When Michelle Lisk realized her family needed another source of income to pay for her kids’ college, she told her husband she was thinking of becoming a caregiver.
“A caregiver? What’s that?” her husband responded.
A few days and a lot of research later, her husband came to her. “How would you feel about running your own home care agency instead?” he asked.
Starting an agency wasn’t easy, but Michelle learned the ropes and her SYNERGY franchise quickly became an exceptional source of home care in the area. The better part of a decade letter, her agency is a six-time Best of Home Care – Leader in Excellence award winner with over 200 clients and caregivers.
A Laser Focus on Improvement
Asked about the secrets to her success, Michelle always brings it back to listening to clients and caregivers and then acting to make continual improvements.
Early on, however, she recognized that making regular quality calls to clients and soliciting feedback from caregivers on her own wasn’t enough. These processes weren’t consistent or organized enough, and many clients and caregivers were often reluctant to speak their mind. She contracted with Home Care Pulse to survey her clients and caregivers as an independent third party and turn their feedback into reports she could use to power improvement.
“I love the feedback I’m getting,” Michelle says. “The data you get with Home Care Pulse is just great in helping you run your business and improve your overall quality for clients as well as your retention with caregivers.”
She’s found that by involving her staff, she’s made the reports and data from Home Care Pulse even more effective—by letting different staff members with different priorities and areas of expertise look at them, they’re able to provide additional perspectives on how to leverage the feedback to create meaningful change.
“We just want to keep improving,” says Michelle.
Understanding What Caregivers Want
Learning what your caregivers want is critical, according to Michelle. “You have to learn the kind of culture they’re looking for. It isn’t just about money or they’d be working in a warehouse. We have a ton of warehouses near us and they all pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour. . .”
“There was a point when I realized the culture that my caregivers wanted. They wanted to feel a part of something. It’s about the caring and recognition. If you go back through our monthly reports and surveys that we get from Home Care Pulse, you can see by their responses that that’s what they really wanted. They just want to feel appreciated and like they’re doing good out there.”
“You have to learn the kind of culture [your caregivers] are looking for. It isn’t just about money or they’d be working in a warehouse. We have a ton of warehouses near us and they all pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour. . .”
A 25% Reduction in Caregiver Turnover
Michelle and her staff have created a true culture of recognition at their agency, and it’s yielded results. Since starting with Home Care Pulse, they’ve reduced their annual caregiver turnover rate by 25%. It now hovers around 30%—almost 40% lower than the national industry average.
It’s also important to note that during the time that her turnover dropped by 25%, industry turnover rose by more than 30%.
Michelle attributes this success to their ability to use Home Care Pulse surveys to keep learning and improving. She’s found that because caregivers can be reluctant to speak openly because they’re nervous for their jobs or intimidated by authority, using a third party helps to get much more useful feedback. She also says that acting on that feedback helps the caregivers feel more confident to approach her directly.
“Most of our referrals are word of mouth. . . Probably 45-50% of them ask about our awards.”
An Award-Winning Agency
Gathering client and caregiver feedback through Home Care Pulse also makes Michelle’s agency eligible to receive Best of Home Care awards based on their satisfaction scores—and they’ve achieved such high satisfaction scores that they’ve won Leader in Excellence six years in a row.
These awards have a powerful impact on marketing: “Most of our referrals are word of mouth, followed by the Internet. Probably 45-50% of them ask about our awards. It’s the family members who are out there searching online and [the award piques their interest].”
Michelle isn’t shy about the exceptional steps her agency has taken to become a great place for clients and caregivers.
“When they see that we’re a Leader in Excellence for four years straight, we get questions: What does that mean? It’s a great start to conversations. ‘What have you done to get that Leader in Excellence?’ ‘Well, let me tell you what we’ve done.’”