The opening of a brand new, private hospital from scratch, whereby the structure and facilities are designed to absorb the requirements of the growing healthcare landscape, is a rare and special occasion, worth celebrating. For Petaurum Solutions, the opportunity to work with the second largest provider of private healthcare in the UK on a project to set-up and launch a brand new, state-of-the-art facility in Nottingham was a chance to showcase the company’s strategic HR design and project implementation capabilities.
Client: Spire Healthcare (www.spirehealthcare.com)
Client’s Mission: “To bring together the best people who are dedicated to developing excellent clinical environments and delivering the highest quality patient care.”
Dateline: Nottingham facility opening, April 2017.
Working from an initial investment of £60m, with an ultimate focus on providing complex and high acuity care, Spire Nottingham Hospital would be the latest in a substantial UK portfolio of 38 hospitals and 10 clinics for the leading British healthcare company. Planning permission was granted for the development in March 2015 and Petaurum was chosen to lead on the recruitment of 150 clinical and non-clinical staff for the launch of the new hospital.
February 2016 and a meeting with Hospital Director, Will Pressley, and Head of Clinical Services, Wayne Large, in a portacabin situated in a muddy field adjacent to a building site, was a fairly low-key manner to kick-off such an exciting project. However, it was from this meeting that Will and Wayne’s vision, passion and energy came to life, to transform this rural location, next to the city’s airport in Tollerton, into a custom-built hospital, offering a comprehensive range of services and facilities, supported by the very latest technologies.
To open the hospital in April 2017, Will advised that another three senior managers were required to support him and Wayne to lead on the Financial, Operational and Business Development aspects of running the hospital. In addition, a handful of central support staff were needed (PA, HR and Clinical Governance roles), around 80 clinical staff to work in Critical Care, Day Case, Endoscopy, Imaging, Oncology, Outpatients, Paediatrics, Pathology, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Sterile Services, Theatre and Wards and, to top things off, he would also need around 60 staff to look after the non-clinical side of things, including Administration, Medical Records, Medical Secretariat, Bookings, Customer Services, Reception, Engineers, Stores, Porters, Finance, Kitchen, Hosts, Housekeepers, Sales and Marketing.
At this point, Petaurum’s project lead, Adam Davey, recognised the scale of the challenge ahead, especially given the well-reported chronic shortage of clinical staff in the UK’s employment market.
The first priority was to devise a plan, map out the timeline and key activities and identify additional help that would be required. Updated job descriptions were written, the selection and assessment processes were designed and interview materials created. Given the volume of candidates that would need to be identified, in order to recruit 150 staff successfully, it was essential to identify a partner that could provide suitably skilled and experienced recruiters to scale-up to the size of the challenge ahead. Yocto, the RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) division of TMP Worldwide was identified as the ideal provider, as not only could it provide the additional capacity but it could also assist with the necessary technology platforms to ensure such a high volume of candidates might be properly tracked, with pipelines and successes monitored and measured throughout the project.
A new recruitment microsite (www.spirelookingafteryou.co.uk) was created and the recruitment campaign launched in March 2017. This comprised of:
- Online advertising
- Open day events
- Radio advertising
- Pop-up kiosks in shopping centres
- Careers fairs
- Social media
- Referrals and word of mouth
- Flyers and leaflet drops
- Direct sourcing.
One of the main challenges was that there was no hospital building around which to show prospective candidates. Thus, armed with a scale model, roller banners, plans, drawings, photographs and boundless energy, the team set out to spread the word. The Open Day events were held at the nearby City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest FC, with the Brian Clough Executive Suite providing a memorable location to meet those interested in joining the Spire Healthcare team. Even cable channel, Notts TV, got in on the action, joining the event in November to film a piece for its news programme.
The vacancies were prioritised, starting with the senior management and other critical roles, then moving onto the specialist positions, with a longer lead-in time to source suitable candidates, and, finally, the equally important, high number of remaining posts.
Some roles were managed on an individual basis, with specific interviews held to select into the role; others were handled as part of a broader attraction campaign, culminating in an assessment centre event. Two assessment centres were held, in November 2016 and January 2017. To put them into perspective, at the six-day event held in January, 210 individual interviews were carried out.
While the absolute focus on Petaurum’s remit was recruitment, it was essential to integrate with the other project team members to ensure join-up. A key relationship was formed with colleagues in Spire’s central HR Team, who were leading on the development of the Onboarding Strategy for the ‘Welcome, Induction and Training’ of new starters.
Put simply, 150 roles were filled successfully and in time for staff to be involved in the commissioning of the new Hospital building, as well as welcome, induction and training activities prior to opening. A smooth and empathetic approach was an unwritten demand placed on the project, a factor outlined by Will Pressley, Hospital Director Spire Nottingham, when he stated: “As caring is our passion, we asked all of our partners in this project to strive for excellence, deliver on our promises and succeed together, aspects underscored by maintaining a structured and uncomplicated approach. Working with Adam from Petaurum Solutions was not merely a delight but proved to be 100% satisfactory, in all respects, from concept creation to delivery.”
Adam Davey from Petaurum Solutions added: “This was an unique and exciting opportunity to be involved in the establishment of a brand new private hospital. Opportunities to create a high-performing team from scratch, without the legacy of historical team issues, or individual personalities to consider, do not come around very often and it was a pleasure to be part of a fantastic achievement by an amazing team to help the hospital open on time. In many respects, this was so different to a normal recruitment project – the challenge of piecing together a cohesive team, with the right cultural and behavioural fit was a bit like being given the lid to a jigsaw puzzle box, in that we had a picture of what we wanted to create but we had to go out and not only find the pieces but also work out how they fitted together. It has been a fast-paced, exhilarating and ultimately successful project to establish the workforce for Spire Nottingham Hospital. I am looking forward to the successful development of the hospital and helping with phase 2; the recruitment of an additional 150 staff to meet increased numbers of patients, as the hospital expands.”