A Whole Team Approach to Recruitment

The room we used for recruitment workshops in Wigan was decked with bunting, and every table had a small vase of fresh flowers. On one wall was a huge map of the Ashton neighbourhood where the new team members would work. On the opposite wall was the colourful banner with the Wellbeing Team’s values and purpose. We were two hours into our recruitment workshop. There was a buzz in the room as the four of us on the recruitment team worked with twelve candidates. Towards the end of the recruitment workshop, there was an opportunity for people to interview us. The candidates could ask any one of the recruitment team a question.
The first question to Becky was an insightful one: “What are the best and worst parts of the role?”
Becky answered, “My colleagues and my colleagues!”
We laughed, and she went on to explain what she meant. The best thing was the strong bonds that are developed through self-management, and the most challenging was the expectation of dealing with issues directly rather than going through a manager.
Becky is a Wellbeing Worker who also has the role of Recruitment Coordinator and plays a critical part in our whole team approach to recruitment.
A whole team approach
You are likely to spend more time at work—and therefore with your colleagues—than you do with your partner or family. Who you work with and your relationship with them, therefore, is significant in your experience at work—and, given the time you spend at work, the quality of your life overall. Yet the decisions about who become your colleagues are usually made by a separate department in the organisation: the HR team.
Instead of an HR team leading recruitment, we have a different kind of recruitment team. It usually involves a Wellbeing Worker like Becky, the Wellbeing Leader, a Co-production Partner, and someone who uses our services. Other team members help out with recruitment workshops and Shadow Shifts. Our approach is that everyone in Wellbeing Teams is a recruiter, and we introduce this concept during induction.
This team approach brings a diverse range of strengths and perspectives to recruitment:
  • People who use our services know what it is like to receive support. They have strong ideas about what great support looks and feels like.
  • Co-production Partners know what it is like to have carers supporting their loved ones. They know what it feels like and what ‘good’ looks like.
  • Team members and the Recruitment Coordinator know what it is like to deliver the role and be part of the team.
  • The Wellbeing Leader is responsible for ensuring that the process meets legal and regulatory requirements. She is also the coach for the team and has insight into which candidates appear coachable and have a growth mindset.
Research by Gallup indicates that people join an organisation but leave their line manager. Given this, would you want to take a role without meeting and knowing a bit more about your potential line manager? Although a Wellbeing Leader is a coach and not a line manager, we think meeting the Wellbeing Leader and being able to ask them questions is important.
HR teams have important expertise in compliance with legal and regulatory expectations. In Wellbeing Teams, these responsibilities are shared by the Wellbeing Leader and our administrator, and we use an external HR consultant when this expertise is required.
As with all of the roles within Wellbeing Teams, we know how important it is to be clear about expectations and what ‘good’ looks like. Here are two examples of these roles, taken from our Finding Great Colleagues handbook for recruitment.
Recruitment Coordinator within the team: role description
In Wellbeing Teams, one of the roles taken by a team member is the Recruitment Co-ordinator.
Team members choose their roles based on their strengths or future aspirations. Becky chose the Recruitment Co-ordinator role, because she wanted to develop leadership skills for her future career.
Here is the description of this role from the handbook:
To support the team to grow through continuously looking for and finding great people.
Accountable for:
  • Supporting the team to use our Referral Cards (cards given to people who look like they could be a good fit with Wellbeing Teams).
  • Encouraging colleagues to think about friends or family who might be interested in joining us.
  • Using our ‘Finding Great Colleagues’ handbook and working in partnership with the Wellbeing Leader to use this.
  • Promptly making contact with people who have contacted us about the role (or through social media) and talking to them about Wellbeing Teams (the first conversation in the process).
  • Making sure we record information about candidates on the recruitment spreadsheet.
  • Making sure that new members have a warm welcome on Slack.
  • Reviewing and reflecting on our recruitment and induction process so that we can continually improve and sharing this with other teams.
Indicative time allocation: 1–2 hours a month (likely to be more when supporting induction and additional time to be negotiated with the team)
How will you know you are doing a good job?
You can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:
  1. Is the team using Referral cards?
  2. Can you explain our recruitment process and how our values are reflected within this?
  3. Are you getting in touch with prospective team members within a couple of days of them contacting us?
  4. Are you confident in explaining what a Wellbeing Team is and how it is different from traditional care?
  5. Do you know what to do next when you have had a first conversation with someone?
  6. Are you clear about the decision-making process for deciding to ask someone to join the team?
  7. Are you clear about how information needs to be recorded and how to do this?
  8. Would you feel confident supporting and coaching another team member to become the Recruitment Coordinator?
  • Referral cards
  • Finding Great Colleagues – Recruitment Guide
Admin Support for recruitment: role description
Claire is the Administrator for Wellbeing Teams, and one of her roles is to support recruitment. Here is the description of her role:
To support the team to grow through providing admin support to the recruitment team.
Accountable for:
To the team
  • Supporting the recruitment team to maintain recruitment records for an efficient process that also demonstrates our compliance.
