Belong is an innovative and prominent UK based charity managing seven highly acclaimed retirement villages. They pride themselves on representing a radically different alternative to conventional care homes. Belong have a keen focus on high-calibre staffing, and operate on a guaranteed higher-than-average ratio of nurses and carers to residents. Creating a caring and family-oriented atmosphere is extremely important to Belong, and they value staff who can build lasting relationships with colleagues and residents.
It’s this requirement of specially trained nursing staff and carers that Search has helped to support, to ensure that Belong can uphold their commitment to safely and compassionately deliver the care to their residents in any circumstances.
Leading by example
Search Health & Social Care entered into a partnership with Belong in 2014.
As one of the UK’s leading supplier of nursing, care and catering staff, Search Health & Social Care were given the opportunity to set a high standard across their agency supply chain, managing an efficient, KPI driven Master Vendor framework.
Since then, Belong has gone from strength to strength, opening three more villages, with two more planned to open in 2021, across the North of England and the Midlands. Complemented by their ‘Belong at Home’ domiciliary care brand, and the public award—winning Bistros operated by each village, Belong now provides lifelong care and support to over 1000 residents.
In 2019, after many years of working together successfully, Belong and Search Health & Social Care further strengthened their partnership by implementing their unique and custom built RPO software, ‘Talent Engine’ in order to further integrate all aspects of staff provision into one managed system.
This gave Search Health & Social Care the opportunity to manage and vet all agency staff with full visibility and ensure that Belong’s high standards continued to be met, balanced with best value service. Talent Engine functions to allow booking requests, worker placement, timesheets and invoicing to be processed by one system, extending across all associate suppliers.
Nearly two years later, the combined efforts of both companies has been incredibly successful, currently supporting villages to safely operate, admit further 1:1 support packages, and enhance their dedicated and highly trained permanentworkforce with a very high satisfaction rate, as well as proven cost and time savings.
“When implementing the Talent Engine system for Belong, the project team met on a regular basis throughout, to monitor progress and address any challenges. We wanted to keep everyone updated and ensure we were all on the same page. Although the Talent Engine software is very user-friendly, it certainly helps to have people around to support with the transition” says Chris Pritchard, Director of Search Health & Social Care.
The journey continues
Quality sits at the heart of Belong, and Search mirror that ethos. Talent Engine offers the reassurance to Belong and its residents that every single nurse or support worker supplied has up to date training, a police check, references and the right to work in the UK. Any worker who does not meet those criteria from any of our associate suppliers will simply not be able to be assigned to work at any village.
The RPO is designed to fulfil the individual requirements of each village, and Search are supported by a framework of suppliers, selected both for their quality and local strength. Talent Engine allows Belong the reassurance that the utmost standards of nurses and support workers from Search are matched across all supply chain. Indeed, many staff who initially took on interim work with Belong were embraced as permanent employees!
Alongside the software sits a strong account management team, which provides the human element to the relationship. Anyone at Belong involved in staffing has access to a member of the team 24 hours a day, 365 days per year; if they need any support or have a query, it is dealt with immediately.
Unlike some of our competitors on the market, Search Health & Social Care do not outsource any out-of-hours provision to a central call centre, as they firmly believe that the service provided must be consistent in line with the high standards held by Belong. The best way to quality control was to manage everything in-house. This measure, alongside some further developments to the Talent Engine software, meant that Belong now had bespoke software to help support residents, tailored to their every need.
The Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 put the strong relationship to the test, and Search were able to work with Belong to rise to the challenge of limiting staff rotation.
Lora Burns, Business Partner at Belong, says, “Belong and Search worked together to work out a list of temporary staff “bubbles” for each site depending on required usage, and Talent Engine made sourcing this information easy. The temporary staff were then block booked on a weekly basis for one site only and added to the system. The information was clear of Talent Engine using the workforce scheduling and was easy to cross reference. This works for both businesses and was something quite positive to come out of an such an awful time.
Having the great working relationship with the team at Search also meant we were able to block book out some nurses for months at a time where required, really supporting our own staff and customers at such a troubling time”.