From the very start, we were met with a series of challenges. 40% of medical students at the University of Hull are from elsewhere with no emotional attachment to the area. There was an urgent need to reach out to the ‘Hull 60’%’ and the ‘UK 40%’ of existing students to stay in the region before the situation became critical.
Of course, we wanted to shout about the things you'd expect from the NHS: compassion, respect, inclusion, high quality care. But we also wanted to do something that hadn't been done before in the NHS.
We recognised early that the staff at the Trust would be the focus of a bold and striking campaign. We wanted to capture their extraordinary day-to-day lives in an informal and honest style and use this throughout the campaign.
Linking all this back to Hull, the city that supports them, inspires them and trains them, addressing some of the preconceived negatives along the way, was an important piece of the puzzle.
We created the Remarkable People, Extraordinary Place launch event at Hull Royal Infirmary to welcome new and potential recruits to the team, and to tell existing staff about future opportunities to progress. This event was backed up by a PR plan with full marketing materials.
We also supported all recruitment events with a new strategy and initiative (Our Promise) ensuring as many people as possible were signed up on the day, thanks to strong event materials and a social campaign that directed traffic to a new website.
The campaign has received unanimous approval within the Trust (we are told this is a first) and has been described as the best NHS recruitment campaign in the UK.
An initial recruitment drive resulted in 120 3rd year students signing up from an available catchment of 160. A 70.3% open rate for our first email campaign ( an unprecedented success as it’s typically around 10%). And an ever increasing social profile and website receiving external visits, from all over the UK.
"This, without doubt, is the most intelligent, inventive and creative campaign I've seen anywhere within the NHS. Your team got an instant grasp of the situation and returned with a strategy that went above and beyond anything we could have hoped for."
― David Withers, Head of Education at HEY NHS