Branding with care
In the UK, vastly improved life expectancy can be heralded as one of the biggest triumphs of the past century.
In 1916, the average person lived until around 50; now, those born in 2016 can generally expect to live until around 82 years of age. During the period 2015-2020, the general UK population is also expected to rise by 3%.
However, the number of people aged 65 or over is expected to increase by around 1.5 million. This longer-living population inevitably leads to an ageing population – and with it, issues of care and a depleting workforce.
As the average age continues to rise, changes to immigration laws see overseas workers increasingly restricted from entering the country. With 1 in 7 workers in the adult social care sector a non-EU migrant, government constraints are limiting a huge resource for the UK care sector, while creating a shortfall of around 200,000 workers.
Furthermore, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) reports a government cut of 11% in the adult social care sector over the past five years – a significant loss to a sector already struggling to budget for effective promotion and care distribution.
Some organisations, however, are taking major steps to ensure the question of how to recruit and retain individuals, with the appropriate values, to a sector historically perceived as less than desirable to work in, begins to be answered.
Bluebird Care is a private company providing home care, which began running as a small family business in 2004. 12 years later, it has expanded to 200 franchises across the UK and Ireland, delivering care to 20,000 customers each day.
Taking into account the changes and pressures occurring at the care sector level, Bluebird Care knew that attracting and retaining employees was of the utmost importance – both for the business, and for the UK’s rapidly aging population.
Alex Cavell, PR and marketing director at Bluebird Care Franchises Ltd, says, “We look closely at what’s happening within our sector and identify ways our organisation can adapt and improve for the benefit of our staff and our customers. We are passionate about what we do, and have the desire to change the way we recruit and nurture the careers of Bluebird Care employees.”
With this in mind, Bluebird Care commissioned London-based brand consultancy Designhouse to develop and implement a new visual identity and set of brand values.
Previously fractured due to the multiple franchises in existence, the work by Designhouse has ensured a clear, unified brand identity is in place for the company, while gifting each franchise the flexibility to personalise its own specific experience and requirements.
The company’s internal communications have also been positively impacted, with the design implementation and cohesiveness across the Bluebird Care brand architecture, creating a more positive employee environment.
Lavinia Culverhouse, managing director at Designhouse, says, “Recruitment and employee retention is notoriously tricky in the care sector, with many external factors at work, and so it was an interesting challenge to develop new materials that positioned Bluebird Care as a market leading employer, as well as enhancing internal communications."
Cavell says, “The materials developed by Designhouse define the value we place on our employees in a very tangible way, that was always there in sentiment but not always communicated to our office teams.”
“For example, appraisal and review meetings happen in a very different way now, with the new design materials helping to provide enhanced structure and a clearly defined career development path for our employees.”
With several Bluebird Care offices reporting an uptake in the amount of applications received, only weeks after the brand refresh, the strategy employed by Designhouse is clearly resonating with the contemporary care market.