This month Joe Meets Kieran Porter

Each month I get up close with key stakeholders in social care. This month I meet Kieran Porter, Healthcare Recruiter and Director at Standby Healthcare and Watson Black Search & Selection.

Tell us a bit about your businesses?  What makes them different to a traditional recruitment agency?

In short, Standby Healthcare is a temporary agency providing 24/7 cover to the private sector across the north for Elderly, Complex Care and Children’s Services. Watson Black is permanent recruitment agency that operates nationally for clinical and managerial roles

I guess the difference comes with being as transparent as possible to be able to work in partnership with these organisations rather than, how quickly can we line our pockets. We provide incredible attention to detail and without giving away our trade secrets, no agency in our region is doing what we do in regards to prepping workers prior to covering a shift.

What inspired you to join Standby Healthcare and found Watson Black?

Watson Black was a simple solution, keep the temporary and permanent recruitment solutions separate which allowed parties to differentiate between the ‘search’ solution and the short-term cover.

Joining Standby Healthcare however was a different story all together. I’d never heard of the company or brand, nor had I ever worked in temporary recruitment before. After a long meeting with Founder and fellow Director, Alex Williams, I knew that this was a real opportunity to create something special with someone who wanted the same thing…. Excellence and quality in healthcare recruitment

As well as being an agency care provider, you are a judge for the Great British Care Awards. How have you found this and have you been able to take lessons away?

Inspiring! It’s been great to give something back and in turn, really listen to the fantastic work that is being done right across the sector and specifically, the North East. I think as a sector, it’s really easy for the focus to be on ‘the government are inadequate’ or ‘skilled vs unskilled’ but in reality, the good news stories go unmissed and there are 100’s, if not 1000’s every day!

How has the pandemic has changed the face of recruitment in social care and in turn impacted your business?

Social care vacancies have always outweighed the number of suitable candidates across the sector and unfortunately that has become more prevalent given the pandemic. Candidates can now take their pick of the vacancies they fancy and unfortunately it seems that providers are left to fight between themselves, hiking up salaries and hourly rates in a time when it really isn’t needed. We as a business froze our rates and percentages and, in many circumstances, dropped them to be more accommodating in difficult times.

What lessons did you learn from the pandemic and how will this shape your business going forward?

Process is key! Early on in the pandemic, we had to adjust very quickly but that also made us realise that some of the systems we had in place, weren’t fit for purpose. We now have bespoke systems across the business which can be personalised to our clients and 360 satisfaction of clients and candidates is paramount. Routine is what makes a lot of people tick but I find it’s change that makes people thrive. We have been forced to change and as a result, thrived with the outcome. We are stronger than ever and our in-office team and fieldworkers are to thank for that.

As a recruiter, it must be easy to stick with just that. What else do you do to try and impact the wider community?

People often think recruiters are red eyed, sharp toothed creatures who lurk in dark corners but many of us are doing so much good! I’m a Trustee of a local dementia charity called Dementia Matters in the Northeast where I help with their business development and fundraising partnerships. They provide an amazing service for Day Centres and Home Care to those living with dementia. www.dementiamatters.net

What do you want to see from the Government’s plans to reform social care?

I think without ruffling too many feathers, I think it’d be great to see equal recognition, support and protection for those in the private sector against those who work in the NHS. Absolutely the NHS is incredible but reform for private sector workers is essential. Finally, I think it would be great to see a sustainable plan for the NHS and Social care, not just for the next 10 years but for generations to come so that my children and their families can reap the rewards. It needs to be a constant figure within every government agenda and proposal brought forward because without it, social care will be left behind.

What is your vision for your businesses over the next 12 months?

We’ve added 4 new people to the business in the last 2 months and we don’t plan on stopping there! Through continued partnerships with providers, we plan to expand our offices to additional one in the North East and also one situated in the North West. By the end of 2021, we plan to be the leading and trusted provider of North East temporary support and be well on our way dominance in the North West too! Personally, I will look to continue my work with Dementia Matters and potentially look to support other future endeavours also as a trustee