There are a huge number of Healthcare Assistants working in various setting across the UK, offering care to those in need. The role they do, whilst sometimes difficult, is very rewarding and offers a level of job satisfaction that is hard to find. So what does it mean to be an agency Healthcare Assistant? To become an agency Healthcare Assistant you need the following qualities: Flexible your job will vary day-to-day so you must be flexible to the needs of the people you care for Caring you will need to show empathy to everyone you work with from your colleagues to the families of those you care for Friendly you will need to get along with a variety of different people who may need different levels of care Reliable familes and service users will rely on you so you will need to make sure you arrive on time and follow the care plan in place Understanding you must be able to show understanding to people with a variety of needs, in a range of situations Motivated you must be able to self motivate, you cannot just "not feel like it" when caring for someone Patient you must be able to stay calm and be patient, even when service users are challenging or aggitated Enthusiastic you should be positive and enthusiastic so that the service users feel comfortable with you Healthcare Assistants are not only there to support physical safety and care but also emotional wellbeing. To find out more about what you need to be an agency HCA, check out the infographic below:
What are you up to this Bank Holiday weekend? Are you planning pub lunches, days out and barbeques with family and friends? What about your job search? The excitement of some time off can often mean that most people let their job search slide. So why not take advantage of the lull and get your CV out there ready for Tuesday morning? Here are our top tips for how to job search over the Bank Holiday weekend: Start early It doesn’t have to take up your whole weekend. Choose a morning and dedicate a couple of hours to working on it first thing. This will leave you with enough time to still make the most of the days and the predicted sunny weather! Update your CV With this extra time you could to go through your CV and update it with any new skills you might have. Take the time to write a few versions if you are applying for different jobs, tailoring them to the knowledge and experience needed for those roles. You could also write cover letter templates to go with each CV so that all you need to do is add a few bits of information in before sending it. Look for your dream job I know that’s probably what you are already doing but what about the companies who aren’t advertising for staff? Research the companies you would love to work for. You can use LinkedIn to find the people who work there and work out the best person for you to contact. So what should you say when contacting someone about a job when there isn’t one advertised? Here is a template you can use: Good morning _________, My name is ______ and I am a _________[insert your job title or preferred job title here]. I hope you are well. I understand that you aren’t advertising a job role like mine at the moment, but I would love to take this opportunity to introduce myself and find a bit more about what I can do to potentially work for you in the future. I had a look at your company website and I really loved the look of the business. I particularly liked______[give one or two examples of things that made you want to work for them]. For the past ____ years I have worked in_______[detail your experience here]. This has allowed me to pick up a variety of valuable skills including _________[list skills or training you have]. I have attached my CV to this email but please get in touch with me on ______ or email me back if you have any questions. Thank you for your time [Your name/signature] Get in touch with a recruiter - Even if you cannot find the perfect job, send your CV to a good recruiter. Make sure you include a cover letter explaining the type of roles you are interested in and let them know they best way to contact you. This will show your dedication to your search and allow the recruiter to help or direct you to someone else who can help. You can get in touch with your local Swanstaff recruiter by visiting our branch locator and clicking the “email us” button under your nearest branch. Can you think of any other ways a bank holiday can help your job search?
