In March 2017, NHS Employers hosted a recruitment and social media event for NHS organisations looking to improve their use of social media to recruit. In this blog, social media coordinator (resourcing) Rebecca Tinnion explains how Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust put social media at the centre of its resourcing agenda following the event, and how the organisation has continued to use social media platforms to recruit, now as one of the largest NHS healthcare organisations in the North West.
Since the publication of my last blog, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (SRFT) has joined together with a neighbouring trust, the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (PAT) to form a new NHS group, the Northern Care Alliance (NCA). The alliance is split into four care organisations, Salford, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale, and North Manchester, which are responsible for providing healthcare services to local communities.
Before the two trusts came together, social media had been a growing part of the resourcing strategy at both SRFT and PAT. And following the creation of the NCA we are keen to develop and improve this work further, proactively using multiple platforms to aid our recruitment agenda.
As a newly formed NHS group, it was really important for us to embed social media into our strategic resourcing strategy from day one. Facebook and Twitter are being used to promote job opportunities across the alliance and content has also been created to develop the NCA brand and our working culture.
Social media is proving to be incredibly cost effective as we are able to proactively use a targeted approach to sourcing talent without having to spend anywhere near as much as we would have using traditional methods. On top of the financial benefits, we have been able to tap into candidates we may not have ordinarily recruited by standard job advertisements. For our nursing adverts in particular, statistics have shown that by posting regular and relevant jobs we have seen a significant increase in numbers of applications. For example, the Salford Care Organisation has seen a marked difference in intake of newly qualified nurses, doubling the September intake in one year – social media being a contributing factor to this. Our job adverts have also seen a greater audience reach and our recruitment events are better attended than ever before.
We tested the influence of social media advertising at our latest nursing and midwifery careers fair in May 2018. During the planning stages of the event, we decided against using radio, bus and outdoor advertising, as well as newspaper display advertising due to the cost implications associated with these traditional methods. Instead we set ourselves a strict budget to sponsor posts on Facebook and Twitter in the run up to the event.
With an advertisement budget of under £500, our aim was to attract around 150 nurses and midwives to attend the event. The day saw a total of 195 nurses and midwives attend, many of whom we made offers to. These figures definitely exceeded our expectations. A lot of the traffic for our event page was due to the result of a focused, two-month long social media campaign to attract student and qualified nurses and midwives to the Manchester area, and to present the NCA as an attractive employer. We were able to use social media for a recruitment-only purpose and this worked extremely well.
A lot of our statistics have been influenced by our senior nursing teams who have been essential in sharing and supporting our tweets and posts. In order for our social media to evolve, we understand that its success is dependent on our people, across all professions, engaging with our posts and sharing their own positive experiences across the NCA.
We understand that there is a wealth of benefits to social media and we are looking to expand this in the future. We are currently exploring LinkedIn as a potential platform to source senior appointments as well as roles which are specialist and at a consultant level. We are also assessing the influence of Snapchat and Instagram as recruitment resources to attract millennials and to target trainee doctors and nurses. We will look to explore these further once a clear social media strategy is in place later this year.
Catch up on the first and second blogs in this series.