7 Things Your Caregivers Want Your Agency to Start Doing

Home Care Office Staff Hiring Tips

After surveying thousands of caregivers every month on behalf of their agencies, we’ve found a common thread. Here’s what they really want.

Like it the old fashioned way?

According to the 2020 Home Care Benchmarking study, 57% of caregiver turnover happens in the first 90 days of employment. This statistic alone shows just how important it is to focus on your caregivers needs, wants, and must-haves to create a work environment that continually encourages and inspires them to put their best foot forward.

As a home care agency owner, you have an obligation to make sure your caregivers stay satisfied, engaged, and happy, during their time with your agency and beyond.

While getting inside the mind of caregivers isn’t exactly an easy thing to do, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top things that attract and retain caregivers. After surveying thousands of caregivers every month on behalf of their agencies, we’ve found a common thread. Here’s what they really want.

#1 Give frequent recognition

Because home care is never easy work, caring for your caregivers by recognizing the work they’re doing is critical.

No one wants the work they are doing to go unnoticed. Caregivers appreciate recognition (as do most people). It confirms that they are on the right track and that their employers and supervisors notice their efforts.

While the ways that you recognize your team members will vary based upon personalities, preferences, and various other factors, here are a few general ideas that have been successful across the industry.

  • Verbal recognition: As employees go about their work, be mindful of those who are going above and beyond, or simply are putting passion into their every move. Express your gratitude for them and everything that they do for your company. A simple “thank you” is sometimes sufficient, but make sure you are also clearly identifying what you appreciate. Client satisfaction scores can also be beneficial for identifying who is doing a stand-out job in your company.

  • Perks & bonuses: If someone in your company is doing a particularly good job in their role, consider providing them with a monetary bonus, or even perks that could affirm their effort and incentivize other employees. A few ideas for incentives include additional time off, gift cards at local businesses, event tickets (sporting games, concerts, etc.), and more. There are a lot of opportunities to get creative here.

  • Company-wide recognition: While not everyone loves to be in the spotlight, company-wide recognition helps to clearly identify who are the top performers across the organization. This could be done through a weekly or monthly email, an employee-of-the-month program, or even a small celebration (lunch, group outing, etc).

Overall, caregivers just want more gratitude and thanks on the job. It’s ultimately what keeps them happy and is a big factor in why they stay loyal to a certain agency.

HOME CARE AGENCY CASE STUDY

” You have to learn what your caregivers are looking for,” says the owner. “It’s not just money or they’d all be working in Amazon warehouses.”
Read Their Story
SYNERGY of Carlisle

#2 Implement a caregiver mentor program

A  caregiver mentoring program gives support to your new caregivers and a career ladder to your experienced caregivers.

When a caregiver starts at a new agency, there is often a lot to take in.  The new change of pace can be overwhelming, especially if they feel like they are being thrown straight into the fire.

A mentor program can solve all these problems, as it acts as a peer to peer relationship, focused on helping new and even experienced caregivers improve and grow in their roles.

The program is very simple, but can drastically change recruitment, retention, and turnover rates. Caregiver mentors are assigned to look after new caregivers and are available to help with their training, answer questions, and provide any other support that they need.

Don’t let your caregivers take on the challenges of home care alone. The need for constant feedback and support is essential, and sometimes the best way to do that isn’t through supervisors, but rather peers who have walked the same path and have ideas for navigating it.

#3 Provide a blended learning solution for training

Blended learning is the best of both worlds. It’s a strategy that uses a combination of traditional classroom training with online learning. Topics that require hands-on demonstration can be taught in the classroom, while others can be assigned online at no additional cost.

Caregivers are especially enthusiastic about consuming new information through a blended learning approach, based on the diversity of the experience. No path involved requires a complete course load behind a computer screen or solely hands-on learning – it’s when the two are mixed that the magic happens.

#4 Create a way to give anonymous feedback

As you’re probably already aware, speaking freely and openly isn’t always a comfortable thing to do – especially with your superiors. Not to mention, the fear of repercussions that come with it.

Providing caregivers with an anonymous way to report direct feedback will ensure that you can’t attribute a concern to a specific person, making the feedback, and response to that feedback less biased.

