Oct 21

Using the Care Friends app to support better recruitment and retention

Posted: 19 October 2021

The Care Friends app, launched by recruitment thought-leader Neil Eastwood in partnership with Skills for Care, provides an innovative solution for social care recruitment and retention.

The app is a digitised employee-referral scheme, allowing your existing staff to easily recommend friends and family for vacancies. Employees are encouraged to refer friends as they receive points which can be exchanged for monetary value for every referral they make, with more points awarded as their successful referrals progress through the hiring process.

Values-based recruitment is at the heart of Care Friends, as who knows your organisational values better than your own team? Your staff already have the right values for working in your organisation and know what values new recruits need to be a successful part of your team.

Users of the app have reported that using this as a source of recruitment has not only helped them to recruit better quality candidates, but also supported with improving retention rates.

Here’s what social care employers had to say about the app.


Robin Gunson, Head of Developments at Spectrum first found out about Care Friends through a presentation from Neil. Robin and the team tell us about how they’ve used Care Friends since getting involved with the pilot scheme.

At the time, as an organisation we’d moved into a lot of electronic care planning and using digital technology, so it fitted in well with the way things are going. We approached Neil and said we’d like to be part of the pilot, and it went on from there really.

We use Care Friends in a number of ways. We introduce new staff to the app straight from induction – some of them of course may have come about from Care Friends in the first place – and we encourage people to get signed up as part of the induction as they get points right away for signing up.

We then encourage the use of Care Friends, and we’ve upped the number of points that we give out through the app recently to support this further. Cumulatively, people can end up with around 500 points over six months.

As well as using Care Friends for recruitment referrals we also make use of the reward element of the app, giving points to team members who have gone above and beyond. Another thing that we use the app for is accolades and providing rewards in line with other employee recognition schemes we run across the organisation.

What Care Friends is really good for is getting people who already work in the industry to self-filter other individuals who might be suitable to work in the sector, because they have the right values.

If you think that most people on average have at least 120 friends on Facebook and they can get that out quickly and do the initial bits of the recruitment job for us really, because it’s very difficult to explain to people what you do in this sector in a job description. But people who already work in the sector can explain that to their connections based on their own experiences and make that relatable to friends and family members who may see it as a role that would fit them too.

Staff use Care Friends more than they would the traditional refer-a-friend schemes because it’s the immediacy of Care Friends which is attractive. Everyone wants to get rewarded quickly, that’s the beauty of it – the old refer-a-friend schemes took quite a while, whereas Care Friends is immediate.

Spectrum provides specialist care for autistic adults and children. Find out more: www.spectrumasd.org


Phoenix Homecare and Support

Garrett Williams, Development and Compliance Manager at Phoenix Homecare and Support, discusses how Care Friends not only helps to recruit new staff but also to reward current staff – a strategy which helps to improve retention.

I read about Care Friends, then we booked in a call to find out more and were immediately convinced to give it a go. I was a little sceptical, not knowing how the staff would feel about it, but they surprised me with one employee making 35 referrals resulting in 10 new starters - so I needn't have worried.

We now have 91% of our staff using the app, helping us to recruit some fantastic people. We’ve recruited 23 new staff members and five of these are brand new to care.

At Phoenix one of the biggest impacts alongside new starters, has been the way in which the app has allowed us to organise a simple and effective recognition system. We had tried and failed to implement one in the past, but the app makes it so easy to award, manage and maintain bonus points. Now staff can clearly see our appreciation for the hard work that they do in the form of app points and money.

Obviously everyone enjoys the recognition and payments we make for their referrals, hard work and expertise, but for me, the additional benefit is that they want to engage throughout the recruitment process.

So, for example, staff referring are keen to offer shadowing experiences once new employees begin their journey and they want to support them to do well and succeed. Longer term, this is a huge benefit to the company as staff that are supported and valued tend to want to stay. So, it positively impacts on retention rates, which in turn influences our performance and satisfaction rates.

Phoenix Homecare and Support is a domiciliary care service providing home care across Wrexham, North Shropshire and Powys. Find out more: www.phoenixhomecareandsupport.co.uk

Find out more about Care Friends.


For more information on support about retaining staff see our #RetainToGain spotlight.