What could be done differently with ‘Every Day is Different’
In February, the Government launched their national recruitment campaign ‘Every Day is Different’, with the aim of addressing the 110,000 vacancies in the adult social care sector. The campaign encourages people from all walks of life who share the right values to pursue a career in social care. As its initial phase draws to a close, this is an apt time to ask what the campaign has done well and how it could be improved – especially if the government hopes to make a real impact on the recruitment crisis in social care.
What has it done well?
The major accomplishment of the campaign has been shining a spotlight on the varied stories of carers working across the field. Through videos, photos and concise messages sourced from a care homes across the country, it has shown that carers from a variety of age groups and backgrounds are united by the purpose they find in their jobs. This is vital in order to break down the preconceptions of care work as unrewarding, but also to attract those with the right skills regardless of how they have come to care work. Care providers that haven’t already can follow the Government’s lead here by integrating the personal stories of their own carers into their recruitment campaigns and sharing these via social media.
How could it be improved?
First, while the stories the campaign tells are of great value, they are not being shared as best they could be. For one, the videos have been relegated to the campaign website and Facebook page -they should also be shared via Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat and a dedicated campaign Twitter. If the campaign is to attract the 20-39 year olds it hopes to, harnessing more social media than just a minor Facebook page is essential. For the same reasons, advertising on digital and local radio is not as likely to be as successful as advertising on podcasts and streaming services, where members of that demographic are like to be located.
More fundamentally, the campaign’s focus on values, over skills and experience, might be at odds with what providers need from recruits – skilled employees able to provide care to individuals with often complex and demanding conditions. This is symptomatic of a lack of initial engagement with care providers, with the government telling them what they need, as opposed to asking. Perfectly illustrating this, the campaign’s online ‘quiz’ simply decides you are suitable for a career in care after answering a series of common sense multiple choice questions.
Instead, perhaps the best path forward might be to emphasise the skilled nature of the job and the medical knowledge that carers gain. This can be done by profiling the skills and knowledge that are integral to the career, as opposed to just the values. The stories of individual carers could also highlight what skills they have learned in their jobs. Doing so will help attract the ambitious individuals who possess or intend to develop these skills, all while highlighting the value placed on a line of work often devalued in the public eye.
One much-need addition to the campaign, which would also tackle the perceptions of care as undervalued, would be hands-on action by Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, in the form of working shifts at care homes. This would bring invaluable attention to the campaign and care work itself, but would also send a powerful message that the Government recognises social care work as deserving of the utmost respect. Given Hancock’s apparent willingness to visit and work shifts at hospitals, it is high time he paid similar attention to care homes by rolling his sleeves up and getting stuck in.
Finally, the campaign’s two month time frame highlights the need for a more sustained effort from the Government to address the deficiency in highly-skilled carers. The Government must show a long-term commitment to addressing this issues, especially when it quotes the figure that a further 650,000 workers will be needed in the sector by 2035. Though doing so will likely require far more than a simple recruitment campaign, starting with the above changes will certainly
This article was written Ashley Van de Casteele (pictured above) an Account Executive at PLMR, a communications agency specialising in the health and social care sector, offering expertise in media relations, planning, digital marketing and public affairs.