2020 Review of the Care Friends App: Benefits, Tips and More

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Interested in a phone App to find a care worker jobs? In this review, we take a deep look at care friends referrals App, pros, and cons.

The high demand for care worker staff means that employers need more efficient recruitment methods. Enter Care Friends, a mobile app that lets employers share job vacancies and receive applications through referrals from their own staff.

Employee referrals remain the best source of high-performing staff so this app has great value for employers. But what is in it for you as an employee or job-seeking care worker?

The idea behind the Care Friends app is to give staff an incentive for sharing job vacancies. It lets staff accumulate points, which is then converted into a cash payment.

There is an ethical question brought up by this cash for referrals mechanism, though. Do staff members continue to send high-quality referrals or do they become less selective and send mass referrals to gain more points?

As for the job seekers, how do they know it is a good job offer? Is the Care Friends app a better way to find a job than social care job boards or care worker agencies?

Here we answer everything you need to know about the Care Friends app before giving it a try. What are the benefits for you and how can you get the most out of the app? Read on to find out.

What Is the Care Friends App?

Care Friends is a mobile application for job referrals. It lets employers post job vacancies on the app, which sends a notification to their staff who have downloaded the app.

Staff members can then share the job vacancy via other apps on their phone, such as Facebook, WhatsApp or email. The actions that staff take on the app earn them points, which they can collect and later cash in.

This new form of recruitment is supposed to improve the quality of job applicants. The app founder’s own research found that a majority of high-performing job applicants came from employee referrals and this app delivers just that.

It seeks to make the recruitment process easier and more effective for employers by getting employees actively involved. So, both the employer and the care staff have a strong incentive for using the Care Friends app.

Who Owns and Runs the Care Friends App?

The idea behind the app did not come from some big tech giant. Its founder is the author of Saving Social Care, Neil Eastwood.

The app started as a pilot project in Cornwall with financial support from the European Union. Eastwood then partnered up with Skills for Care to launch the Care Friends app officially.

Is the App Free?

This is not a public app, meaning that it needs to be set up for specific care employers. Naturally, there are costs associated with a personalised app.

Employers should consider this an investment in their recruitment resources. If the applicants that you source from the app end up staying at the job longer and performing better, is the investment worth it?

Downloading and using the app is free for staff members. After all, the point is that staff can earn extra cash, not spend money.

Why Do We Need This App?

The UK has a big shortage of adult social care staff. According to a Skills for Care report, there are an estimated 122,000 open jobs for care workers and there are not enough job applications coming in.

There seems to be a great demand for social care workers but not enough people are entering the market. In other words, the supply cannot keep up with the demand.

Another issue in the adult social care sector is high employee turnover. Staff are either choosing to work elsewhere after just a short period or they are not meeting the standards for a contract extension.

The same Skills for Care report estimates that there is an employee turnover of nearly 31%, which equals around 440,000 job leavers. Surprisingly, 66% of these leavers continue to work in adult social care.

This suggests that there is an issue in matching employers and employees.

Let’s look at this from a care worker perspective. Would you be more interested in a job if a friend recommended it to you or if you found it on an internet job board?

Hearing about a job from a friend gives you better insight into what it will be like working there. Plus, working with people you know may make you feel more comfortable while you are adjusting to the new workplace.

As a care worker, you need to be a team player and this app helps build a tighter community among staff. Working with people you enjoy being around, goes a long way toward job satisfaction.

How Popular Is the Care Friends App?

Since its launch in 2018, the Care Friends app has garnered a lot of attention from care worker employers. The app officially launched in June 2020, and within a week had care providers that provide 20% of England’s entire adult social care workforce enquire about the product.

This is incredibly promising for the app. Time will tell how many care worker employers will jump on board.

What Are the Benefits for Employees?

The Care Friends app is a great way to earn a little extra cash. It takes minimal effort to get the rewards so why not benefit from your employer’s new recruitment scheme?

All you have to do is download the app and pay attention to any notifications coming in. When there is a new job vacancy, you can share it via the apps that you already have on your phone.

Besides the chance to earn a little extra money on top of your salary, it is a way to help out your friends. Giving your friends a job opportunity is something that they will remember for a long time.

