For an updated, in-depth version of this post, see How to Create a Caregiver Mentor Program to Increase Caregiver Retention.
Henry Ford once said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” The primary purpose of a caregiver mentor program is to strengthen your relationship with your caregivers and provide the support and training they need to be successful. When caregivers get the support they need, they provide higher quality care and experience much greater satisfaction with their work. Putting in place a caregiver mentor program will help your caregivers get the training they need to succeed and ensure you’re getting quality caregivers in return.
A caregiver mentor program should be focused on satisfaction and training. To ensure that training is thorough and satisfactory, you need to have strong “caregiver mentors.” When you get the right people in the mentor role, their mentees stay longer, are more engaged, and represent your company more positively. Clients also receive the benefit of higher quality care. Training your caregivers is elemental to ensure client satisfaction and company growth.
What It Is and What It Is Not.
It is essential to know the basic purposes of a caregiver mentor program. Below is a rundown of what a caregiver mentor program is and what it is not.
A caregiver mentor program is:
- A way to help new caregivers feel more involved and a part of the team
- A great recruitment tool
- A marketing tool for new clients and referral sources
- A way to strengthen retention among clients and caregivers
- A career ladder for caregivers
A caregiver mentor program is NOT:
- A way to compensate for a poor hire
- In substitute of supervisory visits
- Your primary training program
The most important thing to remember about a caregiver mentor program is that it is not your main form of training. A caregiver mentor is meant to supplement training and be a safety net for caregivers who need extra help.
Why Should You Have a Caregiver Mentor Program?
1. It creates belonging among caregivers.
Almost immediately, your caregivers will feel they are being looked out for by their mentor and that their success is important to you. They will feel a sense of belonging due to their mentor’s care and training.
2. It reduces caregiver turnover.
Caregiver retention is one of the biggest threats to the home care industry. If you can’t decrease turnover, you’re at a disadvantage. When caregivers are given the proper tools to succeed from the beginning, they will stay longer and be happier. It also gives your company a competitive advantage because caregivers want to join companies where they know their success is a priority.
3. It boosts caregiver confidence and satisfaction.
Even if a new hire has previous caregiver experience, working for a new company is an entirely different experience. They have no knowledge of your expectations or your work culture. Having a solid mentor program will give them all the knowledge and training they need to succeed. They will feel more confident in their role because they know what is expected of them and they are learning through training and not trial and error.
4. It Increases client confidence.
“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel.”- Sybil F. Stershic
When an employee or caregiver is given all the training they need to succeed, their confidence is strengthened, and their overall job satisfaction is boosted. It’s simple: When you have a happy caregiver, you have a happy client. Your clients feel more confident when they know their caregiver is getting the proper training for their specific situation.
5. It offers growth opportunities/retention for top caregivers.
A caregiver mentor program is the perfect way to provide a career ladder for your caregivers. It gives them the opportunity to grow in your business by becoming a caregiver mentor or mentor lead. This potential for growth will also give your clients more purpose in their work which will increase your caregiver retention rate.
6. It creates a positive team-centered culture.
Due to the nature of a mentor program, there is more accountability among your caregivers. They know they are being observed their first few months, so they are doing their best to perform well and learn as much as they can. It also gives your caregivers a chance to work together as a team, which is rare because their work is solitary.
7. It’s a great recruiting tool.
No caregiver wants to work with a home care business that doesn’t prioritize their success. By having a mentor program in place for your caregivers, you are showing potential caregivers that they won’t be abandoned or forgotten. They will have someone there to help them grow and prioritize their success. Be sure to mention your caregiver mentoring program in your job ads and in caregiver orientation.
Creating a caregiver mentor program is not an easy task. Like anything worthwhile, it will take time and effort for you and for your current caregivers. But it will eventually pay off in reduced caregiver turnover and increased client and caregiver satisfaction.