A home care agency with 25 caregivers can expect to lose more than $40,000 from their bottom line to caregiver turnover costs this year.
Caregiver turnover isn’t a new topic, and every home care agency owner has experienced the headache that it brings. However, many agency owners are less aware of just how much caregiver turnover truly costs their agency, as well as how caregiver feedback can be leveraged to reduce these costs.
The Hidden Costs of Caregiver Turnover
Most of the direct costs—costs to find, hire, orient, and train a new caregiver—are predictable. These include advertising, creating job postings, time spent by management to interview new candidates, onboarding, orientation meetings, and time spent by management and other caregivers to train the candidates. While these costs are formidable, they don’t include the considerable indirect costs associated with replacing a caregiver.
Indirect costs of caregiver turnover are harder to predict and harder still to quantify, but they underscore the fact that caregiver turnover impacts every part of your business. These include:
Loss of productivity—newer employees require more time and attention from coordinators and managers, often in addition to their scheduled training time.
Lowered work quality—more experienced caregivers know the ins and outs of making clients happy. Newer caregivers typically require time and training before they can consistently deliver the quality of care that your clients expect. This could lead to lowered demand for your services and fewer client referrals.
Damaged morale—when too many employees leave, other employees start to ask why. The resulting drop in morale impacts work culture, causes problems for management, and even affects the level of care that your clients receive.
Estimate how much caregiver turnover is costing your agency with our free tool.
The Power of Listening
Many agencies look for the silver bullet to reduce caregiver turnover. The truth is, every agency is different and every caregiver has different needs. There is no one-size-fits-all method to singlehandedly prevent caregiver turnover, but there is a method to learn your own caregivers’ specific needs so that you can find out exactly what will reduce caregiver turnover for your agency.
The best way is hit the nail on the head. Even in agencies that work to treat their caregivers exceptionally well, caregiver turnover is typically caused by a number of separate factors within the caregiver experience.
If you can understand exactly where you have the greatest room for improvement, you save time and energy by zeroing in on one or two aspects rather than wasting effort in the wrong places.
There is no one-size-fits-all method to singlehandedly prevent caregiver turnover, but there is a method to learn your own caregivers’ specific needs so that you can find out exactly what will reduce caregiver turnover for your agency.
To learn what your caregivers need, you’ll need a mix of quantitative data (satisfaction scores) and qualitative data (feedback). Feedback will tell you what to do to improve, while satisfaction scores will help you prioritize and track progress.
While the ultimate measure of your success is whether more caregivers are staying longer, tracking caregiver satisfaction will provide road markers along the way. You’ll want a system that allows caregivers to score you in various specific areas, so that you can see exactly where you can improve. Here’s what this data looks like in the reports that Home Care Pulse customers get:
There are different ways you might go about doing it, but our program, in which we interview your caregivers every month as a third party, is the best way to get consistent, unbiased feedback that is raw and actionable. Respect for authority, fear of confrontation, and fear of losing their jobs may prevent your caregivers from giving you unbiased feedback; the most important feedback they can give you is negative feedback.
The Positive Effects of Negative Feedback
While it feels good to focus on the positive feedback you get back, improvement will come as you focus and act on the negative. Every agency gets negative feedback, but a good agency can become a great agency when it lets negative feedback power change rather than arguing with it or sweeping it under the rug.
The advantage of closely tracking different aspects of caregiver feedback is that you can identify small, often very simple areas of improvement that deliver strong results. Focusing on one area where caregivers are displeased is easier than trying to tackle every factor causing caregiver turnover all at once.
For example, the industry’s lowest caregiver satisfaction score is in caregiver recognition. Recognition is a much less costly way to increase retention than other methods like increasing wages. Agencies that are alert to this fact and act upon it can decrease their caregiver turnover at little cost.
Lowering Caregiver Turnover Increases Recruitment
Caregiver turnover and caregiver recruitment are two sides of the same coin—when turnover is decreasing, recruitment becomes easier. If you recruit the right caregivers, turnover will go down. Not only will gathering caregiver feedback help reduce your turnover, but it will help you attract better caregivers by making your agency a more desirable place to work.
Your reputation is a powerful force for recruitment. While caregivers recruited through an employee referral program usually have a higher-than-average acquisition cost, this pays off in the long run because they typically stay longer and provide better service.
Rising Tide Raises All Boats
There’s a saying you might have heard before: A rising tide raises all boats. Your agency is comprised of many different boats—caregiver recruitment, client experience, marketing, caregiver training, office staff, etc. Raising your caregivers’ satisfaction does not impact just your caregiver turnover boat or just your caregiver recruitment boat; it is a rising tide that raises the quality and performance of every part of your business.
To learn more about how we can empower you to reduce caregiver turnover by providing you with feedback from your caregivers, request a free demo with one of our specialists.
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