As a care worker, you know that your job is demanding and this is partially due to the shortage of staff. Help yourself out by helping your employer find more qualified and hard-working staff to lighten your workload.

How You Can Get the Most Out of the App as an Employee

Make sure that you have the notifications for new job vacancies on. This way you can share the most recent vacancies among your circle.

You might also want to think about who you are sharing the job vacancy with. Although you still get points if your referral isn’t hired, you want to make sure that your employer has suitable candidates. If they are happy with the candidates that they meet, they will continue to use the referral scheme, which means more chances for you to earn money.

What Are the Benefits for Finding Care Worker Jobs?

Having someone who already works for the care provider vouch for you is always a plus. The employer may not know you yet, but they know their employee. If there is trust between the employer and the employee, this trust may also transfer to a new job applicant.

As mentioned earlier, it is also more comfortable working somewhere where you already know a few people. This is especially true for new care workers who are getting their training on the job.

How You Can Get the Most Out of the App as a Job Seeker

Ask around in your circle of family and friends whether they know anyone who is already working in the adult social care sector. Contact them and ask whether their employer uses the Care Friends app.

The app is only available to employers and employees, so there is no way for you to get in on the app yourself. You don’t need to. All you have to do is make sure that you are the first person your friends think about when a new job vacancy pops up.

What Are the Benefits for Employers?

According to Eastwood, half of all high-performing employees came to know about a job either through an employee referral or by word of mouth. If most of the best care workers are recruited through direct connections, why don’t care employers focus on these sources?

Care Friends claims to be a more cost-effective recruiting method than general internet job boards, temp agencies and local advertising. This is because the quality of job applicants is better, even though it requires less effort to find them.

One time-consuming problem of recruitment is the high number of no-shows. According to the app’s website, 50% of job applicants from job boards are a no-show while the no-show rate from the app is as low as 6%.

The better quality of applicants stems from these two statistics:

  • 90% of the job applicants from the app are offered a job after their interview
  • 20% of employees from Care Friends referrals are still in the job after 3 months

In other words, the job applicants that have come through the app are a good fit for the job description and there is also a lower employee turnover—everything that a care provider wants from its staff.

How You Can Get the Most Out of the App as an Employer

Eastwood recommends that employees prioritise the employee referral scheme over other methods of recruitment. Staff need to be made aware of the app and encouraged to use it.

You can encourage your staff by being timely with payments. Just as no one appreciates a late pay cheque, your staff won’t be as eager to share job vacancies from the app if they know that they won’t be getting their rewards any time soon.

Final Verdict: Is the Care Friends App Good or Bad?

The Care Friends app was created out of the need for a more effective recruitment method for adult social care workers. It provides access to higher quality job applicants, which the UK social care sector is in such desperate need for.

Perhaps one of the best reasons for downloading the app is that it has benefits for all three parties involved: the employers, current employees and job seekers.

One of the advantages of adult social care is that workers can receive training on the job. So technically, there is greater potential for finding suitable candidates.

Perhaps, by focusing on the necessary soft skills of adult social care, you can find more dedicated and hard-working staff. The difficulty of focusing on soft skills is that this is not as easily translated to a CV.

A more reliable source of information regarding a candidate’s soft skills is recommendations from others. This is the added value of employee referrals.

The amount of interest in the app, both from local care providers and care providers overseas, also suggests that there is a big need for such an employee referral scheme. Employers can decide whether it is an effective method by monitoring the work performance of the new hires and the employee turnover rate.

For current staff, this is a great way to get more involved with your workplace. You get to feel like you are part of the recruitment process and you get financial incentive on top of that.

The app only launched officially in June 2020, so we have yet to see the long-term effectiveness of Care Friends. However, the pilot project that was run in Cornwall was very promising.

Only time will tell whether Care Friends really transforms the way that care providers gain new staff for the better. Hopefully, this is the first step towards generating greater interest in adult social care work and creating better matches between staff and employers.

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About the Author:

Evans B. Ofori

Evans B. Ofori is the founder and CEO of Adult Care Voice. Evans and his team help people who have passion for helping people find a satisfying and rewarding care worker jobs.