Neil has been helping us to think about recruiting to our new roles of Community Circle Connectors and Practice and Team Coaches. Having thought about how to describe the role, who we are looking for, and avoiding the usual advert traps, we now think together about where to advertise. Previously I had just assumed that using electronic boards like Indeed and Linked In were the best options for these roles, and reading Saving Social Care helped me to see this differently. I asked Neil what we should be considering for Coaches and Connectors.
Neil: “One of the challenges with recruiting to a new and different role, is that many recruitment sources are geared to optimise a job seeker search for familiar categories of job. That means it may be easy for a job-seeker to search for a well-worn job title, like care assistant, but very difficult to be found if you are something different. Using language and a job title that is out of the ordinary can mean a much-reduced number of applicants.
That presents challenges but, as I explain in the book, those ‘honey-pots’ of job-seekers are full of people needing work, not so much those with a calling for care. That’s why I am convinced the right candidates will come from networked or ‘connected’ sources.
You are absolutely right to include LinkedIn for the search for Community Circle Connectors and Coaches. This is not a rich source for frontline staff of course but, with the large and engaged following the Wellbeing Team movement has, this could prove powerful.”
Are there ways that this disadvantage could be made into an advantage Neil? One of my favourite books at the moment is ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.
“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
So where could the opportunity be in these roles being novel and therefore potentially exciting?
Neil: Ah! By using networks you will be automatically engaging what my publisher called ‘sneezers’. I think they could also be called ‘mavens’ – people at the centre of networks. These are people who are much more connected than the average person. Helen, you are a great example of one of these! These people are high potential candidates for a ‘Connector’ role and so the very act of using networks to publicise the job will naturally bring it to the attention of the very people who might consider it perfect for them.
Of course another advantage is that the whole concept of Wellbeing Teams is so easy to explain and instantly appealing to curious, engaged members of the community.
From reading ‘Saving Social Care’ I have learned the full range of places where you have suggested putting adverts. Here I have grouped them into three areas, technology, relationships and community.
I think that the people who may be interested in the Community Circle Connector and Coaches roles may be on Linked In, Facebook and on Twitter. We could put the animated advert, and the text advert on Linked In. I could post these personally and say that I am looking to recruit people to my team. Is it common to make it this personal Neil? The recruitment I see on Linked In appears to be done by recruiters, nothing personal at all.
Neil: No, it is not at all common and that is another advantage. Think of brands that engage with a personal voice and build a loyal base rapidly – Innocent Drinks is an obvious example – this is exactly the approach I would take.
We will also use facebook paid adverts and target people in the Wigan and Leigh, and I guess 5 miles outside of the area too.
Neil: For Facebook you should keep it personal too, so encourage Likes and be sure to reply to any approaches as well as a more formal application process.
Electronic job noticeboards
The book changed my view of electonic job noticeboards, going from seeing them as a the main way to find applicants, to one way, that has some challenges to it as well.
Neil: I would use job boards as another channel since there is a high volume of traffic but there is the challenge of job seekers not searching for a role they have never heard of before. To pick up Ryan Holiday’s point again, we could turn this to our advantage by placing the ad is a category of job where people with similar values might well work. We just have to use that title in the headline and body copy to ensure it pops up in results. For example, (and I am just guessing) why not place the Coaches advert in the ‘Trainer’ job category with a headline like “Are you a trainer looking for a change? Could you be our next Practice Coach?”
The other area the book suggests is prioritising existing relationships and asking for referrals and suggestions.
We already have good connections in Wigan, through the commissioner, and existing providers, as well as one of our team, Michelle, living in Leigh. I was planning to meet them as ask for their ideas, referrals and suggestions. I wonderd if it would be useful to have something to give them? I loved the ideas about referral cards.
Neil: I usually suggest a simple business card size, but there is more to say here so you could go up a size. I have even considered a die-cut shape too if there was one that reflected the logo or concept, although that does add to the cost.
I asked Adam to develop some designs and then we tested them with colleagues on Facebook and Linked In to find peoples favourites. These are the ones we asked people for feedback on. We had over 60 votes on Facebook and the same on Linked In (thank you to everyone who helped us by commenting and voting).
Neil said: I think, like others, that 2, 4 and 8 have the edge. I initially decided 2 was my favourite as it says it all, but the text, being longer, isn’t quite as instantly impactful as the other two. Great to see the feedback. One suggestion: on the reverse could you have a space for an employee to add their name (I would also have a phone number) so you can use these for employee referrals too? Make sure the printer uses a matte paper stock if so.
Virtual referral cards
I can see lots of value of having physical cards to give people, and I could see how we could use something virtual to share with people as a direct message on facebook or twitter, or simply send as a text. It all depends how and where we notice people like us. I asked Neil if there is anything we need to think about when we do this? I could imagine using an App like Word Swag to personalise it – perhaps looking a bit like this?
Neil: Yes, that looks great! It just needs a logo ID and a link to click to make it low effort to respond, but I would love to test this concept!
The third area is community. I loved the description of hyper-local in the book. One of the fantastic things about starting our teams in Wigan is the investment that they have already made in what is called Asset Based Community Development. You may have heard of The Wigan Deal as well. They have a Community Book which describes all the local organisations and community groups.
I need to look through this and see where the kind of people we are looking for may already be connected. I asked Neil what else he recommended.
Neil: That is a great head start! In the book I list many places where I have discovered high potential people gather in a typical community. I would use this and the Community Book as starting points. You might need to tailor your message and some groups have a ‘gatekeeper’ who you should be able to articulate the ‘why’ to succinctly, so they feel compelled to help you out. I wonder whether the council can support this? They might need to help all providers equally but other parts of the council may not be restricted.
The other aspect of community is Communities of Practice. One that I am connected with is Collaborate Out Loud, who are connecting people and ideas across Greater Manchester.
Reading Saving Social Care completely changed my thinking about where to advertise roles, and I am particularly excited about using Referral Cards, and social media for these roles, and as we start advertising for Wellbeing Workers from November. In the next blog we look at how to know what works, and what to measure.