reviewing CVs, cover letters and emails.  Next, you must contact potential candidates and begin interviewing them. Once a suitable candidate is found, you need to go through the administrative process of bringing them on board and training them in the ways of your care home.

The Agency Alternative

Yes, you have quite a list of responsibilities. Fortunately, it is possible to take at least one of the most time-consuming tasks off your list. Specialist care recruitment agencies can take the burden of recruitment from you.

With a recruitment agency as your partner, your only responsibility in the recruitment process will be onboarding your new team member.

Choosing the Right Staffing Agency

A recent BBC investigation exposed terrible cases of shady agency practices, staff exploitation and patient neglect.

So, with several bad apples in the care recruitment industry, how do you choose the right staffing agency?

Agency Screening

To avoid choosing one of the bad apples, consider a few critical aspects before partnering with a specialist care recruitment provider.

Quality care does not equate to cheap care. If the recruitment agency you’re considering has low rates, it is important to question their business’s operational and profitability strategies. In such cases, their staff may not receive fair wages and lack training and qualifications.

Please take a look at their profit margins. With low profit margins, chances are their operations are unsustainable. If their margins are high, they could be overcharging clients and underpaying workers. If they are VAT-exempt, it is a good idea to request justification.

A few practical questions to consider:

  • Do they have governance, quality, and incident reporting guidelines and processes?
  • How do they validate and maintain staff training?
  • What is their cancellation policy? Do they impose any late cancellation fees?
  • Can they provide a copy of their insurance policy?
  • Do they apply any additional fees? If so, what are they, and why are they charged?

DIY Recruitment or Specialist Recruiter?

When it comes to recruitment, it really doesn’t have to be one or the other. Undoubtedly, staff retention is typically at its best within well-established teams. But if you’re spending excessive time on recruitment, with little space to focus on retention efforts, a hybrid approach may be the answer you have been looking for.

This approach involves partnering with a specialist recruitment agency to help you address your short-term needs, such as holiday cover, sickness, and absence, as well as helping you fill specialist roles. This will reduce your administrative burden. It will also play a significant role in preventing staff burnout and ensuring that compliant staff ratios are maintained.

Ranaissance Care – One of the Good Apples

While there may be many fly-by-night staffing agencies around, there are also some dedicated specialist care agencies that are doing great work.

Rest assured that Ranaissance Care is one of the good apples; our happy clients attest to this. We’re a highly experienced specialist care agency offering a reliable alternative to in-house teams. Our customers often find our carers more reliable than their own team members.

Whether you want to outsource your recruitment entirely or only need a hand filling short-term or specialist vacancies, we offer an end-to-end solution that includes attracting potential candidates, screening and interviewing them and ensuring they are compliant and trained. All you must focus on is welcoming your new team member aboard.

What is the Right Solution for you?

No matter what approach to recruitment you choose, evaluating the cost-effectiveness of each strategy is crucial. However, if you are currently facing staffing challenges at your care facility, we are confident that partnering with a responsible specialist recruitment agency like Ranaissance Care is your best option.

At Ranaissance Care, we offer an effective, time, and cost-saving solution.  We will eliminate most of the recruitment steps by finding reliable, trained staff who are a perfect fit for your care home. We provide long-term and short-term carers who want to make a genuine difference in people’s lives. Our carers can also be trained to meet your specific care-providing needs.

Contact us today to see how we can help you tick at least one thing off your never-ending to-do list.

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*Care England (February, 2024).