For an updated, in-depth version of this post, see How to Create a Caregiver Mentor Program to Increase Caregiver Retention.
What kind of “Client Experience” are you providing your clients?
When they leave your care, do they walk away feeling like they could not have asked for better care? Have you ever thought of the “Client Experience” as a major theatrical performance, such as the infamous Broadway show, “Les Misérables”? If you stop to think about it, there are many similarities.
Let me try to illustrate this. You, your office staff, and your care team are all front stage performers. The back stage of your business is everything that supports the success of the front stage. The back stage of your business includes your billing systems, caregiver trainings, recruitment systems, filing systems, sales procedures and training, orientation, retention strategies and so much more. Perhaps one of the most important components of your back stage performance is your retention strategy. With baby boomers turning 75 and older over the next decade, the importance of keeping your best caregivers will become increasingly important. There are many elements that make up a strong and effective retention strategy. In this article, I will focus on one in particular, a Caregiver Mentor Program.
What is a Caregiver Mentor Program?
A caregiver mentor program is “a formalized training program focused on building confidence, satisfaction, and retention among both your best Caregivers and your clients.”
SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, estimated that it costs $3,500.00 to replace one $8.00 per hour employee when all costs—recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, reduced productivity, et cetera, were considered. SHRM’s estimate was the lowest of 17 nationally respected companies who calculate this cost! A strong Caregiver Mentor Program, can be a great way of keeping a keen focus on keeping your best caregivers and avoiding these types of expenses.
Here are a few benefits to implementing a successful Caregiver Mentor Program:
- Focuses your retention program on your best caregivers
- Provides a “career ladder” for your caregivers
- Produces better trained caregivers
- Provides accountability for newer caregivers
- Produces greater confidence among team members and caregivers
- Helps clients feel safer and more secure
- Helps drive client and employee satisfaction
- Helps drive client and employee referrals
- Empowers your entire team
Next, let’s explore four simple steps to implement a successful Caregiver Mentor Program.
Formalize these four aspects of your Caregiver Mentor Program
1. Mentor and Team Selection Process
- You and your office team automatically qualify as mentors.
- Caregiver Mentors should have (1) very little personal baggage, (2) have been with your company for at least six months, and (3) have good leadership skills.
- You and/or your office team are the Mentor Leads.
- Every Caregiver Mentor chosen is assigned to a Mentor Lead.
- Mentor Leads can be on more than one team.
- New caregivers (employed less than 60 days) are assigned to a Mentor Team.
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2. The Program and Compensation Structure
- New caregivers are enrolled and assigned prior to orientation.
- Caregiver Mentors provide hands on training with the new caregiver during their first shift (approximately 2 hours).
- Mentor Leads conduct weekly coaching calls with the new caregivers.
- Mentor Leads are incentivized by rewarding them for every new caregiver who graduates. Graduation takes place after 60 days.
- Caregiver Mentors can be compensated by increasing their pay $1-2 an hour.
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3. Mentor Training for ALL Mentors
- All Mentors are certified and trained before they begin working with new caregivers.
- Mentor Leads should shadow your best caregivers, so they can gain some experience in how the care is provided.
- The formalized training program should include hands on training, procedures, coaching calls, etc.
- Upon graduation, provide them with a “Certified Mentor” certificate. When they help a new caregiver graduate, they receive a sticker they can put on their certificate that signifies they helped another caregiver succeed through their first 60 days.
4. Program Promotion (Let prospects and caregivers know you have it!)
- Let our referral sources know you have this program! Anything that you do different, and that provides value, should be promoted!
A well-implemented Caregiver Mentor Program can make a difference to the overall “Client Experience,” otherwise known as your front stage performance. If you would like to learn more about this program, I conducted a full one-hour presentation recently that goes into far more detail than I can capture in this article.