Recruiting Enablement Blog



Q&A with Rachael Sinnott of Barchester Healthcare

Charles Hipps December 23, 2020

In the run-up to the Christmas period, we are publishing the full transcripts from our interviews with finalists from the In-house Recruitment Manager (Individual) category at the In-house Recruitment Awards 2020.

Today, we profile Rachael Sinnott, Recruitment Manager - South Division at Barchester Healthcare.

Q1: 2020 has been an interesting year, tell us about your talent acquisition challenges and how you have been resolving these?

With the unpredictability of Covid-19 and its effects on the care sector, knowing where and when our services will be impacted and responding to the changes in our workforce and staffing levels has been unprecedented this year. More than ever, our services have needed to be well supported by us at all hours of the day. As a Recruitment Team, although there is a need for efficiency in our response, it was imperative that we sourced candidates who would maintain the standards we expect for our residents, patients and service users.  Being well-staffed throughout this period has been hugely important to ensure the safety and well-being of those we care for has never been compromised, despite the pressures and challenges faced.

As a team, we have been both proactive and reactive to the needs of our services in real time and worked closely with the Operations Teams on the ground to provide them with a steady flow of candidates. The strong relationship we have developed with the General Managers and stakeholders in our homes and hospitals, has allowed us to take a solution based approach, resolving challenges quickly and responsively during a period when time has not been something we’ve had in abundance. Remaining flexible to work around General Managers availability, whilst taking into account the pressures they are facing has been one of our priorities. Strong communication within our own team and working collaboratively with the Operations Teams has allowed us to focus on the main areas/locations that have desperately needed our focus and support. In addition, transparency with our candidates, about the pressures and expectations on them at a time like this, has also been vital and has allowed us to provide an efficient and effective service to both our candidates and our stakeholders/services. 

We have worked hard at keeping the team spirit and morale up as motivation and a pro-active approach has been key to our performance on a day to day basis. Ensuring the team feel valued as individuals for their contribution and hard work, has been hugely important. This has translated into their approach with candidates, who hear first-hand what a fantastic company Barchester Healthcare is, from Recruiters who genuinely have a passion for what they do and the company they work for.  

Q2: What would you say are your biggest accomplishments this year?

This year has been a year like no other. With that in mind, it hasn’t been all about the figures/numbers when it comes to measuring our accomplishments/successes.  The bigger picture has been providing a streamlined service that has worked cohesively with our Hiring Managers, aiming to limit the additional pressure they have been under this year due to the pandemic.  As a team, this is an area I feel we have not only delivered, but excelled in. 

We have been able to avoid the need to lean heavily on temporary and permanent agency staffing as a solution. This is something both myself and the team can take pride in as we have seen our temp agency usage drop significantly this year, at a time when it may have been understandable to have increased due to the challenges faced across our services. We have been able to provide a service that has allowed us to almost eradicate permanent agency usage, not only saving the business money but also ensuring our Hiring Managers and stakeholders can be confident in our sourcing and delivery of candidates.

Q3: What advice would you offer others for 2021 and the slow return to normal that we are hearing about?

2020 has taken us all by surprise and if it has taught us anything it is to prepare for the unexpected.  Ensuring your team remains positive, proactive and solution based is invaluable to providing an excellent service. 

With the potential return to normal, it is important to continue on with the positives we have all come to value more in 2020 – the working together approach, consideration and understanding of challenges colleagues are facing, while looking for the most efficient, effective solutions to meet their Recruitment needs. Regular communication with your team, candidates and Hiring Managers alike, is key to being as well prepared as possible if hit by a crisis.

We have streamlined processes to enhance and fast-track turnaround during the pandemic and many of these new or improved methods have been a success. My advice would be to reflect upon the progress that has been made as result of these improvements and take them forward as permanent changes to working life and recruiting. The challenges that we all faced so unexpectedly, have seen such a pro-active response, not just here at Barchester but across the whole sector. This is something to be very proud of and take forward as normality slowly resumes.
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