Whiddon recognised for talent acquisition and recruitment efforts

Last updated on 17 January 2024

Whiddon’s Talent Acquisition team has been nominated for a 2023 SEEK Star Award. From L-R: Maca Alonso Roncoroni, Camille Vergara and Lauren Cauchi. [Source: Supplied]

Nestled among a shortlist of giant corporations such as Optus and Commonwealth Bank is aged care provider Whiddon, recognised for their recruitment efforts as one of five Talent Acquisition Team of the Year nominees for SEEK’s 2023 STAR Awards. 

Whiddon itself is not a small fish in the pond with a presence across Queensland and New South Wales. Still, in comparison to the corporate giants in its category – organisations with over 1,000 employees – it’s worked hard to earn the recognition.

Lauren Cauchi (Talent and Program Manager), is part of their three-person Talent Acquisition team alongside Camille Vergara (Talent Acquisition Coordinator) and Maca Alonso Roncoroni (Talent Acquisition Advisor). She spoke to hello leaders and praised her team’s efforts, calling it a tremendous honour to be nominated by SEEK.

“It signifies that our team’s dedicated efforts are making a meaningful impact in the Aged Care sector, aligning with our core purpose of ensuring the highest quality care for our residents,” said Ms Cauchi. 

“Despite our small team size, this acknowledgment reinforces the idea that passion and dedication, coupled with a commitment to enriching lives, can lead to significant achievements.”

“Our efficiency as a small team is rooted in a collaborative culture within our team, across the wider People and Culture team and Whiddon. The support and communication extend to other departments and external partners, fostering an innovative and can-do attitude,” she added.

Given the aged care sector has also experienced a challenging period of recruitment and retention, the nomination is arguably even more impressive. Aged care recruiters are looking for talent with relatively specific skill sets in a competitive talent pool.

Ms Cauchi said their team has not been immune to the challenges many providers face when sourcing qualified workers, particularly in rural and remote areas. 

“The competition with the Government sector and other providers which offer enticing financial incentives that, as a non-profit organisation, we struggle to match, has added complexity to our recruitment efforts,” she explained.

“The emergence of short-term agencies, along with the escalating cost of living, has led some staff members to opt for agency work, drawn by its flexibility and higher remuneration.”

“Compliance requirements pose a hurdle, with candidates sometimes choosing non-health-related industries with simpler hiring processes and higher salaries.”

Even COVID-19 continues to pose a threat as aged care homes still face regular infections and outbreaks among staff and residents. Ms Cauchi said this has resulted in immense strain on staff, impacting their well-being.

But where there are challenges, there are solutions. And with all these obstacles to overcome, Whiddon has worked hard to knock each one down. Or as Ms Cauchi put it, “This has further intensified the urgency of finding innovative solutions to attract and retain talented staff within the Aged Care sector.”

These innovative solutions have resulted in the SEEK Star Awards nomination, with their diversity creating multiple paths to success. Exampled include:

  • Partnering with their marketing team to develop targeted social media campaigns, including one designed for mature-aged individuals seeking a career change or re-entry to the workforce.
  • Collaborating with third-party organisations to employ internationally qualified Registered Nurses who can join Whiddon as Assistants in Nursing. Last year, 20 overseas nurses were recruited this way, joining regional sites in the Northern Rivers and Far West NSW areas.
  • Securing Labour Agreements to sponsor Assistant Nurses through Visa options and sponsoring workers with pathways to Permanent Residency 
  • Supporting employees with overseas nursing qualifications to obtain their Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration, enabling them to work locally as Registered Nurses

Other short-term and long-term strategies include accessing a FIFO/surge workforce, the Whiddon Employee Referral Program, and a comprehensive Employee Value Proposition and Benefits Package review.

With a national award nomination under its belt, Whiddon’s Talent Acquisition team is set for a big 2024 as new strategies and innovations will no doubt be explored. But at the heart of it all will be a focus on existing company strengths, something Ms Cauchi said any provider can do. 

“Employers should focus on showcasing flexibility, particularly for frontline workers. Highlighting career and skills development opportunities is crucial. Additionally, showcasing a positive company culture, and emphasising why employees choose to stay, becomes a powerful attractor for prospective talent,” she added. 

aged care workforce
aged care recruitment
whiddon aged care
talent acquisition
lauren cauchi
seek awards
seek star award