A group of potential employers and recruiters all in one place and looking to hire? It sounds like a job seekers dream but it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to network and get to know the people you’re applying to work for. So how can you prepare to make the most of visiting a job fair? We’ve broken it down into four stages; before the fair, on the day, during the fair and after it. Before the job fair you will need to: Print enough copies of your CV Depending on the size of the job fair you may want to bring one copy per job stand so that you’re ready. If it’s a particularly big job fair then try to work out how many will be relevant to you and print a few more than that (you don't want to run out!). Your CV should only be 1-2 pages so you should print them double sided if possible. That way you’re only handing them one piece of paper and there’s no chance of the two halves getting separated. Business cards If you have personal business cards then bring them. A business card is not essential but if you have one it will make you look both prepared and professional so make sure to bring enough! Research, research, research A job fair is a fantastic opportunity to speak to the people who will be involved in hiring you so you want to make a good impression. Find out which companies will be there and research the ones most relevant to you. You can use the knowledge you gather on the company to show that you have a real interest in working for them. Typically the first question they will ask is “why do you want to work for us?” so you should be ready with reasons you are interested in their company. On the day you will need to: Dress smartly Making a good first impression is important. You will need to dress smartly, as though you are attending an interview. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes (but not trainers) as you will be on your feet quite a bit. If you want to see more ideas of what to wear to look professional then check out our blog. Remember the essentials This will include a notepad for writing down contact details, a couple of pens, a diary/calendar so that you can schedule meetings whilst you are there and a bottle of water. You will often be given marketing materials so bring a small bag so that you will have somewhere to put them whilst you are speaking to other employers. When you get there: Get your bearings depending on the size of the job fair it may be worth walking around it once to work out the busiest stands. If you are given a map then sit down and circle the stands you are most interested in. This will help you plan a route to make sure you don’t miss anyone. Prioritise ones you are most interested in If you have enough time then it is worth visiting the employers you are least interested in first. This gives you the chance to warm up, practise your pitch and make sure you come across as confidently as possible for the ones you really care about. However, you will need to remember to keep an eye on the time and factor in the potential for waiting to speak with some employers. If you feel like you are running out of time then go and see your top choices as quickly as possible! Take notes When speaking to the employers always ask if they mind if you take some notes. They often won’t and will appreciate that you are taking the initiative to record important information. Write down the company name and the name of the person you spoke to. Ask them for their business card or contact details if they do not have one. You should ask what the next steps are (who needs to contact who and when). If possible find out the dates they plan to interview so that you can keep the days free for this. Ask questions Using your research try to ask questions about the organisation. Some other question you could ask might be: Is there a specific type of experience or training you like applicants to have? How would you describe working here? What can I do to help me stand out from other applicants? How often do you have positions come up? Are there opportunities for progression? After the job fair: Say thank you Using the contact details and business cards you gathered, send a thank you note to the person you spoke to. This could be an email, card or letter. This acknowledges the time they spent with you, creates direct contact and gives them a positive memory of you. Follow up If you were asked to email your CV to a specific person or come along to meet someone then make sure you do this. There is nothing worse than making a good first impression and then letting them down by being late or not getting in touch. If you leave it too long then you risk missing out on the roles they have. Find them on LinkedIn Try to find the people you spoke with on LinkedIn. Even if you aren’t able to work with them immediately they are great to add as part of your network as a long term opportunity. Attending a job fair is a great way to get to know employers and help them find out more about you. Can you think of any other tips on how to get the most out of a job fair? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re looking to meet with experienced recruiters you don’t need to wait for the job fairs. Check out our branch locator for your nearest team and give them a call to find out more about how a recruitment agency can help you!
Staff rewards are an essential part of an effective employee engagement strategy. They show staff that you value them whilst creating a good working environment and improving retention. Many leaders however struggle to implement them as they need to find incentives that fit their workplace. With this in mind we have come up with 8 ideas to help your staff feel valued. How many of these do you do? Provide tea, coffee and fruit. It may seem simple but providing you staff with a variety of drinks and healthy snacks can really make a difference. 60% of employees believe their employer should offer fresh fruit to staff in the workplace, according to research by British Summer Fruits. DJ for a Day. As a reward for someone who has done particularly well, allow them to be DJ for a day. This could mean letting them pick the radio station for the day or choosing the music style you listen to for a couple of hours. Whatever fits your workplace best. Monthly award. Create an area with a photo frame for a certificate. Each month choose someone who has gone above and beyond to be employee of the month. You could give them a prize for this or just leave the reward as the recognition of have a certificate with their name on up. Either way, your staff will appreciate that you noticed them. Professional development. One of the most important things you can offer your staff is training. Not only does this improve the knowledge within the team and make them more efficient at their job but it also means that they will be more loyal to the company, therefore improving retention. This could be anything from paying for them to go to a course, sending them to a seminar or allowing them the time in the workplace to watch a webinar. It doesn't always have to cost money as some sectors actually have free courses available online. It is worth looking around for this. Recognise hard work with a thank you note or card. Perhaps someone has brought in a new contract or helped another member of staff with their work. You can send them a handwritten thank you note or send an email to your staff letting them know about the excellent work this person has done. Event recognition for birthday, anniversaries and significant days. Whether this is sending them a card signed by the office, having the team sing them happy birthday at their desk or remembering things that are happening to them outside of work (such as weddings, births etc). Taking the time to remember these things is important for showing that you value your staff as people rather than just workers. Creating a good social scene in your workplace can really help your team bond. Arranging social events can be more than just a Christmas party. Try to find interests your staff have in common. You can suggest cinema trips, pizza lunches, drinks nights or going for dinner with staff after work occasionally. Great office space. Having a great office space can be the difference between your staff enjoying their time at work and being excited to get out the door! Allow your staff to personalise their desks and make sure the office is an inspiring place to work. This means more than just putting up a couple of inspirational quotes. You can see our full blog on this here. Can you think of any other simple rewards you could introduce into the workplace? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re looking for new staff to bring into your workplace then get in touch with your local Swanstaff branch to find out more about how we can help you.
