Most home care agency owners understand the importance of a great client experience and dedicate themselves to improving it. However, it can be easy to overlook the importance of listening to your caregivers and working equally hard to improve their experience.
Having happy caregivers will save you money on turnover costs, help you provide better care that results in happier clients, help you recruit better caregivers in the future, and ultimately make your life as a home care agency owner much easier.
With industry turnover at 67% and home care agency owners identifying caregiver shortages as the top threat to their growth, the agencies best positioned to handle recruitment and retention are those who listen to their caregivers and act on the feedback they receive.
I’d like to discuss some resources Home Care Pulse provides to help listen to your caregivers, as well as some methods that any agency, Home Care Pulse customer or not, can use to help improve their turnover.
Understanding Caregiver Engagement Score
At Home Care Pulse, we are intently focused on helping agencies better listen to their caregivers through our Caregiver Satisfaction Program.
You’re probably familiar with the Net Promoter Score®, a metric commonly used throughout the business world to measure a customer’s willingness to recommend a product or service to their friends. We use a similar metric called the Caregiver Engagement Score to track a caregiver’s willingness to refer others to work for you.
In every interview with caregivers we ask, “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to refer others to work at this agency?” We then sort caregivers into three groups based on their responses: Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8), and Detractors (1-6).
To calculate Caregiver Engagement Score, simply subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
This score provides a powerful metric to track the progress you are making in improving your caregivers’ experience. While the ultimate measure of your success in this regard is whether caregivers are staying with your agency longer and referring others to work for you, Caregiver Engagement Score provides a useful road marker along the way.
Home Care Pulse customers who already have access to this metric should be checking it often; as an outcome measurement, this is influenced by many facets of caregiver satisfaction. Because of this, it is useful both as a way to continually gauge your ability to recruit through your caregivers and also as one measurement of the health of your organization.
In addition, it’s important to consider that while caregivers recruited through other caregivers typically have a high acquisition cost relative to other methods of recruiting, they are also much more likely to stay longer, help existing caregivers stay longer, and be satisfied with their work. This will also save you time and money in the long run.
We’ve studied extensively the importance of tracking your caregivers’ satisfaction and its impact on the rest of your business. In one dramatic example that we discussed in a recent webinar, an agency in Houston became so committed to the well-being of its caregivers that 100% of its caregivers became promoters.
The benefits of this agency having 100% promoters were powerful and obvious; its caregivers were extremely satisfied, stayed longer, and in turn referred other caregivers likely to stay longer as well. Its caregiver turnover is almost 20% below the industry average, and based on turnover cost data we estimate that they save over $50,000 a year on turnover costs relative to other agencies.
What Makes a Caregiver Refer?
This brings us to a simple question: what factors most influence a caregiver to refer others to you?
While the most accurate answers to this question come from seeking feedback directly from your caregivers, the Home Care Benchmarking Study provides us with answers to this question that are relevant across the industry. The three factors that are most highly correlated with a caregiver’s willingness to refer are support from the office staff, clear expectations, and recognition.
In particular, I’d like to highlight the strong correlation between showing recognition to your caregivers and their likeliness to refer others to work for you. Interestingly, caregiver recognition was also the area of satisfaction in which agencies score the lowest across the industry, according to the thousands of caregivers we interviewed last year and published in the most recent Home Benchmarking Study.
While low scores are never desirable, this is good news! Showing recognition is one of the simplest and least costly issues to address. You can show consistent and sincere recognition to your caregivers at little or no additional cost to your agency.
The Importance of Public Recognition
There are many ways you can show appreciation to your caregivers, but I’d like to focus on a few specific principles.
According to the most recent data, the top way caregivers want to be recognized is with verbal recognition from their supervisor. While you should take advantage of spontaneous, one-on-one opportunities to praise your caregivers, I am also a strong believer in providing recognition formally and publicly. This means using trainings, newsletters, supervisory visits, and other meetings as a chance to recognize hardworking and dedicated caregivers in front of their peers.
At Home Care Pulse, we have a company lunch every week in which our leadership team recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond in exemplifying our company values. We also provide time for employees to give each other shout-outs in front of the rest of the company. This has helped our employees to feel valued and brought us closer together as a company. Providing similar opportunities at training meetings may be a great way for you to show similar appreciation to your caregivers.
I also recommend varying the ways in which you show appreciation. Different individuals look for validation in different ways, and using several different channels to show recognition will help ensure that every caregiver feels valued. Our Caregiver Recognition Brainstorming List can help you develop a plan to consistently show recognition to your caregivers.
Take your caregiver recognition up a notch with the Caregiver Appreciation Brainstorming List
Assets to Your Company
It’s important to treat your caregivers as the assets to your company that they are. With the rising turnover and recruitment crisis within the industry, your caregivers need as much of your time and attention as your clients do.
Properly recognizing your caregivers will help you reduce your turnover and boost your recruitment. Using tools like Caregiver Engagement Score will enable you to optimize your efforts to improve your caregivers’ experience, receive more caregiver referrals, and move ahead of your competition.
If you’re not yet a member of our Quality Management Program and want to learn more about how tracking Caregiver Engagement Score can help you manage your recruitment and retention, I’d invite you to schedule a demo with one of our specialists.
It’s a great time to be in home care. Let’s improve lives together.
Founder & CEO, Home Care Pulse