With all the opportunities available outside of your agency, what measures can you take to prevent caregivers from feeling as though they are in a dead end job?
As a home care owner struggling to reduce caregiver turnover, it may be difficult to understand what’s causing them to leave and what you could focus on to motivate them to stay. In this article, we’ll look into why caregivers choose to work for an agency, training they hope to benefit from, how they prefer to be recognized for good work, and processes you could put in place to increase your ability to retain caregivers.
Top Reasons Caregivers Work for a Provider
As we conduct interviews with caregivers, one of the questions asked in 2016 was: “Why did you choose to work for this agency over others?” From the thousands of interviews we conduct each month, we built a list of the top five reasons we were given.
|1||First Job Applied For/First Company to Offer Employment|
|2||Company was Recommended to Them|
|3||Good Working Environment and Benefits|
|4||Company had Good Reputation|
|5||Working Schedule Met Lifestyle|
Consider why your caregivers decided to work for you. Do those reasons fit with your purpose as a home care agency? Do they point to potential success in or challenges with overcoming caregiver retention?
Of the five reasons listed, three are reasons that point to a home care company known for being a company worth working for. “Met Lifestyle” shows you provided flexibility enough for the balance they are seeking at the time of taking the job. This could easily become a reason not to work for you if changes in client needs conflict with the caregiver’s lifestyle. Unfortunately, the top reason caregivers provided for why they work where they do doesn’t speak much to a promise of longevity. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of employment is 4.3 years. “Short-tenured” employees ranged from 0.8 to 2.8 years. If you’re objective is to recruit long-term caregivers, you might want to avoid these short-tenured candidates who include: new entrants and re-entrants to the workforce and those who both found and lost jobs within the previous year.
With all the opportunities available outside of your agency, what measures can you take to prevent caregivers from feeling as though they are in a dead end job? While not all your caregivers can be promoted to management, here are a couple ways you might consider in helping them grow and improve their skills.
Caregivers interviewed as part of our quality management program were asked, “What additional training would you like to receive?” Here were their top five responses:
- CPR/First Aid/Medical Training
- Any Additional Training that is Offered
- Hands-on/Client Specific Training
- Dementia/Alzheimers Training
- C.N.A. Training
Continuing to educate your caregivers not only improves the quality of care you provide your clients, it opens your entire agency to opportunities of expanding services offered. Your caregivers feel valued because you’re investing in them and their confidence in being able to perform their duties also increases.
If your agency doesn’t have a training curriculum, we recommend looking into Institute for Professional Care Education and intheknow. Both provide great resources and training courses for caregivers.
For longer-tenured caregivers, providing an opportunity to mentor newer caregivers can be rewarding and empowering. It connects them more to the company as they recognize their importance in contributing. Caregiver mentor programs are also effective in ensuring the training provided translates to how it’s practiced in the clients’ homes.
Develop a Positive Culture
Along with your drive to provide the best quality of care to your home care clients, give your caregivers the confidence you support them and want them to succeed. Encourage feedback and use a third-party means for them to be even more open in the feedback they provide. Simply giving them a voice reduces frustrations many feel when they doubt their employer cares.
Open Communication: Meet with your caregivers regularly and evaluate them monthly. During these meetings, allow for open and honest communication.
Define Expectations: When you caregivers understand what you expect of them, they’ll be more prepared to accept constructive criticism and guidance when they don’t meet standards your agency has set.
Get to Know Them: Whether it’s a brief visit while walking through the office or a regular activity you schedule to interact with your employees, take the time to get to know them and their interests. Set aside time when you know caregivers might be coming and going from the office so you can check on their day, ask about their family, and discuss their hobbies.
Recognize and Reward: When you see your caregivers excelling in values you wish to promote and see more of in your agency, be sure to both privately and publicly recognize them for their efforts. Most managers and owners are quick to let employees know they don’t meet up with expectations and forget to provide the positive feedback. Recognition can come in simple forms but is effective in encouraging those recognized and those who witness the recognition to repeat the good behavior and actions. According to the 2017 Home Care Benchmarking Study, the forms of recognition caregivers prefer include: verbal recognition from a supervisor, vacation time/bonus/perks/gift cards, pay raises, recognition from a client, or recognition sent company-wide.
The relationship between home care owner and caregiver is dynamic with myriad factors leading to either success in caregiver retention or struggles with caregiver turnover. With the client and caregiver interviews we offer through our Quality Managment program, you are provided with valuable insights and resources to make improvements many home care agencies have benefited from in reducing caregiver turnover. Schedule an overview with our Business Development team to learn more about our program and what it can do specifically for your agency.