Team building. It’s sometimes seen as the marmite of the employee engagement world. You either love it or you hate it! We're here to show you how you can plan team building activities that won’t bore your staff and will actually increase employee engagement. There are a number of factors to consider: The size of your team Some tasks won’t suit smaller teams and so you may need to plan to use a different space if you have a large group. The personalities within your team Are they introverts or extroverts? The likes and dislikes of the individuals Are they really sporty? You want to make sure you pick something everyone will want to get involved in. Now have a think about what you would like to gain from the team building activity? Are you trying to improve problem solving skills, help people get to know one another or maybe something else? So, keeping your answers to all of the above in mind, here are our top 5 team building activities that we've run at company events and our staff have loved! Knowing Me, Knowing You This team building task is essentially a scavenger hunt but instead of items you need to find people. All you need to do is set a range of qualities or attributes for people to find. This could be anything from someone with blue eyes, someone with a horse, someone who drives a BMW etc. The only rule is that you can only put someone’s name down once on the sheet. Group size: Unlimited (the bigger the better!) Length: 15-45 minutes depending on group size Benefits: Relationship building, creating discussion Do Good, Feel Good Plan a charity event. Split your group into teams (if you have more than 10 people) and ask them to choose a charity and then come up with a creative fundraising idea. You could give them a budget to spend but you don’t have to. At the end ask people to vote for their favourite idea and then run this as a charity event. Group size: Unlimited Length: 20 minutes Benefits: Problem solving, creating discussion Common Knowledge Find five things you all have in common with each other. For this one it works best in smaller groups. Maybe you all have a freckle on your left thumb, or all love country music? This one is great as a warm up task before a bigger team building task. Try to think outside the box with your answers! Group size: 2-5 (any bigger and it tends to be impossible!) Length: 5-15 minutes depending on group size Benefits: Relationship building, creating discussion Who Do You Think You Are There are a number of great personality quizzes out there that you can print or do online. Choose one of these and get people to take it. Once you have the results, get people to stand with others with similar personalities and see if there are any who surprise you. Discuss your results in teams and use the information you learn to get to know your team better. Group size: Unlimited Length: Dependant on quiz Benefits: Relationship building, create discussion The Apprentice Split people into teams. Ask them to create a product or service around a topic of your choice. Provide them with lined paper, A3 paper and coloured pens and ask them to split themselves in half. One half will be Marketing and Design, they will come up with a logo, tagline, marketing plan and marketing budget for their product or service. The other will be Sales and Finance, they will work out the costs and how the will pitch their product and who it will be aimed at. This task is a great one for sales people and gets them to think about production costs, marketing, office costs and so much more that goes into selling a product or service. Ask your CEO or Manager to pick a winner from the pitches. Group size: Split into teams of 4-6 Length: 45 minutes Benefits: Problem solving, creating discussion Can you think of any other team building tasks you could try? Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re currently looking for a new job then check out our current vacancies here, if you’re looking to hire new staff, then check out our branch locator to find your nearest branch and get in touch with them.
