As a result of COVID-19, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) were tasked with creating a research project which would require a large team of Donor Carers to support in the collection of convalescent plasma.
NHSBT launched a trial with support and funding from the Department of Health and Social Care to collect convalescent plasma from people who had recovered from Covid-19. The convalescent plasma was to be used for research purposes as well as to trial the use of antibody rich plasma as a therapeutic treatment for people who were struggling to recover from Covid-19. Working across 14 new, specific convalescent plasma sites across the UK, Donor Carers are responsible for performing the venepuncture (extracting blood plasma) and to provide pre- and post-patient care to all donors throughout the collection process.
NHSBT contacted Reed Talent Solutions in August 2020 to understand our capability to support this recruitment project. Through demonstrating our capability to meet the requirements swiftly, complimented by our experience of managing large, outsourced projects and vast experience of recruiting for the NHS and wider public sector, NHSBT selected Reed as their recruitment partner.
Requiring an agile and rapid solution as part of the front-line response and fight against Covid-19. We recommended Lot 12 of YPO's framework, total talent management as a route to procure, providing flexibility to deploy and adapt our service, whilst also providing a platform to scale, and deliver other, additional HR services.
Key activities we undertook to support NHSBT with the recruitment campaign included:
Creation of job adverts – working with NHSBT to identify the key messages to attract the best and most suitable applicants.
Agreeing pay rates – using our extensive NHS experience to set suitable, comparable pay rates at the appropriate banding.
Designing a full recruitment process – recommending suitable stages that mirrored the requirements of the role to recruit the best applicants.
Implementing a dedicated interviewing team – creating a comprehensive competency-based interview (CBI) based on the core people skills and attributes required for the role. This CBI process and scoring was approved by NHSBT.
Creating a dedicated website (https://nhsbt.reed.com/) – promoting the project, the role of a donor carer and employment opportunities.
Building and implementing our applicant tracking system, – providing a simple, digital application process which enabled effective progress monitoring and live management information throughout the project.
Agreeing a process for successful candidates to receive Hepatitis B immunisations – ensuring an effective, user-friendly service for workers across the UK.
Agreeing suitable pre-employment vetting – ensuring all workers would be fully compliant before starting in assignment.
Managing onboarding – working alongside NHSBT to ensure workers are equipped with all necessary information to successfully start in role. We worked closely with NHSBT to also ensure we provided all necessary information for IT access to be set up in advance.
Using our recruitment chatbot– to collate information, track candidate satisfaction and to quickly deliver any important information and updates on behalf of NHSBT.
We successfully delivered the required number of donor carers for the convalescent plasma trial, effectively and efficiently.
Due to the nature of the project and the environment of the roles, we needed to work flexibly and in true partnership with NHSBT as demand and requirements changed, often with little notice. Through our relationship with our candidate pool and with NHSBT, we were able to react quickly to form solutions and cascade updates, therefore minimising risk and disruption.
Within the first six weeks we deployed 270 staff across 14 sites
Altogether filled over 700+ roles across 65 UK sites
Provided 100% compliance of workforce
Successfully aided in the collection of blood plasma for vaccination research
Provided consultancy services for workforce planning and talent insights
With great client feedback including:
“Huge thank you to Reed and the team. We wouldn’t have got through this without you. We really appreciate all of your support and ability to be flexible as we faced challenges and changes” - Programme Manager, Business Transformation Services, NHSBT
“Please pass on my thanks to everyone who’s been involved, what a task. The team face unprecedented challenges and have really gone above and beyond” - People Officer, Convalescent Plasma Programme
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