Innovative approaches to creating a brand that employees identify with have seen Care UK selected as finalists in two categories of a major awards scheme.
The Colchester-based company has reached the finals of the Employer Brand Management Awards, which seeks to find and celebrate excellence in campaigns that support employee recruitment and retention, as well as brand cohesion and consistency.
By 2035, 1.7m UK residents will be aged 85 or over and requiring care. The demand for health and social care services is rising and so is the competition for excellent care professionals.
Care UK, which runs 120 homes with more than 9,000 employees, has ambitious strategic growth plans to meet this demand, opening 26 new homes over the next three years. This makes attracting and retaining hundreds of new, high-calibre colleagues, while nurturing existing colleagues, a significant priority.
Leah Queripel, human resources director for Care UK’s Residential Care Services business, said: “We know that to attract the right people we have to have a brand that differentiates us from our competitors – one that shows our ethos, compassion and commitment and one that emphasises the investment we put into our training and career development.
“We also need to boost engagement levels among colleagues, ensuring they are aware of career opportunities as well as the commercial environment we work within.”
The team used visits to care homes to gain an accurate impression of the environment, culture and resident service offering, and interviewed senior leaders and employees as well as carrying out market, trend and competitor research to enable them to develop a stand-out proposition, teamed with messaging and creative execution, that encapsulated the aims and ethos of the brand.
The key branding messages that came out of the research were: ‘It’s about people who care’; and ‘It’s about being given the time to care’. The proposition was articulated creatively through the strapline ‘fulfilling lives, fulfilling careers.’
This also formed the core of the creative idea and employer brand:
- Care UK employees fulfil residents’ lives by treating each resident as an individual and enabling them all to enjoy meaningful experiences.
- Care UK fulfils the lives of its employees by fulfilling their careers through training, career development, and a supportive team environment.
The strategy was a success, with a five per cent increase in direct nursing applications in the space of six months. Employee engagement improved by 10 per cent compared to the previous year.
Additionally, the company saw a dramatic 330 per cent increase in application rates in the first month of the campaign – from an average of 3,500 to more than 15,000 applications. The number of job offers also doubled in volume every month during 2017. The business currently receives around 9,000 job applications per month and offers jobs to some 10 per cent of applicants.
Now Care UK has reached the finals in two categories: Best Employer Brand Management Innovation and Best Digital Communications of the Employer Brand.
Leah said: “I am very pleased that the hard work and insight of our team created an employer brand that has been recognised by such a distinguished panel. The results of our work on this project will benefit thousands of older, vulnerable people for many years and will support residents and those who care for them to live fulfilling lives.”
The Employer Brand Management Awards winners will be announced at a ceremony that will take place on 19 April in London.