The fact that home care is a high-turnover industry shouldn’t be shocking news; however, pinpointing exactly what’s causing that turnover will affect how your agency grows in the coming years.
While there are obvious reasons why caregivers leave — like low pay and inconsistent schedules — it’s important to make sure you’re not unintentionally sweeping anything under the rug.
Here are some of the not-so-obvious factors that might be affecting your ability to recruit and retain caregivers.
Caregivers want to work somewhere that enables them to grow and learn new skills — but, even more so, they want to be prepared to handle any challenges that working in caregiving might throw at them. Training, or the lack thereof, can be a deciding factor in why a caregiver chooses your agency over another, or leaves for a new opportunity.
If you offer continuous training paths, you should be promoting them before even hiring on new caregivers — it’s not something that every home care agency offers and will set you apart from the competition.
By taking the time to position yourself as the agency that offers the best training in the area, you’ll find that the applicants that come your way are typically those who want to learn and develop their skills more thoroughly — which translates to a growth-minded team.
After initially promoting your training paths, you should begin the onboarding process by hosting a solid orientation that gives caregivers all of the basic information they need to do their job well with your agency.
Make sure that they understand how to read care plans, how to keep themselves and clients safe on the job, what their hours and pay will look like, and who to contact if they have any questions or need help. It sounds simple — but it’s all too easy to cut corners on important communication, especially if you’re continually onboarding a high volume of new caregivers.
After a great orientation takes place, learning and training should not end. In fact, one of the top ten complaints from caregivers in the 2020 Home Care Benchmarking Study was the lack of training provided by their agency on an ongoing basis.
Complaints about training could be categorized into three general areas:
1. They were asked to perform assignments that required training above and beyond what they were given.
2. Their agency offered no upward progression or additional training for those looking to expand their skills.
3. Their agency offered no training whatsoever.
Make sure you’re honing in on these areas to provide your caregivers with a well-rounded training experience.
In any company, there are going to be personality differences between staff and supervisors; however, it should not be significantly hindering performance — and if it is, these issues need to be addressed quickly.
Based on the amount of times we heard complaints about caregiver supervisors, it’s critical that we dive a little bit deeper to figure out what’s really going on.
Some of the things that we’ve found that could be causing turnover in relation to supervisors are unstable staffing levels making it difficult to focus on building strong relationships, and high turnover creating a temptation to view caregivers as short-term assets.
One of the top priorities of supervisors should be to create a safe, comfortable atmosphere for caregivers. Every caregiver should be treated as a valued team member who needs to be nurtured and developed along the way.
Another key component of creating an effective relationship between caregivers and their supervisors is open communication. Caregivers should have the freedom to express their opinions and concerns, while knowing that they’ll be fully addressed and accounted for. Expressing opinions and concerns doesn’t do any good if the supervisor is just going to blow it off because of its perceived lack of unimportance. Every issue might not seem like a priority, but if a caregiver is bringing it up, you should be taking the time to evaluate it.
3. Communication from your office team
Just as supervisor communication is important, so is office staff communication. Every home care agency should have a formalized communication process in place.
When there is a lack in the number of touchpoints between office staff and caregivers out in the field, problems may start to arise.
Some of the areas where caregivers noted that office staff communication was lacking is in scheduling changes, client information changes/updates, and little to no recognition.
Additionally, caregivers have also expressed concern about impatience among the office staff. The rude behavior has made caregivers hesitant to pick up the phone when they have issues, which in turn, leads to more problems for all parties.
4. Quick processes
Did you know that caregivers are likely to accept a new position based on the order in which they hear back from the agencies?
If a caregiver is looking for a new opportunity, it’s okay to assume that they’re applying to multiple organizations in the area — not just yours. Response time to those applications plays an important role in the decision-making process.
Every week, the Home Care Pulse team talks to hundreds of home care agency owners. One thing that we learned is home care agencies that try to conduct interviews the same day that a prospect applied to the position are far more successful in hiring the best candidates.
However, if you don’t have the ability to interview applicants same-day, one way to keep potential caregivers engaged is by being very communicative. You should be reaching out to all applicants within 24 hours of their submission, and after that, informing them of exactly what to expect on response times, interview schedules, and how decisions will be made.
5. Employee referrals
In 2019, caregiver referrals accounted for over 12% of new staff onboarded —45 and it had the lowest turnover rate in comparison to all the other top recruitment sources at 58.6%.
Caregiver referrals hold a lot of power in the hiring and recruiting game, which is why it may be important for your agency to start doubling down on an employee referral program. Not only will it incentivize current employees to spread the word about your agency, but it can boost company morale, save your office staff and management time, and increase employee satisfaction.
Agencies that have current employees helping in the recruitment process have seen exponential growth compared to those who don’t.
Ending the turnover crisis
While there is no end to the turnover crisis in sight, it’s important to remember that it’s only half the battle. Understanding turnover is more about understanding your caregivers and what gives them satisfaction in their work. The closer you take a look at each problem individually, the easier it is to improve your turnover rates.
As a home care agency owner, you’re already well-accustomed to providing great care for your clients; however, your clients aren’t the only ones who need exceptional care. Give your caregivers a reason to stay by making them a top priority and addressing all of their top needs and concerns.