We care about technology-enhanced human systems. So we thought we would share regular thoughts and opinions about why we think they matter so much.
OTR are a charitable organisation who provide vital mental health support services to young people aged 11-25 in Bristol and Gloucester. Established in 1965, as Off the Record, they are one of the oldest mental health charities in the UK, born of a time when mental health was barely recognised, certainly barley spoken about.
Thankfully, a lot has changed since 1965 and to reflect this last year, ‘Off the Record’ rebranded to OTR because, as they quite rightly highlight, discussing our mental health no longer needs to be, ‘off the record’ anymore – an idea best left where they began in 1965. These mental health pioneers have always strived for better, to move with the times and improve to achieve the best possible outcomes for young people.
It is safe to say that that OTR have always been ahead of their time and in 2021, they are so much more than a charity, instead positioning themselves as a mental health social movement who seek to change attitudes around mental health, defend the rights of young people and drive an agenda for change.
They focus on preventative work and empowering young people, in fact, actually becoming an upskilling and learning hub where social work students, youth workers, and other professionals can complete placements and encourage and inspire young people to take up careers in mental health services. All while positively impacting the lives of young people, through their support services - which include everything from drop in hubs, one to one support and counselling to specific project work and even yoga. They are a true force for good.
We cannot speak highly enough of OTR, of what they represent and of the services they provide. So, when they contacted us for help with an ATS system, it was a no brainer for us. A stringent recruitment process has understandably always been the utmost priority to them. However, previously there was no ATS system in place - everything was paper based, and time extremely short. So, the need for a new system took on a new level of urgency as the pandemic hit, stretching services like OTR to even more critical levels and the inevitable rise in applicant numbers as people lose their jobs.
We designed a simple, user friendly system, fully aligned with their brand to ensure a seamless user experience and to give OTR support throughout the process as first time ATS users. More importantly, we needed to give them their time back to be able to focus on the work that they do and to ensure that the right people are brought into the organisation to carry on this vitally important work.
Getting candidates in is relatively easy for any organisation in current times. Getting quality candidates is a different matter. With an abundance of similar roles available in the local area, OTR wanted a stand-out feature that would appeal to people looking for immediate work, whilst also creating a brand experience that would deliver the realities and the responsibilities of working within this environment. ‘Interview to offer in a day’ was an initiative that, when combined with clear guidance on role expectations, will decrease time to hire and reduce volume of applications. In short : higher quality, quicker. And of course, it goes without saying that everyone is protected under GDPR with strong audit trails and security.
When a charity invests in something, it must be for good reason, with a very high return on investment. Charities like OTR are built on forward thinking, innovation and care. And for a charity that only hires a handful of people a year, investing in an ATS at the height of financial cutbacks is testament to their understanding of the implications that processing hundreds of extra applications (with a process that had long shown itself to be only barely fit for purpose), would have on the candidate experience, colleague pressure and ultimately the young people they help.
We are no longer in 1965 and times have dramatically changed for the better in terms of attitudes towards mental health, but there is still a lot of work to be done. And at times such as this, where we are all living through Covid-19, all struggling and witnessing our children, families and friends struggle too, daring to care for the importance of the work that organisations such as OTR do for young people, cannot be overstated.