Overcoming the Biggest Barrier to Growing Your Home Care Business

Home Care Office Staff Hiring Tips

The caregiver recruiting and retention crisis is one of the biggest issues home care agencies are facing in 2021. There are simply not enough caregivers to meet the growing demand. 

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What’s the biggest barrier to growing your home care business? A shortage of client inquiries? An Ineffective sales process? A poor relationship with referral sources? NO!

The biggest barrier to growing your home care business in 2021 is the caregiver recruiting and retention crisis. There are simply not enough caregivers to meet the growing demands of an aging population.

Our work with Home Care Mastermind Groups in the top 10% of the industry shows that the largest companies are still growing despite the caregiver shortage. What are they doing that smaller companies are not?

Find Higher Quality Candidates

In a conversation with the owner of a very large home care company, he told us that of his 12 offices, nine of them had grown hours in 2019, and three were flat or down. In looking at the data, he learned that the three offices that had not grown also fell behind in the number of qualified caregiver applicants. In his analysis, there is a direct correlation between the number of qualified applicants and the growth in hours of the business.

Our research shows that there are three elements in attracting applicants: the placement of the ad, the wording of the ad, and how you tell the story of your company.

Let’s take a look at how the wording of your job ads affects the number and the quality of applicants. In writing a highly effective job ad, there are four key ingredients:

  • Hook ’em with the Headline – To attract top quality applicants to your company, you first need to capture their attention. The headline of your job ad is critical. Get away from “Caregivers Needed” and move to an attention-grabbing heading “A Rare Opportunity.”

  • Describe the Job in Detail – Tell the reader exactly what the job is, and what you are looking for in a high-quality caregiver. Paint the picture of the ideal applicant. Avoid the “must have” language.

  • Tell your Story – Why would anyone want to work for you? What is the main reason that high quality caregivers work for your company? We’ve found that high quality caregivers want to do meaningful work, they want to feel valued and appreciated, and they want to feel that they are being paid fairly.

  • Call to Action – Tell the applicant exactly how to apply for the job. Make it easy to apply and make them feel valued.

There is no one best job ad. Take these principles and test them out with different job ads. Track the results from each ad you run, and each recruiting source you use.  Analyze the data to find out which ads in which placements get the largest number of high-quality applicants.

Hire More Full-Time Caregivers

Several years ago, our Top 10% Mastermind Group was visiting a member of our Top 5% Mastermind Group.  The CEO of our host company made an interesting comment:

“Full-time caregivers with benefits don’t quit.”

That was quite a bold statement, and it got the attention of the members of the visiting group.  They did a little survey to find out what percentage of their caregivers were working “full-time “– more than 35 hours per week.  The answers were across the board. One member found that over 50% of her active caregivers were actually working 15 hours a week or less.

In another survey of mastermind members, we asked about the average hours per week per client.  We discovered that the larger, faster-growing companies averaged more than 30 hours per week per client.  The highest number comes from one of our members in California who averages over 90 hours per week per client.

When your clients are using more than 35 hours per week, you can keep your caregivers working full-time without having to work with several smaller clients.  More research shows us that when a caregiver is working the number of hours per week they want to work, and they achieve that by serving one or two clients, they tend to stay with you longer.

Keep Your Caregivers Longer than 90 Days

One of the lessons we learned several years ago from the Home Care Benchmarking Study is that about 80 percent of caregiver turnover happens in the first 90 days.

Caregiver turnover in home care hit an all-time high of 81.6% in 2018.  That means for every 100 caregivers working in home care, 82 of them quit or were fired.  How can you possibly grow your business when most of your recruiting effort is going to replace the churn of turnover?

We’ve identified three big factors in improving your 90-day retention:

#1: Hire the Right Applicant in the First Place

Research from our Caregiver Quality Assurance Program shows clearly that when you do a better job of selection, and hire applicants who are a better fit for the caregiving job, they stay longer, are happier on the job, and get higher client satisfaction scores.  Too many home care agencies are so desperate for caregivers that they hire anyone who can breathe on a mirror.  Then they are frustrated when 80% of them leave in the first 90 days.  When you do a better job of finding applicants who are a good fit for the job, and a good fit for your company, they stay longer and perform better.

One of the tools for better hiring is the culture fit interview. This is a customized job interview based on the core values of your company, and some select behavioral interview questions that help to determine of the applicant’s core values are in alignment with your agency’s core values that helps you have consistent questions asked by anyone conducting an interview. Many of the members of our Home Care CEO Mastermind Groups are focusing on their company culture and hiring caregivers who fit the culture as a key to success.

#2: Keep New Caregivers Working the Hours They Want

One big cause of 90-day turnover is new caregivers who aren’t getting enough hours, or who lose a case and are not scheduled for a new client quickly enough.  That new caregiver you just hired and put out on her first shift is not yet on the radar of your schedulers.  As you know, they call the caregivers they know, and often don’t call the caregivers they don’t know.  If you want that new hire to stay with you, make sure they are on the radar of your schedulers and are getting the hours they need and want.

#3: Stay in Touch and Make them Feel Valued and Appreciated

Our research on the best caregivers shows that good employees will stay with you when they are doing meaningful work, and when they feel valued and appreciated.  Specifically, best caregivers want to feel valued by their clients, valued by their supervisor, and valued by company leadership.  You can keep new caregivers past 90 days by having a system to stay in touch with them, learn about them as a person, and help them feel like they are a valued member of your home care team.

Grow Your Business by Improving 90-Day Retention

The larger companies in our Home Care CEO Mastermind Groups who have focused on improving 90-day retention are seeing measurable improvement in company growth.  There are several positive things that happen when you focus on improving 90-day retention:

  • You have more caregivers already available to accept new clients.

  • Your recruiting efforts result in more caregivers and you can take more clients.

  • Your clients are happier because they get to keep the same caregiver.  The number one thing clients want is “continuity of care”.  They want the same caregiver every time.

  • Your schedulers experience less burnout because working with experienced caregivers makes their job easier.

  • You have fewer call-offs, as experienced caregivers who have a relationship with their clients are less likely to call off.

  • Your business grows because you have fewer missed shifts due to staff shortages.

  • Your business is more profitable.

To learn more about the facts and data related to caregiver recruiting and retention, dive into this section of the Home Care Benchmarking Study from Home Care Pulse.

To learn more about how to grow your business and get ready for the future, consider joining a Home Care Mastermind Group with the Home Care CEO Forum.

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