Camphill Village Trust provides caring homes for adults with mental health issues and learning disabilities at nine communities across the country. It’s Delrow Community in Hertfordshire, needed a new approach to recruit the Team leaders and Support Workers who play such a crucial role in supporting Delrow residents. They needed a recruitment advertising campaign.
It faced several problems. It wasn’t well known as an organisation. That meant that people didn’t know why it was such a great place to work. Its remote location meant that no-one knew where Delrow was or whether it was nearby. It also faced strong competition for new recruits. You only have to look at the hundreds of job ads to see that there is huge competition for talent in this growing sector. Delrow’s past job adverts simply hadn’t stood out.
About Camphill Village Trust
As a long established charity, Camphill Village Trust (CVT) supports adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other needs. The Camphill movement was founded in 1939 by Karl Konig, an Austrian Doctor who was influenced by the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner said, “Our highest endeavour must be to develop the human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives“. This person-centred view advocates that people shouldn’t be defined by their disability but should be able to live fulfilling self-directed lives.
Delrow is based at Aldenham, in a leafy location not far from the town of Watford in Hertfordshire. Here around 50 people live, learn, socialise and work. There are day places too. Delrow residents get involved in workshops such as the Bakery, Gardening, Basketry, Needlecraft and Pottery. There are Adult Learning days each week and some residents go to nearby colleges to gain formal qualifications. The community organises many social and cultural activities. It’s a vibrant, caring environment where people can live as independently as possible whilst enjoying contributing to the community.
Objectives and solutions
CVT’s Delrow community needed to recruit Team Leaders and Support workers for a range of full-time and part-time roles. But it also knew the traditional method, of solely placing job ads, didn’t work. It wanted recruitment tools to use right away, as well as creating a platform for future recruitment activity. So it turned to Marketing Zone. Having understood the issues and opportunities we created an integrated recruitment advertising plan. It solved the challenge by:
- Generating awareness of the organisation
- Communicating the Delrow difference
- Creating stand-out appeal in the jobs market
- Generating responses from suitable people
Turning negatives into positives
The campaign made positives from recruitment problems. The Delrow name and role might be unknown but when seeing the community in person it’s impressive in terms of scale, organisation, facilities and friendly people. It’s also a green, campus-style environment. So potential recruits were invited to attend an open day to see the set-up, understand Delrow values, and meet the inspirational residents.
It is a remote location, behind a high wall with very little signage. But we also discovered that it is also on a well-used cut through for drivers, near a well-known pub and beside the national, well-signed Hare Krishna centre. So this fact and maps were used to explain that Delrow is nearby. Banners were also on the wall outside the community to tell drivers that Delrow is here and it’s recruiting now.
It had previously been difficult to attract existing carers. We soon realised we could do more to explain the benefits of Delrow and spread the net wider to encompass other potential recruits. So we developed key messages and spread the net using posters and radio to include non-carers with the right life skills and willingness to train, and students studying for the caring professionals and keen to gain experience.
There is a great deal of competition for recruits for caring roles. But Delrow operates very differently to many of these as it is a colourful, fun place that’s people-centric and empowering. For this reason we used colour and photographs of real Delrow residents to demonstrate the difference in advertising.
It is a charity with tight cost control. But Delrow has supportive workers and residents who are willing to get involved in recruitment initiatives. So an awareness day in a shopping centre was planned to showcase Delrow’s work, with products from the bakery and craftshop. Residents also divided streets into territories and delivered leaflets door-to-door saving on distribution costs. And where it made sense, we designed items for multiple uses so they could be used again after the campaign.
Recruitment advertising campaign: Your invitation to Delrow
Marketing Zone created ‘Your invitation to Delrow’. This recruitment advertising campaign provided marketing tools in the form of a special invitation to attend either of two Open Days. We created an overall style that developed on CVT’s web presence and ensured we communicated the organisation’s vibrant personality. We created key messages to show very clearly why Delrow is a great place to work, incorporating an upbeat tone of voice and photographs of its residents. The campaign was timed to coincide with students returning to college. To ensure this group, seeking part-time work, would also be exposed to the recruitment advertising campaign.
The campaign included:
- Radio ads
- Press ads
- Press release
- Web page
- Outdoor banners
- Roller banners and balloons
- Open Day job application folder
Radio advertising spread the word, and invited people to attend, backed by press ads and timed to get attention and action in the week running up to the event. The radio infomercials used male and female voices in conversation because jobs are open to both. The tone was upbeat giving a flavour of the organisation and key facts about the open day. The messages were phased. Firstly the two Open Day dates were promoted. After the first open day happened then the next Open Day date was promoted. Finally on the day of the second Open Day, we had a special message and reminder about the event.
Colour advertising appeared in two local papers to stand out against the uninspiring black and white ads of other care organisations. The recruitment ad was positioned as an invitation to attend the Open Day. It included photos to show the Delrow difference.
Press release announcement
A press release, for use by local newspapers, announced the Open Days and invited local people to attend
Recruitment web page
Due to space limitations with press ads and limited air time with radio, we wrote a web page to encourage people to attend the Open Day. All advertising referred to the web page which then provided persuasive details about attending. It also linked to an application form for those who wanted to apply right away.
To get Delrow noticed we created a large vinyl banner which was displayed on the wall outside the Delrow community in Aldenham. It ensured the location would become known by drivers passing through and it publicised the dates of the Open Days. A further banner was created for a nearby location with passing traffic.
Leaflets, in the form of an invitation, were created for distribution locally – at job centres, colleges and local shops. They explained who the roles at Delrow would appeal to and the very flexible hours and good rates available. Photography showed the unique happy atmosphere of Delrow. A simplified map and clear descriptions of local landmarks showed Delrow’s location. Everyone at CVT got behind the campaign with residents distributing leaflets in Watford.
With a similar but shorter message to the leaflets, posters invited students looking for part-time work to the Open Days. They were displayed at the local college at the start of term.
Roller banners and balloons
In order to generate a buzz prior to the Open Days, an event at the local shopping centre was to be run by staff and residents. It would showcase the crafts and bread made at Delrow by its talented residents. For this, we designed a lightweight roller banner to set the stage and supplied balloons. To ensure the charity could use these banners for other occasions we created a design and generic message which could be used for a multitude of different events. To save on balloons we didn’t overprint a logo but instead sourced balloons in the organisation’s colours of green and yellow.
Open Day job application folder
When people arrived at the Open Days they could chat informally about the opportunities, meet the people who live at Delrow and take a tour around the campus. Then they either applied there and then or could take away a complete application pack. For this we created a folder for the application form and other information sheets. Again, to ensure the charity’s money could go as far as possible, the folder was designed to be multi-purpose so a cost-effective quality could be printed with surplus folders available for other events.
Results – Attracting the right people for the right reasons
Delrow’s General Manager was delighted with the support provided by Marketing Zone and the speed of turnaround. With a comprehensive recruitment advertising campaign Delrow has been able to create an identity for itself. It has also benefited from raised awareness of its wonderful work, got people to attend its Open Days from across the target groups and recruited the new carers that it needed.
Not only that, the organisation now has a template for future recruitment advertising campaigns, and marketing resources, such as roller banners and folders, that it can use for other events.