On July 5th Swanstaff ventured out into the sunshine to compete in our second company-wide summer sport’s day! The event took place at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel. The day included egg and spoon, sack, skipping and relay races as well as a few games of rounders. As to be expected from a company assembled of sales people, the competitive spirits were high and tensions were raised when the scores came close. The overall winners of the day were the team Wack, Sack and Track which showed our finance department to be the sportiest Swans of them all. Stephen Rogers, CEO said “Holding a sports day at one of our quarterly events is certainly a change up to the usual day as a Swanstaff employee but a really special day all in all. The joy of seeing different departments all competing against one another works as a great team building activity and really improves employee well being.” Overall the day was a huge success and we look forward to next years being bigger and better than the last 2 combined. If you’d be interested in becoming a Swan and joining one of our teams at next years sports day, please get in touch with our talent department at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are so many myths surrounding working in care and today we’re helping to bust them! Myth 1 - There Isn’t Any Development Or Progression This myth couldn’t be more false. In fact, many recruitment agencies and care providers will work to upskill their staff and promote existing staff members where possible. The more skills and experience you have, the more pay you will be on, just like any other job. At Swanstaff we have our own training team and offer free or discounted training to our agency staff. The more skills they have, the more opportunities we have to place them out so there is in fact a lot of progression wherever you work in care. Myth 2 - Care Work In Long Hours On Low Pay Pay in care work care vary depending on the type of role you are in and what your skills and experience are, however it is not a low paid job. The unusual hours that care workers work can be off putting to some people, however the flexible nature of the job (especially within agency work) can be a great option for people trying to fit in working around studying, family or other commitments. Myth 3 - Care Work Is Unfulfilling Despite the negative perception of care work, 96% of carers said that they feel their work makes a difference. In fact, we are sure that many would agree that looking after other people is one of the most rewarding careers a person can choose. Are there any other myths around working in care that you can think of? What’s your favourite thing about working in care? If you’re looking for work then check out our current vacancies here, or visit our branch locator to find your nearest branch and get in touch with them.
A team of 17 Swanstaff Employees took to the water on July 1st in support of Stacey’s Smiles – a Kent based charity supporting children with Neuroblastoma Cancer. 40 teams took part in the annual Dragon Boat event at Mote Park run by the KM Charity Team, and Swanstaff finished 25th completing their fastest race in 51 seconds! Swans raised over £700 for the charity which provides special treats and wishes to Neuroblastoma children and support to their families. The charity was founded in 2016 by Samantha and Warren Mowle and their son Jake after their daughter Stacey passed away aged 9. Find out more about this amazing charity here http://www.staceyssmiles.org Thank you for your support!
Starting a new job is a nerve wracking experience. There’s no other way of putting it. You’re not too sure where everything is, who everyone is and someone keeps hiding the printer! With these things in mind it’s easy to understand why it might be worth you introducing a buddy system as a tool your new starter can use to get settled in. A buddy can provide support, socialisation and share insight into the organisation. Essentially they help them feel less like an outsider and more like part of the team! With that in mind here are the top 3 reasons to use a buddy scheme, explained: Support A buddy can provide them with support in their role. They can answer any questions they might have about the organisation and policies, as well as advice on the expectations and what the culture is like within the company to help them fit in. Social A buddy allows them to get to know someone who they might not necessarily work with directly. This gets them talking and socialising with more people and settling in with the team as a whole. Sharing The best thing a buddy can do is share insight into the organisation. They can direct the new starter on the best people to speak to regarding different topics and make introductions to help a new starter feel more settled and in touch with the people they need to be. Tamzyn Roscoe in our HR team at Swanstaff said: “Starting a new job can be very daunting and stressful, therefore we like to assign a ‘buddy’ to ensure that they have all of the support they need. Their buddy is someone who works in a different location allowing them to meet other employees and have a range of different people to access support from. We have found our scheme to be hugely successful and highly recommend using one.” Has your company got a buddy system or would you like to introduce one? What are your top tips for settling new starters? Let us know in the comments! If you’re looking for new staff then get in touch with your local branch today.