Sam Cohen Profile PhotoSam Cohen is the COO and co-founder of Lifted, a Care-Tech company that aims to transform later life using tech to revolutionise the care experience for families and Carers.

Sam is a graduate of the London School of Economics with 10+ years’ experience building scale-up businesses. His career began in Equity Research but he soon followed his passion for tech by joining Wonga and RateSetter to launch new markets & products. His next role was at Yopa, joining the founding team as Operations Director, where he played a central role in supporting the business scale from 40-450 after raising £75m in Series A-D funding.

Sam spoke to Futureheads as part of our FFS series, a regular interview series where business and industry leaders share their insights and personal experience. Other articles in the series can be found here.

1. Tell us about the impact that Covid-19 and the lockdown measures have had on your business?

The logistical challenges overall have been manifold, moving our management of the business and the field online simultaneously. However, everyone has been incredible and more than met the challenge. Family members of clients on Furlough have seen a slight reduction in demand for Hourly care however Live-in inquiries have increased.

2. How have you adapted your operational and hiring practices?

Given our carers go into clients homes we have had to be incredibly diligent in ensuring they have the correct PPE at all times. To ensure this, I have set up a mini-distribution centre at home, posting out PPE parcels daily. Sourcing PPE has become a critical project managed by the Operations team.

In terms of hiring new carers, we have ramped up phone and zoom screening and held 2 training sessions in lockdown, onboarding a dozen carers digitally. We can also conduct risk assessments remotely for certain clients.

We have also had 4 new starters in ‘Remote HQ’. For them to understand our culture / lore quicker, we have put together a ‘Lifted Potted History’ doc with salient moments (pictures, screenshots of archaic s/sheets etc) that captures some of the journey to date.

3. What are your top tips for successfully managing a remote recruitment process?

Don’t rush and where possible, ask a subject matter expert outside of the organisation to objectively assess the candidates against their protocols. That helps remove any unconscious biases hiring managers have toward their preferred candidates.

4. Has this crisis made you look at your business differently or consider changes moving forwards?

Yes. It has accelerated the need to digitise certain face to face interactions that were previously thought essential. Whilst the act of giving care must remain physical, lots of the upfront work to onboard a client can be done more efficiently remotely.

The process of building rapport and empathy is slightly trickier online, especially when meeting older clients not used to talking to screens. However, through active listening and patience all parties can come away feeling understood and comfortable with aligned expectations.

We are also on the lookout for volunteers with care experience who are minded to make a difference in these turbulent times. Being able to onboard volunteers, therefore, is another tweak to how we will recruit going forward.

5. What advice would you give to anyone in a similar position to you at the moment?

Where possible, continue to add top tier talent into the organisation to elevate overall standards. We need to all continue moving forwards as preserving cash is not a strategic goal for early-stage growth companies in itself. Be sensible, hire only when necessary, but really get behind moving things forward in new and creative ways. The time is now!

 

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