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A look back through 2020 at Keenan Recruitment

Keenan Recruitment's Business Manager Laura-Lee Quigley takes a look back at 2020:


When the Team at Keenan Recruitment raised our glasses on 31 December 2019 we had come off a record breaking year for the company.  We had made a record number of placements within the Public Sector in Social Work, Healthcare Support Work, Legal, Finance, Admin & Clerical and Allied Health. 


We grew our network of Private Clients securing great new contracts.  We had implemented our Financial Health and Well-being Initiative which has supported our Team of Temporary Staff access free independent financial advice on budgeting and secure mortgages.  We were preparing to move into a fabulous new office and start the year strong.  “2020…Let’s Go!” 


January 2020 was great we had unpacked the boxes, sunk into our new chairs and met all of the lovely people at Glandore and kicked off the year with a bang, new clients, new placements.  However, the news was starting to fill up with more and more news reports about a ‘virus’ and scientists and doctors started gracing our screens rather than the usual politicians and business leaders.  This was real, this was happening, we were going to have to stay inside for 2 WEEKS.  Naturally, the cool heads at Keenan prevailed and no one went wild at the supermarket. We were actually all just out of toilet roll. 


Aideen Duggan, our Managing Director and Disinfector in Chief, decided that the Keenan Team should lock-down early and so in the 2nd week of March 2020 we packed up our laptops, diaries and pens, said goodbye to our comfy chairs, our Glandore colleagues and the coffee machine and wondered where are we going to work now.  Over the weekend we made our ‘Working from Home’ office spaces and basked in the glorious sunshine and revelled in wearing slippers to work.  


On our first day Working From Home, we got the news ‘Universities to Close’, ‘Final Year Students to Graduate Early’.  Graduates have always been a large part of Keenan Community, supporting students in working alongside their studies and into graduation.  So, we put out a call to action, any student that needs to go back to placement or wants to work or just wants to talk please call us.  Within minutes the phones were ringing off the hook.  Students in tears not knowing where to turn, what was going to happen now, devastated at leaving their service users with no proper endings but all with the commitment that they wanted to do their part.  We contacted our clients to see what they needed and how we could support them, what they needed was great staff, quickly!  The Team rallied together to get people registered and compliant and matched to their posts.  Our colleagues at NISCC, HCPC and Access NI supported us, fast-tracking healthcare applications and waiving fees making it as easy as possible to register for work.


Several Recruitment campaigns were sadly put on hold for our IT desk as funding was reallocated to Acute and Community Healthcare but we hope to see it rolling out in 2021.  However, we did grow both our HR and Legal Teams during the year which was fantastic, to see the continued diversification on the Keenan Community.


Over the next few months we supported the transfer of Agency staff to Trust temporary contracts and the NHS Workforce Appeal providing staff across all departments.   Our front line staff on the Hospital Wards leaned on Kerry not only to source shifts for work, but to listen to their stories from the Wards.  She empathised as they told her about patient’s passing away without family, COVID scares on the Wards, having to care for patients whilst wearing PPE and the personal strain the pandemic was putting on them, emotionally and at times financially. 


When we look at the stats over 2020, the risk taken by not placing any Consultant on furlough paid off. We wanted the strong continuity to continue between the Consultants and their temps, for reassurance and an ear to talk to:


  • Year end +25% on last year. This is with ward closures (April/May /June) alongside sickness/self-isolation and shielding.
  • Down only  -17% on new starts against last year (taking into consideration there were approximately 3 months that we did not recruit as we were trying to get our existing staff work)  Training was not available due to restrictions.
  • At one stage 30% of our staff were self -isolating due to various reasons, second job,(working in care homes), shielding, fear.
  • Block Bookings have increased by 122% over 2020.


Extra tasks were suddenly part of our every day routine:


  • Forwarding information on PPE instructions
  • Contact and Trace for staff via the bank offices and Team Managers.
  • Directing staff to NHS helplines and Occupational Health.
  • Organising Fit testing for staff as and when required. 
  • Extra Occupation Health Clearance needed (new Covid Form).


All the Consultants provided their personal numbers on top of the main office number to their teams, so that they always had an open line of communication and kept in regular contact with changes to Regulations, SSP and isolation notices as well as ensuring we continued to share the good news and celebrate the amazing work being done everyday by our Keenan Community. 


We ran a series of Thankful Thursdays and Fantastic Friday which gave everyone a lift, and we participated in the Clap for the NHS.


As we approach New Year 2020, I believe we will still raise our glasses.  However, we will be celebrating our Teams resilience and determination, how we came together with our clients to put patients and service users first and coming to a full understanding of the questions “How are you? I hope this finds you well?”.


We are so thankful to each and every Temporary Worker who has represented Keenan Recruitment over the pandemic and continues to selflessly work on the front line. Thank you!! 


Wishing you all a safe and Merry Christmas. 

Team Keenan Rec