Transforming aged care recruitment: Care Friends – 2023 Future of Ageing Awards winner

Care Friends research - High Performing Care Workers

Updated 9 November: Earlier today, Inside Ageing was in conversation with Philippe Coquerand from Anglicare SQ’s media team, who mentioned that they had just signed up for Care Friends. In their first week, the employer of over 3000 staff has generated over 500 jobs shared with 35 candidate applications.

In this profile, we look at the Care Friends app and its unique solution that enables employees to refer friends and contacts who they feel would be a good fit for a job. Care Friends won the Technology: Business category in the 2023 Future of Ageing awards.

Care Friends is a groundbreaking employee referral and recognition app designed to address the challenges of sourcing and retaining frontline care staff in the aged care and community care sectors.

Launched in Australia in 2021, it encourages care staff to share job opportunities with their friends and contacts, utilising reward psychology, micro-rewards, and gamification. The app offers a recruiter portal for posting jobs, while employees can access a user-friendly app to view vacancies and share them with their network. Care Friends uses behavioural psychology and gamification techniques to boost employee engagement and referral rates.

Why it came about

Neil Eastwood, a care workforce expert and the founder of Care Friends, recognised the potential of employee referral in sourcing high-quality, longer-tenured care staff. However, this channel was underutilised due to the absence of effective referral policies. Care Friends was created to unlock the potential of employee referrals to address workforce challenges in the aged care sector.

How it works

Care Friends is a mobile app that enables employees to share job opportunities with their contacts and earn points as candidates progress through the recruitment process. The app uses micro-rewards and gamification to incentivise employees, making it more effective than traditional referral programs. Employers can also offer instant rewards to recognise and motivate employees. The app promotes the sharing of jobs with quality candidates and improves retention through rewards for tenure milestones.

Watch how Care Friends works

Who was involved

Care Friends engaged care workers, managers, and care providers to design the user interface and refine the app. Care workers’ preferences for rewards, including cash, were considered. The involvement of care workers and managers ensured the app’s usability and effectiveness.

Evidence of success

The implementation of Care Friends has yielded significant results, including improved candidate quantity and quality, higher retention rates, and reduced costs. Clients have reported hiring 15-30% of new starters through employee referrals, with an average of 96 referred candidates for every 100 app users. Referrals hired through Care Friends have a retention rate double that of employees hired via job boards. The app has delivered substantial cost savings for Australian clients.

Care Friends received the King’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation 2023 and has been recognised for its innovative approach to addressing aged care workforce challenges.

In case studies with providers like Bolton Clarke and Clayton Church Homes, Care Friends significantly improved recruitment outcomes and reduced costs. For Clayton Church Homes using Care Friends has helped them source 100% of their care staff via referral which has significantly and positively impacted their bottom line via reduced agency spending. Bolton Clarke, as a longer-term user of Care Friends, was able to increase referred hires for their RAC operations from less than 5% to 31% of all starters.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here