As a staffing and employment expert, published author and passionate advocate of recruitment best practice, I must admit that on entering this sector I have been disappointed at the level of professionalism displayed by many of the agencies and brokers working in this market.
That's probably because up until quite recently, it has been a sector of franchises out of the USA mixed with small mum and dad (we call them kitchen table recruiters in the industry) businesses providing broker services to the not for profits who manage the government funding.
With the changes apparent in this sector with the NDIS and the move toward a more uniform commonwealth system of managing aged and disability care, all of this is about to change. I must admit I am quite glad about that. I would welcome more professional and ethical operators coming in, providing recruitment best practice to ensure the peace of mind of the elderly, disabled and their families.
What is the role of a broker?
The role of a broker is to source, select and match the right candidate (carer, nurse, cleaner etc) to the right client for which an hourly fee is charged. The fee charged to you is made up of the candidate pay rate; statutory on-costs (things like superannuation; workers compensation and associated taxes) and then a profit component.
Evaluating a broker firm
5 tips for selecting a broker:
1. What is the background and experience of the brokers? Are they experienced at sourcing and selecting candidates? There are a large proportion of mum and dad broker businesses in this sector that make hiring decisions based on “gut feel” rather than objectivity.
2. Is the firm a member of professional bodies such as the RCSA (Recruitment Consulting Services Association)? Organisations who are members are bound by a professional code of conduct. As this is an unregulated industry, many firms enter with no qualifications, experience or knowledge – frightening considering we provide services to the most vulnerable members of the community.
3. What is their methodology for sourcing and selection of candidates and how are expiry dates on qualifications tracked? What process must a potential employee go through before he/she is deemed suitable for work? I have come across many firms that run their business off excel spreadsheets – not good for audit trails or ensuring that worker qualifications are up to date.
4. Price competitiveness. How does the price compare with other brokers? There seems to be a much higher profit margin in this sector than other labour hire sectors. Relationships are one thing but in any business, even a not for profit, revenue is important so compare what you currently have against what is now available as new players are entering this sector every week.
5. Continuous improvement. How does this firm ensure that their processes and procedures are “best practice”? What professional development do they undertake each year? To provide the best service and the best candidates, you need to keep up to date with not only the sector in which you are recruiting but also the professional recruitment industry.
You may be with your current broker firm because you have been with them for a long time and your clients have established relationships with their workers. It is a common misconception that you can’t change. You can, at any time – and keep the same workers.
Transitioning is a common practice in other labour hire sectors. It occurs normally when you decide to change suppliers (brokers) but want to keep some of the same workers. The outgoing broker transitions the workers to the new broker over a period of time.
Call us to find out how you can change or to compare us against your current brokerage. We would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities.