According to a study by Modern Survey, trust is the most important factor in employee engagement, which fuels productivity, growth, and longevity. Establishing a culture of trust between caregivers and their supervisors is then fundamental to any home care company’s growth. Caregivers need to know that their supervisors will support them and lead them; however, trust does not simply appear one day—it must be earned over time. These steps are keys to gaining a caregiver’s trust and keeping it:
1. Set goals
Every company has a mission, but chances are that not all of your employees know that mission or what role they play in it. As a supervisor, you should regularly discuss your company mission with your caregivers and set goals that work toward achieving it. After setting goals, you should consistently follow up on your caregivers’ progress. Caregivers will take their goals and their supervisors seriously, when they see that their supervisors are actively invested in helping them succeed.
2. Follow through
Whatever you say you’ll do, do it. If you tell your caregiver that you’ll find someone to cover a shift, do it. If you say you’ll communicate with their client about a schedule change, do it. And if for some reason you can’t do what you said you would, let the caregiver know. It sounds simple, but trust is based on a foundation of consistently fulfilling commitments.
3. Do something extra
Completing reports and helping with scheduling are job requirements. It’s the little extra things outside of your job requirements that really help you earn trust. Birthday cards, employee lunches, messages to see how a caregiver is doing. These small things set a supervisor apart and show that you don’t just care about the work, you also care about the person.
4. Set expectations
Whether you’re just getting started with a new caregiver or you’ve been working with one for years, it’s important to make your expectations clear. How often will the caregiver need to call? What should the caregiver do with questions? What should the caregiver do if there’s a problem? These expectations should be established up front. If your caregiver knows what’s expected, they’ll be more likely to achieve it, and if there’s a problem, the rules won’t come as a surprise.
5. Be direct and timely
If there’s a change in policy, scheduling, training, etc., be quick to let your caregivers know. Explain why the change was made and how it will affect them. Even if the changes are not favorable for the caregiver, she or he will appreciate that the information was passed in a timely and clear way. You’ll come to be a dependable and trustworthy source of information.
Leaders should not underestimate trust’s power in driving a company’s success. Trust improves engagement, performance, and culture. Leaders who make building trust a priority will find that it has ripple effects into all aspects of their organizations’ success.
At Akin Care we consider our mission the heart and soul of our company.
Whenever we have an in-service our mission is the first thing we review. We know that as owners, we are “back of the house” and our Caregivers are on the “front lines.”
When a Caregiver consistently performs at a high level of compassionate care I need to thank them, compensate them and make sure they have adequate time off so they can continue to work for the long haul.
It is my responsibility to make sure our Caregivers have the tools, training and support they need to do their jobs well, then show my appreciation when they do the difficult task of making an elder’s life better.
Trust is directly related to corporate culture. If a company culture dictates fear, there will be no trust. To borrow a tried (and possibly tired) saying, “it’s easier said than done.” I have witnessed several companies, one quite recently, that pounded the “we have an open door policy” into the heads of employees. However, it was far from true. The employees never willingly shared anything and feared their superiors. And yes, they have turnover problems!
That being said, hurrah to the organizations that provide a true, open and honest corporate culture. They are aware that keeping elder caregiving a secret costs them money in productivity, stress and the related health challenges. A few things to keep in mind for those new to eldercare challenges of employees: Some of these difficulties include employees resisting assistance because they do not want to be the target of future layoffs or not being considered for promotions, believing the government will provide care and waiting for a crisis to occur.
Once eldercare assistance is available, the employees need to be reminded of it consistently throughout the year through articles written by professionals in the field of gerontology or geriatric care management, as well as in eldercare speaker “lunch and learns.”
You make great points Veronica. Building trust is hard, and expecting caregivers to trust management when management doesn’t trust them does not work. Building trust requires time and frequent, truthful communication. Thanks for your insights Veronica!