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Cultivating Excellence in Care Recruitment: with HCRG’s People Services Director

Tags: Recruitment Process, Recruitment Transformation

Care recruitment is one of the toughest markets out there. It’s highly competitive, highly regulated, and demand continues to outpace supply by an order of magnitude. But despite these challenges, HCRG Care Group have enjoyed some real recruitment success over recent years – ultimately achieving a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ CQC rating across 97% of services. HCRG’s Paul Lundbeck joined us and shared some brilliant advice.


In the third episode of The View – our new series sharing expert advice from the world of recruitment, HR, and marketing – we were joined by Paul Lundbeck, People Services Director at HCRG Care Group.

HCRG Care Group is one of the UK’s largest community health and care providers, supporting communities of many millions across England and Wales. The organisation has around 5000 health and care professionals and typically recruits around 1300 people (perm and temp) each year, across a wide range of services and about 500 geographical locations. 

During his time at HCRG, Paul has overseen radical modernisation of HCRG’s recruitment function — totally transforming the value and perception of recruitment.(Here’s how: read the case study).

Catch up with this episode of The View on-demand here or keep reading for Paul’s top care recruitment tips.


5 healthcare recruitment tips from HCRG Care Group

1 – Showcase the variety of healthcare jobs

One of healthcare recruitment’s biggest challenges is attracting people into the sector. The care workforce is aging, demand far outstrips supply, and the funnel of talent coming from college and university isn’t strong enough.

Paul reckons part of the problem is people not understanding the breadth and variety of healthcare career options: 

“There’s a common perception of health and care work. But many roles don’t involve being in a cubicle in a hospital environment. There are many roles where you could be out in schools; in prisons; in the community; supporting people with mental health, and so on.”

Some ideas:

  • Increase your social media presence
  • Introduce brand ambassadors
  • Create employee-led content 
  • Host open days showcasing different services
  • Create more descriptive job ads
  • Drive cross-service visibility to get candidates applying for multiple roles
  • Develop out-of-the-box recruitment campaigns

Read more candidate attraction tips for health and social care. 


2 – Minimise barriers to changing career

“The days of someone spending their whole career with one employer are long gone”, Paul says. But the healthcare sector loses people because transferring jobs within healthcare can be majorly off-putting, with lots of strict compliance and training. 

“Of course we need to ensure staff are vetted and we’re doing Safer Employment but there are still unnecessary barriers to people moving within care. I’d love to see national health and care providers working together, to make transferring easier, because that’s mutually beneficial for everyone.”


Some ideas:


3  – Ensure new hires understand your culture 

Many healthcare organisations and services are plagued with high turnover. Addressing staff retention has been one of HCRG’s big focuses, to ensure the time, effort, and investment put into recruitment pays off with a happy, productive, long-term hire.

For Paul, a huge part of that has been ensuring their recruitment process accurately communicates the HCRG culture:

“HCRG’s mission is to change lives through transforming health and care. We’re an organisation that transforms and changes. We use our clinical experts to design services that are always improving, and we’re always piloting new ways of working. 

That environment really appeals to some people, but not as much to others. We work hard to draw that out in our recruitment, so people understand the culture they’ll be coming into.”

Building a culture of retention means keeping more of the people you’ve worked so hard to hire. Sounds like a winner to us.

Some ideas:

  • Conduct a culture review to fully understand organisational culture
  • Interview managers to understand team culture and management style
  • Include situational candidate assessments to help bring roles to life 
  • Create day-in-the-life style content to educate candidates
  • Create employer branding collateral to showcase your culture  
  • Make time for the human touch when hiring to give candidates plenty of info
  • Be transparent about your flaws as well as your strengths 


4 – Work with people on the frontline to improve benefits

At its best, recruitment is a collaborative function that is entwined with, not siloed from, business-as-usual. A sure-fire route to unhappy managers and high churn. 

Paul talks about the importance for HCRG of ensuring this connection between the people team and clinical staff, to help develop a culture that attracts and retains. One of HCRG’s biggest wins over the past few years has been focussing on improving benefits: 

“People don’t come into healthcare for the pay. But we know the pay pressure the sector faces and there’s little money for salary increases to address that. 

So we’ve focussed on improving our benefits package, starting with listening to our colleagues to see what they’re asking for and what areas we could improve. Then we support colleagues to co-create the support packages that matter for them. 

We don’t have much budget for this, so working with our clinical teams is critical to develop low-cost, high-impact benefits.”


Some ideas:

  • Tap into employee resource groups to understand what’s important
  • Talk to jobseekers and candidates to learn what matters to them
  • Create resources to support managers to support their teams 
  • Hold regular town hall meetings to encourage frontline input
  • Facilitate anonymous ideas, comments and feedback
  • Personalise benefits: different services might have different priorities


5 – Double-down on candidate experience

“Every health and care organisation is trying to recruit from the same staffing pool”, Paul emphasises. “For us, being responsive to candidates has been really important to successful hiring.”

HCRG Care Group has been lucky to have investment to scale their recruitment team from 5 to 13 people, which has helped increase recruitment’s bandwidth. 

But having the right recruitment software has also been important, helping them unlock efficiencies, end ghosting, and accelerate time-to-hire. Paul’s team have also worked closely with marketing to develop their employer value proposition and ensure that’s reflected with smart attraction marketing campaigns.

The results speak for themselves:

  • Time-to-hire almost halved
  • Increased applications by 47%
  • Increased website visits by 106%
  • Time in compliance cut by 62% 
  • Grew FTE headcount by 5% despite higher-than-usual churn 
  • All candidates hear from a recruiter within 48-hours

Read how HCRG Care Group did it.  


Tribepad is the trusted tech ally to smart(er) recruiters everywhere. Our talent acquisition software is a springboard for faster, fairer, better recruitment for everyone. 

Trusted by organisations like Bupa, Signature, NHS Professionals, Turning Point, and HCRG Care Group, 25-million people in 16 languages use our talent platform. 

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