Guest Post: What Do Caregivers Look for in a Job?

Note: This is a guest post from Home Care Pulse, the home care industry’s leading source of satisfaction management, client/caregiver surveys, and operational data.
Most home care owners currently regard caregiver shortages as the leading threat to their growth. As you work to make your recruitment strategy as effective as possible, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what caregivers look for in a job and why they would choose your agency. According to surveys of more than 40,000 caregivers as part of the annual Home Care Benchmarking Study, these are the top five reasons why caregivers chose to work for their agency.

Flexible Scheduling

The right schedule is critically important to most caregivers for several reasons: many caregivers have children, are attending school, or are balancing caregiving with other jobs. Not getting an accommodating work schedule was one of the top complaints by caregivers last year.
What this means for your agency: Many home care owners worry that the only way to combat caregiver shortages is by paying significantly more. In many situations, offering flexible schedules may accomplish as much or more to attract caregivers than an incremental pay raise. To recruit more caregivers, you should explore your options and make every effort to provide flexible scheduling options based on caregivers’ needs.

A Positive Online Reputation

This refers to the strength of an agency’s brand in the community or online, rather than a referral from a specific acquaintance. As the industry continues to grow and hiring becomes more competitive, it’s increasing important to establish a compelling employment brand that stands out to applicants.
What this means for your agency: Focus on developing your brand not only for consumers but for potential employees. We recommend providing your caregivers with branded company clothing (for example, by holding prize drawings at training meetings where you give out a sweatshirt with the company logo on it), sponsoring local events to build goodwill in the community, and tracking your online reputation through sites like Glassdoor and

Recommendations from Friends and Family

Caregivers, like employees in most industries, rely heavily on personal recommendations to choose the right place to work. It’s also important to consider that caregivers who were referred by their friends are typically more satisfied and engaged in their work.
What this means for your agency: You can capitalize on this trend by establishing an employee referral program. With the current estimated cost of replacing a caregiver at $2,600, a $100-200 referral bonus is a small price to pay for a quality caregiver.

A Good Working Environment and Employee Benefits

You’ll notice something as you go down this list: pay isn’t on it. While pay is obviously an extremely important factor, it appears that it’s rarely the differentiator between different home care agencies or alternate options. Caregivers gravitate toward agencies that provide a good environment where they feel recognized, trusted, and heard. In addition, the right benefits, like paid sick days, mileage reimbursements and certification training, go a long way toward making your agency an attractive place for caregivers to work.
What this means for your agency: Work to understand what is important to your caregivers. In our surveys, we’ve learned that your office staff are often the biggest factor in determining caregivers’ experience with your agency. Ensure that your office staff is well-trained, easy for caregivers to reach, and contributes to a culture of appreciation and trust.

An Efficient Hiring Process

Many, many caregivers stated that the reason they accepted the job where they currently work is that it was the first agency to offer them a job. This has several implications: first, many agencies are not being very selective in the caregivers they hire. Second, caregivers will tend to accept job offers from agencies that have the fastest hiring and onboarding process.
What this means for your agency: While it’s easier said than done, establishing a better pipeline of caregivers will enable you to be more selective about caregivers and select only the applicants who will be reliable, provide quality care, and be more likely to stick around with your agency. Creating a more efficient, organized process—including outsourcing aspects of onboarding and orientation where necessary—is one of the quickest ways that you can become more competitive in recruitment.

Listen to Your Caregivers

These are the top reasons thousands of caregivers across the industry have given for accepting roles at home care organizations. However, it’s important to understand what drew your specific caregivers and what will attract other caregivers in your area. Talk to your caregivers, take careful notes of what applicants say in interviews, hold exit interviews, and consider using third-party surveys to get an accurate picture of what’s most important to your individual caregivers.



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