While we may claim that we view caregivers as the priceless assets that they are, there are bigger questions to consider. Do we really show it? Are our caregivers really feeling it?
Caregivers come and go – that’s the simple nature of home care. The problem is, that’s only scratching the surface.
Have you ever heard the statement that you should be viewing your caregivers as “priceless assets” instead of “replaceable commodities?”
Erik Madsen, CEO of Home Care Pulse, is a big promoter of this – you may have seen him mention it in blogs, webinars, or at other events.
With home care being a high turnover industry, we need to do everything in our power to keep the right people in the right seats – and while we may claim that we view caregivers as the priceless assets that they are, there are bigger questions to consider.
Do we really show it? Are our caregivers really feeling it?
Do you view caregivers as priceless assets or replaceable commodities?
When you don’t approach the employee-employer relationship strategically, it can quickly become tangled.
A caregiver can have one negative experience with your agency and the switch flips. It takes only a second for a caregiver to feel undervalued and unappreciated.
When caregivers are seen as priceless assets rather than as replaceable commodities, these situations are far less likely to occur.
Many people assume that since the caregivers in the industry turnover frequently, investing this heavily in them will take too much time and won’t reap the benefits.
That’s simply the wrong way of looking at it.
The fact that the work caregivers do is invaluable – and something that not everyone can perform successfully – can be a powerful incentive for home care agencies to retain and improve the quality of their workforce.
So, how do you know if your agency is REALLY putting this idea into practice? Let’s visualize this for a second.
A tale of two agencies
A caregiver shortage is pressing on one agency, which will hire anyone who walks through its doors. It feels like a never-ending cycle and they’re losing caregivers almost as fast as they can hire them.
They provide new caregivers with the minimum mandated amount of orientation training, then send them on their way to start caring for clients.
Knowing that their turnover rate is so high, they don’t invest time in continuous training and are weary of providing any benefits or incentives other than what is mandatory.
On top of that, they’re also not surveying their caregivers to know the deeper context of what’s going on in their agency and what motivates their caregivers to continue working and thriving.
Alternatively, consider another agency that carefully vets their candidates during the hiring process to ensure they are a good match for the agency, and the agency is a good match for the candidate.
In addition to thorough orientation training to handle care plans and other duties, the staff is required to receive continuous training to make sure they are staying up to date, as well as exploring their own goals.
When their caregivers go above-and-beyond, they’re publicly recognized for their work and rewarded accordingly.
This agency is staying on top of their surveys and feedback to see what they can do to improve the caregiver experience. No comment or concern is too small to be addressed because the satisfaction of their caregivers is what keeps the agency moving forward.
Which agency do you think is more successful? Which one do you think caregivers prefer to work for?
These examples might be a bit drastic, but they get the point across. As an agency owner, your actions speak for themselves.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.” -Richard Branson
Shifting your mindset
Here’s a short anecdote that might help to put things into perspective.
“There was a man taking a morning walk at or the beach. He saw that along with the morning tide came hundreds of starfish and when the tide receded, they were left behind and with the morning sun rays, they would die. The tide was fresh and the starfish were alive. The man took a few steps, picked one and threw it into the water. He did that repeatedly.
Right behind him there was another person who couldn’t understand what this man was doing. He caught up with him and asked, “What are you doing? There are hundreds of starfish. How many can you help? What difference does it make?” This man did not reply, took two more steps, picked up another one, threw it into the water, and said, “It makes a difference to this one.”
We like to think of caregivers in a similar way.
Amongst the 1-100+ caregivers on your team, starting small and doing what you can to value their work will give you a significant edge over your competitors.
The best agencies across the country are the ones that recognize that nurturing and investing in their staff can make a difference.
Training, recognition, and continuous support all play a role in caregiver satisfaction. Do you want happy caregivers that promote and stick with your agency, or unsatisfied caregivers that aren’t putting forth their best work and will probably leave with little notice?
It all comes back to how you’re viewing your caregivers. Priceless assets or replaceable commodities?
Where to start
Viewing caregivers as priceless assets takes serious work and dedication, and it might be difficult to know where to start if you don’t have a good grasp on what caregivers want.
Each month, Home Care Pulse gathers feedback from thousands of caregivers to help home care agencies like yours, better understand their relationship with their employees.
Based on the feedback we’ve gathered, there are 10 complaints that caregivers frequently share with us. These include:
Low pay/lack of benefits.
Not getting proper information about a client before starting with them.
Lack of client compatibility.
Lack of openness to ideas or feedback.
Too much commute/travel time.
The goal of any agency should be to create a caregiver experience that makes employees want to come to work every day.
To focus more on the caregiver experience you should begin by addressing any caregiver concerns to the best of your ability. For example, with poor communication being the number one complaint, it’d be simple to implement a routine to communicate with each of your caregivers on a regular basis just to check up on them.
Gabby Hoing, Founder and CEO of Kore Cares told us that her team uses on-going 90-day reviews to see how their caregivers are doing and it’s been a huge success for their operations.
If you don’t currently survey your caregivers, this is another good place to start. You can conduct them in-house or use a third-party like Home Care Pulse. Either way, the most important thing is that you’re gaining a better understanding of what’s going great and what could be improved inside of your agency.
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Caregivers being treated as disposable commodities seems short-sighted and contradictory to most agencies’ long-term goals.
If your agency is aiming for growth in any capacity, caregivers (along with clients) need to be front and center.
Here are just a few of the areas that will benefit when you start looking at and treating your caregivers as your most important assets.
Caregivers will be more satisfied in their roles, leading to lower turnover and less time/effort spent on recruitment. On average, it costs $2,600 to replace a caregiver according to data from the Center for American Progress and the Home Care Benchmarking Study. With lower turnover rates, your agency will be saving a significant amount of money on hiring and training new caregivers.
Clients will become more satisfied with your agency because they’re being served by more capable and committed caregivers, thus giving you the ability to positions your agency as a premium provider. With more client satisfaction, you’ll see better online reviews, more client referrals, and a reputation that makes clients come to you. It’s a win-win situation.
Recruiting new caregivers will become easier than ever. As you establish an employment brand as being “the best agency to work for,” you’ll see an increase in referrals and traction in your hiring process.
If you start thinking of your caregivers as priceless assets (and show them that you mean it), your business will develop an upward trajectory in everything you do.
Caregiving is more than just a job
No matter how hard you try, you can’t put a price on caregivers.
Sure, the average median revenue generated by a single caregiver is over $13,000 a year, but their value extends way beyond that.
Caregiving is one of the most difficult jobs out there. Your caregivers’ efforts to create a safe, comfortable environment for clients is an unmatchable ability that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
And when you take it even one step further and view your staff as humans rather than just a position, a title, or someone who helps you get the job done, satisfaction is going to be through the roof.
These individuals work hard every day to improve the quality of life for their clients across the country, and we’re grateful for their sacrifices. We hope you are too.