There are many important elements that play into the success of a home care agency, but putting your caregivers at the heart center of your business will reap the rewards.
In a recent episode of the Vision podcast, Miriam Allred spoke with Chelsey Ammons, VP of Nursing of Care Advantage Inc. about how her team has successfully retained hundreds of caregivers across 25+ locations over the course of the pandemic.
We’ll be breaking down this information a little bit further. Here are the seven tips that Chelsey discussed, and ways that you can strategically implement these ideas to start retaining more caregivers.
Culture just might be one of the most important factors impacting the retention of caregivers. It affects every aspect of your business and plays a big role in satisfaction.
With the term “culture” being thrown around in corporate jargon all the time, we want to take a closer look at what that means and what it might look like for your home care agency.
Simply put, culture can be defined by any of the following: the values, beliefs, attitudes, norms, symbols, assumptions, language, habits, and systems of a company. While broad, there’s a lot of room for you to pinpoint what’s most important.
Company culture isn’t going to look the same for every business, but there are some stand-out companies that are taking it to the next level – and we’d recommend getting some ideas from them. Here are some of the most notable:
At Care Advantage, a big part of their culture is Transparency. With this emphasis, during COVID-19, they’ve been able to retain caregivers because the level of communication they’ve developed has given all employees peace-of-mind during day-to-day operations. You really can’t over-communicate during a time like the one we’re in.
According to Chelsey, the Care Advantage team operates as a “family,” and there’s truly nothing better than that.
#2: Relatability, advocacy, and support
Being able to connect with your caregivers, and staff in general is a critical piece of the puzzle. If you can’t effectively understand their point of view and help give them leverage, there’s no reason for them to stick around.
For example, Chelsey started with Care Advantage in 2012 as a part-time home health supervisor and actually served in every clinical position within the personal care division. Because of that, she was able to get a better grasp on what each individual was going through.
Not only did this opportunity help her be able to better relate to the clinicians and caregivers there, but she felt as though she was more in tune to give sound advice or techniques to overcome the struggles and hardships.
As a leader, it’s important that you’re continually learning about and understanding the struggles your staff is facing. Finding solutions and ways to help relieve the stress plays a big role in burnout and will affect how long your staff is on board.
Here at Home Care Pulse, we get the opportunity to speak with hundreds of home care agencies every day and communication is consistently one of the top complaints or issues that caregivers bring to light.
Whether it’s not being updated about changed schedules, unresponsive office staff, or feeling like management isn’t putting in enough effort – the truth is, communication can draw the line between a happy caregiver and a dissatisfied caregiver.
Over-communicating, as we talked about earlier, is one of the best ways to approach this. Caregivers would rather be over-communicated with then swept under the table.
At Care Advantage, and from what we’ve heard from a lot of home care agencies, text messaging has been one of the most popular and responsive forms of communication along with Facebook. The rate at which people are using these two platforms means that communication is almost immediate.
#4: Career development support
Career ladders are a huge source of retention for home care agencies. With room for growth, caregivers are more likely to stick around and advance their skills in whatever area interests them most.
Training and development might look a little something like specialization, or even just getting trained on the basics of caregiving – either way, this gives caregivers something to look forward to.
As Chelsey said on the podcast, “We actually offer classes here locally and virtually now which is a huge way of recruiting at this point. With everything going on with COVID having that virtual ability has been a major success for our recruiting efforts. So, if somebody comes in has zero experience and wants to learn about how to become a caregiver, we’re able to bring them in for virtual classes, get them trained. And if they desire to further their education, then we have resources to help them do that.”
#5: Give recognition when it’s due
When caregivers are going above and beyond, you should be recognizing the work their doing.
Often times, the people that land and stay in this industry are extremely humble, compassionate, and genuine people who might not be getting a lot of recognition. It’s up to your agency to take a closer look into the work they’re doing and show them how much you appreciate all they do for your agency.
Caregiving isn’t an easy job and taking some time to simply say “thank you” or even provide extra benefits and incentives can make a world of difference.
When you start rewarding for excellence, it motivates the rest of the team to amp up their efforts and soon, you’ll have an army of caregivers who are providing the best care possible.
#6: Improved engagement
Going hand-in-hand with communication is improved engagement. Your agency should be able to quickly identify situations or be able to jump in and support caregivers wherever necessary.
Improved engagement might look a little something like touchpoints before and after meeting with clients, one-on-one’s, or even just a quick phone check-in.
Chelsey highlighted some of the ways that they conduct these points of engagement:
“So, if I’m speaking to the caregiving staff, we have touchpoints with them after their first shift. We call and see how things went and ask ‘how did everything go with their patient?’ because it isn’t just important to know how the patient reacts to the care, but also how the caregiver reacts to the patient’s situation. It’s not always a good fit and that’s okay, but as long as we identify that situation… then we make some changes.”
#7: Continuing growth and learning opportunities
The work that caregivers do is extremely important, and to help them understand that, every home care agency should be helping to build them up and grow in a variety of different ways – personally and professionally.
Some options here might include:
A look into caregiver retention
There are so many important elements that play into the success of a home care agency but putting the caregiver at the heart and center of your business will reap rewards. Chelsey and the rest of the Care Advantage team are doing and seeing the results of that.
To get a better look into caregiver recruitment and retention in 2021, be sure to participate in the Benchmarking Study survey. With the impact that COVID-19 has had on home care, this year’s study is bound to be our most important yet – and the more people that participate, the better the insights will be.