How is it nearly August already?

Emma McNamara, UTS Workforce Strategy Lead reflects on how Time is still the “lead balloon” holding down the vital changes needed in our sectors.

I don’t know about anyone else, but this year is feeling like a whirlwind. Finally, we have had time to sit down grab a cuppa and have a few minutes to reflect. In the last 7 months, UTS have rebranded, built a new website, launched a Talent Strategy division, we have trained 10,618 learners from new starters to senior managers, enrolled 145 learners onto apprenticeship programmes from level 2 – 5 and delivered 6 new talent initiatives that have had our team interview over 350 new care workers, design 3 regional campaigns and launched a new social hiring page. Not forgetting our incredible partnership with @Skills for Care we have adjoined our specialists and presented at 3 events and to pop the cherry on the cake of chaos – implemented HubSpot to support our growing sales and marketing output.

Having this much insight into the ins and outs of the Health, Housing and Social Care sectors puts us in a Unique place to see the real challenges the sectors are facing with attracting and building robust high performing teams. There is certainly no lack of need from senior leadership teams to hire more people, it’s become business critical across the entire sector, matched with the need to train, reskill, and upskill new and existing employees. The issue remains that time still outweighs the risk; I mean hiring takes ages, taking people away from already understaffed services is frustrating and is time consuming for managers who are re- working rotas. Employees in general have super busy lives so putting time aside to learn new skills, go through a lengthy hiring process to find a new job or just being able to work additional hours feels overwhelming.

What we do see is that far too many people in Health, Housing and Social Care services are involved with the hiring and development, decision making processes, as a result it consistently feels “bitty”, knee jerk and more than a bit, out of control. Everything is being allowed to snowball because sitting back, dissecting the process, analysing, and then reworking, feels too hard and takes too long. When everyone is involved, there is no room for ultimate control. Someone must be the final game changer and even if the process of change will be hard work on top of more hard work, the opportunity cost of not changing this is too huge to think about.

So, what’s the answer? At UTS we believe in the art of pivot and pilot. Start small and go a bit leftfield. Dare I say the pandemic has made the whole world realise how important it is to have a bit of flex in the way we now do things.

For example,

When you are not attracting the candidates you need to an open vacancy – rip up the job advert and rewrite it again! Not re post it again. If this works, then rewrite all new job adverts! Maybe even ask the last person that started in that position, to help you write it!
If you have a shift within your rotas that is always an impossible task for your current team, look at creating a post specifically for those impossible hours as opposed to keep asking the same team to try and cover. If the shift gets filled, think of how this could support filling other difficult shift patterns.
Your induction training isn’t engaging your starters. We are still hearing a lot of services using eLearning platforms to start new employees on their care and support, career journeys. The retention rates for 100% self-learning are poor. More so now, than ever we need to be more “human” and “person centred” with our employees. If you do not have the physical provision needed to be present in training, consider a live remote learning platform. Your new staff need to have the best onboarding experience, trial live learning alongside eLearning and measure the increased engagement and performance.

It’s the classic “can’t see the wood for the trees” analogy.ÿ Reading these small pivots seem like no brainers, but over the course of the last 6 months – I’ve heard these issues every day and see the repetition in process again and again. It is so much easier to keep throwing the same stuff back out there and hoping for resolution. It’s not coming…… change must!

To discuss with Emma, how we can support pilot projects to support gradual change and solutions to future workforce challenges email her on

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