How to Improve Your NDIS Support Worker Recruitment Process

Asha Neil

Written on 22 August, 2022
Motivated and talented NDIS support workers are key to your business's success, so how can you improve your hiring process and ensure you have a strong workforce?

It’s no secret that hiring and retaining support workers is a major challenge for providers. In a 2020 report, the NDIS recognised that the industry would need to hire an additional 83,000 workers by 2024. That was before the pandemic and long COVID led to worker shortages. 

Laurie Leigh, CEO of the National Disability Services, recently described the ongoing support worker shortage as “pretty dire” and a symptom of “long-term staffing issues within the sector”. 

However, it’s not all bad news for NDIS service providers. By improving your recruitment process, you can set yourself up to hire staff more quickly, improve their initial onboarding experience and retain them long-term. 

Don’t Delay 

Start recruiting as early as possible - before there’s an urgent need for additional support workers. Not only will this allow you to make less rushed decisions, but it will place your existing workers under less pressure. 

In turn, this will lower turnover, both of long-term support workers and your new hires. Your team won’t feel overworked, which will improve their motivation and commitment to the job. Plus, managers will have the time and energy to support and train new staff, which means your hires are more likely to have a positive first impression and stick around.

Devote Sufficient Time to Recruitment

Everyone knows that recruiting is important, yet that’s often not reflected in how much time is dedicated to it. The hiring process is often handled by an overworked owner or manager who still has to complete their everyday tasks alongside reviewing CVs and conducting interviews.

If that sounds familiar to you, it’s time for a new approach. Whoever is in charge of recruiting at your care provider business needs to have sufficient time to do the job well, even if that means handing off tasks to other team members.

Although this might seem inconvenient, especially for small businesses, it’s an investment that will pay off. Spending more time on recruiting means you’re more likely to make better and quicker recruitment decisions — allowing everyone to get back to their usual tasks sooner. 

Expand Your Hiring Pool

The more candidates your job posting reaches, the more talented applicants you’ll have to choose from. Instead of simply advertising for support workers on one jobs board and hoping for the best, you can attract more candidates by:

  • Advertising on multiple jobs boards: general, regional and industry-specific 

  • Promoting the role on social media, including in closed groups

  • Networking at industry events 

  • Encouraging referrals 

You may also find that rethinking your applicant requirements pays off. Review your job posting, and sort the requirements into two columns: essential and desired. Then, consider removing everything in the desired column from the listing or at least clearly marking it as optional.

You should also experiment with your phrasing to see if it leads to more responses. For example, emphasising traits such as “collaboration” has been shown to make jobs more appealing for women.

Streamline the Recruitment Process 

The quicker and simpler the recruitment process, the better. This doesn’t mean you should rush your decision-making. It’s important to make certain a new hire is the right fit for your care provider business. However, with a little preparation, you can often improve your process.

Start with an applicant rubric and a list of things you need to check before making an offer. Decide who in your company needs to interview candidates or review CVs. Create a standardised set of interview questions. Ask for all documents at the same time. 

It’s fine if you need time to reach a decision, but make sure to keep candidates updated so they don’t give up on the role.

Make Onboarding as Pain-Free as Possible

Onboarding new support workers can feel like a battle with bureaucracy. There’s a lot of paperwork to tick off, from Worker Screening Check clearance to vaccination, qualifications and visa details. While this may be frustrating for you, it can feel even worse for support workers who are waiting to start earning.

Stay in communication with new hires so they know they’re a priority. Be available to answer any questions. A good document management system will help make onboarding a little less painful for you and them alike. When you finally have all the paperwork sorted, give them a start date and make sure they have everything they need ahead of time. 

Prioritising the Support Worker Experience

Creating a positive employee experience is an essential part of tackling support worker shortages. It’s far easier and cheaper to retain your best team members than recruit new ones. Plus, low turnover improves staff motivation and protects organisational knowledge. 

Simple things like letting support workers know their roster as far in advance as possible, and taking their desired work hours into account, can go a long way to improve morale. 

Making shifts less stressful can also have a powerful impact. Build enough travel time into support workers’ shifts, ensure progress notes and care plans are regularly updated and create an intuitive record-keeping system so that your team members aren’t overwhelmed with paperwork.

Depending on your budget, you could also invest in training and career development options, so that support workers feel that they have a future at your company. Don’t forget to show regular appreciation for your support workers too. A thank you message won’t bite into your budget, but it can significantly boost motivation levels.

Here at ShiftCare, we understand the importance of keeping your team happy. That’s why our NDIS software makes rostering, document management and updating progress notes simple for you and your staff alike. The ShiftCare app allows support workers to register their availability for shifts, while also providing all the support they need on the go. Try it for free today.

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