Recruit a chief executive

Pilgrims’ Friend Society 

PFS operates as an umbrella charity and is the group trustee for a number of Christian charities, enabling older people to flourish through its care homes, residential housing and support for churches and communities. It runs 15 care schemes across England and, like other social care providers, struggles to recruit and retain care assistants and carers in many of its homes. Action Planning has carried out various assignments for PFS, all around the recruitment and retention of staff.

PFS invited us to tender for the job of recruiting a new Chief Executive. We won the bid, largely on the basis of our reach across the Christian sector, following which work we were also asked to recruit a new Christian trustee and carry out research into the retention of care workers and managers at PFS homes.

We placed a notice for the vacant Chief Executive role on our website and sent it out to everyone on our 46,000 strong mailing list. We also put it out to 170 Action Planning consultants, made direct approaches to suitable individuals who we knew and searched LinkedIn for potential candidates. From our searches we put forward a shortlist of five strong candidates. We followed a similar process to find a trustee, with additional research carried out through our church contacts, and were able to present PFS with a suitable candidate.

We investigated the problem of care home staff retention by conducting ‘secret shopper’ style visits, gathering first-hand accounts of the challenges staff faced and the incentives (eg salaries and other benefits) that might encourage them to stay on. A similar but more intensive exercise was carried out to find suitable candidates for care home manager roles.

From our shortlist, PFS selected their new Chief Executive, Stephen Hammersley, under whose leadership they have begun to act on our proposals for recruiting and retaining care home managers and staff. They were equally delighted with their new trustee and have discussed the possibility of recruiting more.

Consultant’s insight:
There is always a much smaller pool of candidates for senior posts in faith-based organisations. Happily we know where to look!

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