Our focus was on whether the new staff interacted in a meaningful way with the people who live at Cherriton. As we all say ‘it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it”. So, we supported everyone to update our joint wish list and of course what we were looking for was that dynamic and facilitative staff member that walks through the front door!
Our ‘meet and greet’ process involved everyone who lives at Cherriton, but one lady in particular, Barbara, took the lead. She was like my PA! Barbara and I met with the staff who would be on shift for the meet and greet sessions. Barbara had her own pen and paper and before we started, we explained that it was very important that we get this right. Barbara listened carefully.
Each staff member completed the ‘meeting the people we support observation sheet’ for all candidates who attended a ‘meet and greet’. Each candidate was given a two and a half hour time slot at the service. This enabled the staff to ask the candidate questions and for the candidate to ask questions to the staff team. This also enabled the staff to observe the candidate to see if any of the ten facilitation skills were being used.
The testing point was yet to come, as Barbara loves music! After Barbara introduced the candidate to the other people who live at the service and the staff on duty, they were taken into the lounge area and immediately Barbara took out her karaoke machine and began to sing ‘Edelweiss’. She turned to the candidate and asked them to sing with her on the karaoke machine and what do you think they did? Well each and every one of them joined in with enthusiasm!
When all the ‘meet and greets’ had been completed, we then had to make a decision on who everyone thought were the successful candidates. In turn, we went through our observation sheets, involving Barbara at all times. We asked Barbara, on behalf of everyone living at Cherriton, who she felt would be most suited to work with us. To do this, we asked Barbara: “the lady with the dark hair or the lady with the blonde hair?” Barbara replied, “the lady with the blonde hair”, as she drew a picture of Lorraine. She chose Joe as the second member of staff.
For me, as a frontline manager, this was an uplifting experience and a most successful approach as we involved everyone at Cherriton in the recruitment process to get the desired outcome. My staff team and I also learnt that we can communicate in an effective way with people with profound learning disabilities about things that can at first look complex, but with thought and planning can be broken down into meaningful parts. We were able to get it right this time by involving everyone creatively in the recruitment process.
Head of service