  • Responding to requests for support from the recruitment team, for example by placing Facebook adverts.
  • Ensuring that the recruitment workshop resource box is complete and gets to the venue.
  • Contributing to the review of and reflection on our recruitment and induction process so that we can continually improve.
  • Sending out the evaluation SurveyMonkey to all candidates.
To candidates
  • Tracking candidates’ progress on the recruitment tracker.
  • Sending out the personality profiles and compiling results for the recruitment team.
  • Creating the personalised recruitment packs and sending these to candidates within two days of them being accepted onto the recruitment workshop.
  • Responding to any queries from candidates.
Indicative time allocation: Up to ten hours a month when doing a recruitment drive
How will you know you are doing a good job?
You can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:
  1. Are the candidate tracking records up to date?
  2. Is the recruitment workshop box complete and its contents up to date?
  3. Can you explain our recruitment process and how our values are reflected within this?
  4. Would you feel confident supporting and coaching another person to become the Administrator?
  • Recruitment tracking software
  • Finding Great Colleagues – Recruitment Guide
How to work together—roles, process, and handbook
Clear individual roles are only part of the story. They are important to make sure people know what to expect from each other so they can work well as a team during the recruitment process. Central to our recruitment process is the recruitment workshop, and the team decides before the workshop how they will work together to deliver it.
There are shared roles and individual roles, which can change from workshop to workshop.
Shared roles within the workshop
Everyone is expected to:
  • Introduce themselves at the start of the workshop
  • Be allocated 2–3 people to watch and make notes on for each section of the workshop using the feedback cards (these change for each activity, so everyone makes notes on each candidate)
  • Be part of the decision-making at the end of the workshop
  • Contribute to the review of the workshop and learning
Individual roles and expectations
  • Welcome Desk – checking people in, name badges
  • Hospitality – making sure people have a warm welcome and getting the prizes for spaghetti tower (e.g. a box of chocs that can be shared by the team)
  • Room preparation – making sure the room is ready (two team members take this role)
  • Paperwork – making sure we have the paperwork from candidates and that this is kept securely and given to Claire
  • Feedback cards – making sure the team has different feedback cards and are making notes on different candidates for each activity
  • Coordinator – overall coordination and facilitating the end-of-workshop discussion about who to invite to join the team
The person who takes the Coordinator role makes sure that roles are decided on together. They complete the detailed workshop planner with times (based on whether it is a morning or afternoon workshop) and add the person responsible for each role to the ‘who’ column. Below is an extract from the workshop planner.
Example of our recruitment workshop planner
What to do
Set up the room
Arrange tables café style
Set up a tea and coffee table, decorations, flowers, bunting etc.
Bunting, tablecloths, vases and flowers, biscuits, etc. to set up the room
Welcome desk: flowers, sign-in sheet and labels/coloured pens to create labels
Recruitment Case prepared by Claire who has the role of Admin Support for recruitment
Check that people are available the following day to get feedback
Welcome Reception
Tea and coffee
Help people to get refreshments
Collect application forms and check that they are complete
Take photos of passport/utilities bill, etc. for DBS
When we have worked in tandem with HR teams to recruit a Wellbeing Team, they usually take the role of being responsible for taking and processing the paperwork.
Paying attention to the messages we give about power
We pay attention to power when we think about the roles each team member takes in workshops. We are conscious of the stereotypes and messages that each role gives to candidates.
In the Wigan recruitment workshops, Helen, our Co-production Partner, was usually on the welcome desk to greet people and take their documents. This both played to her strengths and sent a message about the importance of her role within our work. Candidates, of course, did not know who she was when they met her at the welcome desk, but later found out when she introduced herself. When I was involved in recruitment workshops, I was the greeter waiting outside for people ‘Disney-style’. This is not a typical role for the Founder of an organisation, and I think that Helen looked more powerful than I did as she welcomed people, gave them packs, and took their information. It is important to keep thinking about the messages we give around power and status in recruitment.
Rethinking roles in recruitment
When we support Councils to recruit their own Wellbeing Teams, the HR partners are important members of the team who provide support, advice, and administrative assistance. For many HR teams, this represents a fundamental shift in power and control during recruitment: from HR leading the process to HR supporting the process.
Is it time to rethink who is involved in recruitment? Can we bring the decision-making process even closer to the people who will be directly involved with the successful candidate? If we want to do this, we need to think carefully about the recruitment roles of people who would be supported by the successful candidate and their colleagues as well as the manager or coach.
Martin Routledge
Convenor for Social Care Future 
What are my reflections?
With others I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about how lose-lose outcomes happen more often that any of us would like in the relationship between people who draw on social care and the workers and professionals supporting them and how win-win results could happen more. So much of this is about relationships that break down. These approaches to recruitment offer such great practical ways of doing this for teams – and teams are where the magic happens!
What does this mean for my organisation/the sector?
If our focus is on teams that work to help change lives we have to shift from traditional methods of recruiting people towards ones that put teams together with the best chance of achieving this.
Skip to content
%d bloggers like this: