The Productivity Commission (2011) predicted that 3.5 million Australians will be accessing aged care services every year by 2050, requiring a workforce of almost one million direct care workers.
While 30 years may be some time away, customer-led NFP organisations like Bolton Clarke are already feeling the impact of increased competition for workers, particularly nurses. The aged care provider has a proud 209 years of combined history, experience, and proven expertise, delivering high quality and comprehensive services to over 23,000 people every day.
“We have 26 aged care facilities as well as 35 at-home support hubs and 26 retirement living locations,” explains Lisa Milinkov, HR Operations Manager, adding that with 5,500 employees, “that results in a very high volume of recruitment for us.”
Then there’s the generally high turnover in the industry. “People will jump from provider to provider,” said Matt Baker, Manager People, Projects & Performance. “As well, at-home support means we don’t exactly know, from quarter to quarter, or month to month, how many packages we will need to service. There’s a lot of agility required and we need to act very quickly to get registered nurses or personal care workers.”
The move to JobAdder
Bolton Clarke already had a recruitment solution in place, “but the system was slow and consistently had technical difficulties, which meant the system would be inaccessible for hours, sometimes days at a time. Also, customisation was difficult and generally required a consultant.
“Once we heard that our previous provider was going to finally build an API but then charge each client thousands of dollars a year for it as an ‘extra’ on top of the standard package price, it was pretty easy to move away from them and appreciate the value that JobAdder provides with its platform,” explained Matt.
“We were also looking to be more agile in testing what works and doesn’t work for us in recruiting the right people – therefore we needed a solid dependable ATS. The money we saved by moving away from the legacy system allowed us room to explore other options such as language assessments and CV checking services – and we were confident in JobAdder’s ability to connect and share data with other recruitment tools,” he added.
“If we were to stay with the previous ATS we probably would have had to double the team size to cope with just having to work in that system,” said Lisa adding, “but it would have taken much longer.”
There were additional consequences that came to light. “We were losing good applicants and getting a lot of negative feedback about time-to-hire delays because we were using an unreliable system that constantly crashed. We also couldn’t easily adapt and streamline our process to reduce time-to-hire because of the customisation limitations of the old system,” said Matt.
Matt had considered JobAdder for a previous company and been very impressed, however “the biggest promoter was our Talent & Acquisition Manager who had previously used JobAdder for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and raved about it,” said Matt.
Bolton Clarke did their due diligence, assessing the company’s requirements, as well as getting an understanding of the positives and shortcomings of their existing system. The team then reviewed a few systems before settling on JobAdder. For Bolton Clarke, a few checkboxes needed to be ticked, including the flexibility of the system to be customisable, service uptime, cloud security in line with Australian privacy principles, an easy to master interface, a quick implementation timeframe, reasonable pricing, and process automation. JobAdder met all of these requirements.
Tweaking the system
Matt felt that the implementation process went smoothly, “once we got our heads around how the administrative sections were split between jobs, candidates, and companies. Our JobAdder consultant was very helpful and the process we stepped through was well-structured.
“If we had any questions in which the answers weren’t immediately known, we’d generally get a response within a matter of hours. The recruitment team was comfortable using the software after only two hours of training, so it was intuitive to use,” he said.
It only took a few weeks, with Bolton Clarke finessing the process and communication templates prior to go-live. “If we had everything ready to go or were transferring an established recruitment process, it could have been accomplished within two weeks.
“The training required was minimal, and it was handy for us to be able to constantly tweak pretty much everything as we built it. I expected that at least a few weeks of support and troubleshooting would be required post-implementation, however, it wasn’t needed as the recruiters seemed to pick it up very easily. Overall, it exceeded my expectations as I’d never been involved in an implementation that was as quick and as smooth as JobAdder,” said Matt.
Lisa added: “In six months I’ve basically rebuilt JobAdder three times because we’ve made changes and we’ve had to go through the whole process and build it again. Three times in six months. There is no way we would have been able to make those changes that quickly [with the old system] and without cost. And we just did it internally.”
While the feedback from the company’s recruiters has been positive, what’s been most noticeable is that this has revolved around “possibilities rather than issues – how we can tweak our process to reduce friction, communicate more and personalise how we approach particular kinds of candidates,” he said.
Tracking the numbers
And of what the metrics Bolton Clarke has tracked? “The major one would be our time to hire. That’s been smashed down to around 22-odd days so we’ve halved what the KPI was,” said Matt.
In addition, Lisa notes that the team has received over 24,000 applications. “We have five recruiters so they go through quite a volume compared to what other teams probably go through,” and along with three recruitment agents, “we’ve placed 1,800 people through JobAdder in the last six months.”
Meanwhile, JobAdder’s integration with Xref has transformed the reference checking component of the recruitment process. “Turnaround time was something like two weeks; that’s now 23 hours I think, so that’s reduced dramatically,” added Matt.
The team also uses SureEmploy for medical checks, explained Lisa. “That took weeks as well and now the average turnaround time is less than 24 hours.” Switching on the HelloSign integration has reduced turnaround time for contracts to be signed down to 1-2 days, “whereas we normally provide candidates with three days anyway, but we were constantly backed up. That was an issue in itself because it had to be manually tracked by our email, back and forth one-by-one, whereas now we do it via JobAdder in bulk once a day based on status, so that’s really easy,” she added.
Matt and Lisa also spoke of their experiences using the Hiring Manager portal. “Prior to that, there was no real system for managers. They would submit a job requisition and then it was left up to the recruiter and the manager to communicate,” said Lisa. “It’s been great to provide visibility of the recruitment activity to hiring managers and be a single location for their recruitment needs. Previously, sharing applications involved zipping up CVs and sending them via email, which led to them getting lost fairly easily,” added Matt.
On using JobAdder’s analytics tool, Matt noted that PowerAdder “has been valuable to have our metrics readily available to dive into and report on. It’s drastically reduced our time to collate reports and provide more in-depth analysis than we’ve previously been able to do.”
Moving forward, Lisa has no doubt that JobAdder will continue to provide the team with what they need. “There is no doubt that it’s helped us already. There is no way we would have been in the position we are in now. It has just given us the ability to process and track applications in bulk and not have to worry that the system will limit us in any way. We can get on with our recruitment activities without having to worry about JobAdder.”
“We now have a really solid core ATS,” added Matt. “It’s enabling our recruiters to spend more time with candidates and also lets us now focus on the applicant’s experience and, following that, the employee experience.”