BCHA is a specialist housing and social care support provider, which helps homeless, vulnerable and other people access the right housing, health, learning and work opportunities. Working across Dorset, Oxford, Reading, Exeter, Plymouth, Salisbury, Somerset and Chippenham. BCHA helps people find a way forward – and has been doing so for over 40 years.
Specialist housing and social care support
Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA) is a thriving third sector organisation, offering specialist housing, social care and well-being services to vulnerable people.
Established over 40 years ago in Bournemouth, BCHA has since grown rapidly to become a major provider of housing support across the South of the UK.
The Association takes a proactive stance towards creating opportunities for a wide range of candidates, and its positive commitment to the employment, training and career development of disabled people has been recognised with the Two Ticks Award.
BCHA is also dedicated to creating opportunities for previous service users, with the creation of an ‘ADS Worker’ role, which has been specifically developed to offer vulnerable people a carefully managed route back into work. At all times, the organisation ensures its staff and volunteers have access to BCHA training sessions, to continually develop and support their skills.
With such a large geographical area to cover, varied staff base and diverse service offering, the BCHA continuously evolves its resources and partnerships in order to continue helping those who need it most.
As such, it is vital for the Association to be in a position to recruit highly trained staff to carry out its hugely important, often complex and sensitive work as simply and efficiently as possible.
A crowded sector and limited resources
BCHA is a large organisation with 500 staff in a range of roles, varying from entry-level to heads of departments.
But with 80 paper-based hiring managers – and an in-house recruitment team of only two – the task of adding to this ever growing work force was becoming a resource-draining process. Lisa Mabey, Recruitment Advisor for BCHA said:
“We needed to find a way to streamline our recruitment process, and were looking for a candidate-based system to ease the pressure on our small HR team. Most importantly, we needed to reach and attract the very specific, skilled and experienced staff we require to make a difference to vulnerable people’s lives.”
A flexible recruitment system to support growth
The decision to use Hireserve’s recruitment software was based on two key factors: BCHA’s desire for a candidate-driven process and the need for a flexible system that could be tailored to the organisation’s unique set of requirements.
Hireserve ATS provides BCHA with a candidate management process that requires little input from the recruitment team.
With a candidate log-in portal, applicants can apply and re-apply for roles, download documents, track their application and receive feedback, in a simple and user-friendly system.
Coupled with BCHA’s efforts to encourage all candidates to visit the website and seek information online, the HR department has seen a considerable reduction in paperwork and manual candidate processing.
In line with its commitment to offering equal opportunities, the Association ensures online vacancies are accessible to all applicants by offering computers in the lobby of its reception, or advising applicants of local libraries with internet access.
The monthly reporting has brought further benefit to BCHA, allowing the team to ascertain from where candidates are arriving and which media is proving most effective in terms of directing them to the website.
This has subsequently enabled the Association to evaluate the Return on Investment of their most costly advertising, and to measure levels of engagement in the areas that are the most competitive – and therefore challenging – in which to recruit.
The next step for BCHA’s recruitment strategy
Whilst BCHA has reaped the rewards of a flexible and intuitive recruitment system, the nature of its work and sector means that it still faces recruitment challenges. It continues to need a very specialist workforce, and is affected by competition from similar bodies in certain areas.
Integrating social media is the next stage of its recruitment strategy, alongside a mobile optimised career site – which will be key in reaching targeted candidates in an immediate and engaging manner before competing associations can.
As a growing organisation, it is important for the BCHA to consistently review its recruitment in order to attract the right candidates effectively. As Lisa concludes: ‘To meet the needs of the Association and our service users, we continually need skilled and specialist team members to deliver the support that so many vulnerable people depend on. With significant HR requirements, the decision to appoint a recruitment software provider was essential to get right.’
“The technology behind Hireserve ATS is excellent, and has had a real impact on the efficiency of our HR department – but it is the ongoing help from the customer support team, initiatives such as the Hireserve User Group and the personal, genuinely useful training sessions from Hireserve that really helped us to optimise our recruitment process and subsequently continue employing the team members that make a difference to people’s lives.”
“The technology behind Hireserve ATS is excellent, and has had a real impact on the efficiency of our HR department”