Involving family in recruitment

Today, let’s meet the lady who sent a letter to the families of the people she supports, asking them if they’d like to have input into recruiting the people that support their loved ones.

Hi Sandra, let’s start with a bit about your background please?

Sure, I started as a support worker for Somerset County Council in 1989. Oh, my goodness! I’m getting to my 35th year when I’ll get my long service award!

At the point of transfer to Discovery in 2017, I became a better practice lead, then in March 2020, when COVID hit, I became acting locality manager so in June 2021, I successfully applied to be an actual locality manager.  

When I started, we were only partially meeting expectations, but we had another full inspection last month and were meeting expectations across the board. 

The team are phenomenal, how they adapt and go above and beyond in supporting people through the COVID outbreak is impressive. I couldn’t praise them more. I couldn’t ask for a better set of values in the people I work with; they’re brilliant.

So here I am, absolutely loving it. I am excited about the future, what we can achieve, and what we want to do as a team. One of those things is involving families in the recruitment process, so I sent out a letter to all the families asking if they would like input and gave them four options they might want to consider. 

They are: 

  1. Write a statement on behalf of yourself and your loved one to be used in an advert.
  2. Write a question to be asked at the interview. 
  3. An opportunity to join the interview panel (technology allowing) so you can ask the important questions, for you and your loved one.
  4. No involvement, but keep me informed. 

All but one responded, and only one chose option 4. So now we have statements and questions from families included in our recruitment process.

Fantastic! Is this something that you came up with yourself? 

As managers, we’ve talked a lot about how we can engage families more in what we do, not just by keeping in contact with cards and visits, but how they can have a say in the people that support their loved ones. 

Families know more about their loved ones than we ever will. They know the critical questions to ask from a family perspective, much more than we do. 

It’s a holistic approach to the support that we give. It is about good leadership, engagement with families, and being responsive to the needs of the people we support too. The more family involvement, the more settled and happy the people we support are.

It’s off to a good start, we did the first interview the other day, which was a success, and we’ve got a date booked at a Job Centre, where we’re anticipating interviews, and the family questions will form part of the interview then too. So fingers crossed, I’ll have even more great people to work with soon! 

To find out more about how we support families go here. 

And if you would like to be part of a great team like Sandra’s, you’ll find them all across Discovery! Join us here. 

“As a parent whose daughter has special needs, I encourage you to apply to work with Discovery. You will quickly get to know the character of the people you support and learn their individual needs. You will enjoy shopping, going for walks, outings, swimming, and supporting holidays together. Also, home visits and helping them keep in contact with their families. This post will bring satisfaction and personal reward for a compassionate people loving person.”