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Sourcing quality talent is a challenge in all industries, but specifically for aged care and NDIS-backed organisations.
People in these valuable roles are in positions of trust, so organisations in this industry need to be confident candidates have the right background and qualifications.
We spoke with Kieren Samways, Xref’s Account Executive specialising in aged care and the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), about how organisations in these sectors can hire with confidence.
Recruiters in aged care and NDIS-backed organisations have always been careful about who they hire. Support workers and caregivers must have specific qualifications and certifications to ensure vulnerable communities are cared for properly.
However, recruiters are currently facing more pressure. Kieren explains the 2018 Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety “shone a spotlight on difficulties within the industry.” The result has been more frequent regulatory changes and an added focus on compliance, especially during hiring.
“Ever since the Royal Commission organisations have been more focused than ever on bringing on the right people using a fully-compliant process.”
Changes since the Royal Commission include the introduction of a Code of Conduct and Banning Order Registry. Recruiters must ensure new hires have not been issued a banning order, and if they have, they fully understand the limits of the order.
More recently, legislation has passed requiring that from July 1, 2023 approved aged care providers must have at least one registered nurse (RN) on-site and on duty 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
The upcoming requirements are putting a crunch on recruiters who are already dealing with a talent shortage in the industry. Some numbers suggest a skills shortage of around 110,000 aged care workers by 2031.
Kieren explains that every HR or recruitment team he deals with faces the same issues. “The two challenges that come up in every conversation are the ability to source and verify qualified candidates and manage reputational risk.”
Aged care and NDIS-backed organisations must now, more than ever, ensure they have recruitment processes in place to confidently hire talent quickly and with the right compliance.
Hiring with due diligence is the first crucial step to running a compliant organisation that offers safe care to the vulnerable.
Getting hiring right protects vulnerable populations and also helps organisations manage their own risk in a space filled with increasing compliance demands. According to Kieren, success starts with recruiting.
“It all starts by bringing on the right people and verifying they are who they say they are.”
Kieren shares three tips for hiring quickly and with better confidence.
Recruiters in aged care and NDIS-backed organisations must ensure new hires are suitable to provide care. Appropriate security and background checks like police checks and Working With Children Checks must be conducted for all staff.
Referees must also be properly vetted to ensure recruiters are getting information from a truly reliable source.
Digital referencing software can help speed up reference and background checking while also adding an extra layer of compliance and security. Software like Xref, is designed to identify unusual activity flagging potentially fraudulent references.
Kieren explains, “if anything looks suspicious during our process we notify hiring teams so they can investigate further.”
It’s best practice for recruiters to ask referees if they are open to future opportunities. But, as Kieren notes, “sometimes recruiters forget, we are all human.”
One solution is to design a recruitment process that automatically asks referees if they’d like to join your talent pool. Adding a checkbox at the end of your referee forms can make all the difference.
The same process applies to exit interviews. Employees leave organisations for a number of reasons. By asking if employees would consider returning to your organisation during an exit interview, you can instantly create a warm talent pool.
“A lot of organisations aren’t doing anything with the data collected during exit interviews.”
If you use a software like Xref, you can automatically add this option to your reference and exit survey workflows. Referees and departing employees who opt-in, provide their details and get added to a talent pool.
Kieren says adding referees to your talent pool, “gives organisations the ability to open a searchable database that’ll offer lists of verified referees who are open to hearing from you.”
By using a talent pool in this way you can shorten the recruiting process by interacting directly with warm candidates who have already had crucial details verified.
Managing reputational risk is extremely important to leaders in aged care and NDIS-backed organisations. Unfortunately, even when all due diligence is conducted, bad hires may happen.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to maintain clear audit trails during recruiting. It’s important to use systems that show your organisation followed procedures to ensure hires and their referees were legitimate.
"With a clear audit trail you can show every stage of your hiring process was in line with HR compliance.”
The good news is, people management tools and reference checking softwares make it simpler to keep track of the hiring process and meet compliance demands. HR teams should choose technology that helps meet compliance demands and makes it easy to pull essential data when needed.
Kieren notes a common problem for recruiters in aged care and NDIS-backed organisations is that they also don’t want to lose their personal touch on the recruiting process.
Kieren shares, “I was working with an NDIS-backed organisation with 3 recruiters who hire around 100 to 200 people per year. Initially, they weren’t sure about swapping phone-based reference checks with a digital method.”
Recruiters relied on phone calls to provide a better idea of candidates and their referees. The problem was, a lot of time was spent trying to get candidates and their referees on the phone, “it was a heavy workload.”
After implementing Xref, recruiters were surprised to note hiring was better than before. “Xref provided more insights and better data. Generally, candidates and even referees can be nervous on the phone. With Xref, both parties get time to think about what they want to share.” This can be especially handy when referees haven’t worked with candidates in a while.
Automating reference checks ended up saving the organisation hundreds of hours per year and boosted peace of mind because compliance procedures were properly met.
“Each candidate had to provide two referees. That’s two hours per candidate spent reference checking. Xref turned this two hour job into a 30-second process,” says Kieren.
The challenges facing aged care and NDIS-backed organisations are amplified right now due to increased compliance demands and a growing talent shortage.
More than ever, recruiters need to be able to hire quickly and with the right due diligence.
By digitising reference checking, creating warmer talent pools and ensuring recruiting systems leave a clear audit trail, recruiters can not only hire faster but with better compliance.
For more information on how you can hire with more confidence in aged care and NDIS-backed organisations, watch the whole interview with Kieren here.