As Laura Shaw-deBruin, Executive Director at Norwood Seniors Network, says, “You need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about your business. In any relationship, nothing is perfect, and everyone is fallible. That includes your relationship with your employees. Some agency owners might say, ‘I don’t need to know about the bad and the ugly in my business because it doesn’t have the bad or the ugly.’ I say: How do you know you’re doing so well?”

There is a certain level of safety that anonymous feedback brings, and more often than not, having this option will bring more issues into the light. Employees want to be heard, but sometimes, anxiety and fear can hold them back from expressing what is truly on their mind.

One of the many ways in which you could do this is by collecting information through our caregiver surveys. Every month, a sample of your caregivers will be surveyed, giving you detailed feedback and unbiased satisfaction scores. Your agency will be able to get a better understanding of your caregivers needs, wants, and concerns, giving you insight to solve problems or address any over-arching issues.

HOME CARE AGENCY CASE STUDY

They attribute it directly to one specific tool. 
Read Their Story
Norwood Seniors - Case Study

#5 Offer daily pay solutions

Throughout the industry, bi-weekly payroll is the norm; however, with the increased need for competition, agencies are starting to meet their caregivers demands more closely.

With retention being one of the most difficult aspects of home care to nail down, home care agency owners have been willing to try new options – including daily pay. As highlighted by Home Health Care News, “These…companies have seen on average a 50% reduction of annualized turnover among the population of daily pay users. The story is very clear: daily pay is a benefit that caregivers are willing to stay for.”

Caregivers face many difficulties in the workforce. Because of a mix of low income and fluctuating hours, the median annual income is less than $14,000 – and with the low income, comes an increase in poverty rates. Almost 24% of caregivers are living below the federal poverty line, which is almost 2.5 times more than the percentage of poverty for all U.S. workers.

Caregivers are continually seeking places of employment that can be more competitive in their payroll model, and with the idea of daily pay popping up more throughout home care, caregivers are looking for agencies that will adapt.

While daily pay can seem like a nightmare to administer, it’s important to note that daily pay companies will take care of the logistics for you. Additionally, most agencies that commit to daily pay allow caregivers to opt-in and the daily pay vendor includes a small transactional fee for the caregiver when they use the service.

Maybe it’s time for your agency to consider a daily pay solution?

#6 Provide continuing education

Training provides a way for caregivers to develop themselves in what some people might otherwise see as a dead-end job. And not only that, but caregivers also tend to be more successful and engaged when they have goals and ongoing opportunities to stretch themselves.

Home care agencies that build custom, targeted training programs increase their ROI in three important ways. Benefits include increased referral, improved client satisfaction, and reduced caregiver turnover.

You could also consider providing your caregivers with the option of specialty learning depending on if your agency wants to highlight targeted care. Specialized learning paths are a great tool for helping your caregivers to expand their knowledge. These paths include pre-built sets of curricula focused on all the common conditions that caregivers may encounter during their typical work schedules, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care, infection control, behavioral health, preventing readmissions, palliative care, and restorative care.

#7 Prepare caregivers beforehand

One of the top ten complaints from caregivers, as assessed in the 2020 Home Care Benchmarking Study was that caregivers felt they were being sent into cases without adequate introductions or care plans established beforehand.

Caregivers agreed that detailed up-to-date care plans were a must and that being introduced to new clients by a supervisor would be preferable before any initial contact.

Going into any situation with concerns or lack of clear understanding is stressful all around, but even more so when you will be spending hours on end caring for their needs.

Make sure your agency is giving these introductions the time they need. It will vary from agency to agency but start with reviewing the care plan together, providing directions to the home or place of care, and evaluating any of the client’s specific concerns.

Keeping your caregivers happy

As an agency owner, it’s likely you have a high-level overview of daily operations, but when you take the time to dig a bit deeper, there will always be room for improvement on the ground floor.

All in all, the most important part of your home care agency is the people who run it (caregivers); however, it’s not just a give and take scenario. By making small tweaks or even large changes to your agency based on what your caregivers want, you’ll see a drastic change in many areas, including productivity, retention and recruitment, client and caregiver satisfaction, and business growth overall.

Make sure you’re recognizing the value of your caregivers. They should always be your top priority.

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