I’d like to address one strong theme that has emerged from this research: communicating with your caregivers. This topic has been on our radar from some time, and it seems to be becoming more and more pressing of an issue as caregiver turnover rates across the industry continue to rise.
According to the Home Care Benchmarking Study, most caregivers who leave your agency do so during their first 90 days with your agency. Often, caregivers leave due to a feeling of disconnect or lack of support during this crucial early period. Because of this, a major component of retaining caregivers during their first 90 days is to keep strong and consistent communication.
Here are four strategies you should apply to keep strong communication with all your caregivers—especially those in their first 90 days.
#1: Use a Caregiver Mentor Program
A caregiver mentor program will make it easier to get new caregivers started, assist with training, and look after them as they get used to the job.
In additional to other forms of training and communication that you provide, a caregiver mentor is an important channel through which new caregivers can receive help, training, encouragement, and answers to questions. It’s important to show your caregivers from the beginning that they are important to your management team and that they have access to whatever help they need.
Eventually, these new caregivers will be able to become mentors to other caregivers. This provides a career ladder for them to climb that gives increased incentive for them to stay with your agency and build their professional value.
#2: Communicate for Relationships, Not Just Logistics
This is an absolutely critical lesson I learned early on in my time as a home care agency owner: if you’re only communicating with your caregivers when you need something from them, their trust and loyalty will wane over time. You should make contact just to check up on them from time to time and show genuine interest in them. This is true for their entire period of employment, not just the first 90 days.
A powerful way to demonstrate that you value your caregivers is to ask for their advice. You might ask, “Based on your experience caring for [client’s name], how do you think we can better work with them?” This shows them that their experience, work, and thoughts are valued.
No matter how well you think you’re doing, you should stop and take a moment for self-evaluation: How often do you talk to your caregivers for no other reason than to check how they’re doing?