Ep. 60: How to Build an Office Staff Culture that Helps Retain Caregivers, With Kunu Kaushal
Kunu Kaushal, Founder/CEO of Senior Solutions Home Care and Founder of the Independent Home Care Alliance shares his take on providing the right development opportunities for office staff and how office culture radiates into the client/employee experience.
Miriam Allred (00:08):
Welcome to Vision | The Care Leaders’ Podcast. I’m Miriam Allred with Home Care Pulse. My guest today is Kunu Kaushal the Founder and CEO of Senior Solutions Home Care and the Founder of the Independent Home Care Alliance. Today, we’re going to talk about giving your office staff opportunities to grow and to develop themselves. I think we talk a lot about that on the caregiver front, we talk about career ladders. We talk about mentorship opportunities. We are constantly talking about giving our caregivers more opportunities, but I think there’s something to be said for office staff as well. You know, there’s only maybe so far that they can go, but what are some opportunities that you’ve given your office staff or that your office staff have come to you and ask for any examples or opportunities that you’ve given office staff that you’ve seen become successful?
Kunu Kaushal (00:58):
Yeah, that’s a great thing. You know, this kind of goes back to also what you were saying about what do we look for one thing, I mean, best described as an entrepreneurial spirit, right? Like the idea of understanding there’s problems, there’s challenges, how to resolve those, be resourceful and move forward. I think we want to try to find the path where people can foster that entrepreneurial spirit. It’s not about going and opening a business always. Right? But it is also looking at a growth mindset, says, how will I solve this problem? How can I be impactful to the business and change it? We developed what we call just internally, almost like an ownership mentality. We want individuals to have the opportunity to own a department, own their job, own their zone or their territory, whatever that looks like. And so a big part of, of just career growth for them looks like us taking time to educate them.
Kunu Kaushal (01:53):
Right. And once again is not giving them the step by step of what needs to happen next, but really explaining to them the why, what are the mechanics before and after this? One of the things that we changed almost immediately a couple of years ago is that we started taking all of our new hires through a week long, what we call an immersion process. So we now hire in cohorts. We only do that once a month whatever. And we basically do all of our hire date. Then we sync them up. We have them come in to our main location for their first week. Some are staying in hotels and some are driving in depending on their distance. And in their first week, they have a very structured model of coming in and learning how the entire business operates. And I think the meaningful part to that is they understand history of the company.
Kunu Kaushal (02:46):
They understand the tools that other departments are even using. They get a sense of who are all the players on the field, which we always hear about halfway through, but one that it was like drinking through a fire hose. But two, it was the first time for many of them in their careers of home care or healthcare, where they were able to sit down and understand the entire company. And they felt, I mean, in their own, right. They felt a little more educated on how home care works. And there are a lot of people today that are scheduling or doing operations management and they don’t know how you know, I wouldn’t say go far as deep as, you know, how a P and L works, but they also don’t understand how important it is for cash and what the impact of that could be.
Kunu Kaushal (03:33):
We break it down to their level. I think education on the front end is really important. We set the tone with that is why I even bring that up of giving them that opportunity we make, you know, online learning is something that we’ve really, you know embraced as an organization, one with digital in the digital space considering COVID, it was really the right place to go because we couldn’t do as much of that. In-Person as we wanted. We’re recording our own sessions now internally. We are encouraging our leadership to take the moment to build a PowerPoint, do a zoom session like this and record it for 45 minutes or an hour. And know that that recording can then become a part of the professional development thing inside of our own organization. Right? So that’s kind of an internal process, but over the years, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve noticed that if built correctly I, you know, gone to a lot of conferences, I’ve been lucky and now, and again, to be asked to speak at some, it’s amazing how many of the same faces I see at conferences, right?
Kunu Kaushal (04:39):
And I think that that’s such a disservice and I’m always impressed when an agency takes, you know, their lead scheduler or a different person in their organization. That’s an office staff member and brings them with them to those conferences to be really exposed to that level of learning. It’s not just the sessions, but learning how to network in the space. I think national conferences are probably the safest, right? Because at a state conference, people are worried about people, poaching people, right? I mean, we’ve all got that, like a little bit of insecurity, but I think if, you know, you fly them across the nation somewhere else, and one it’s a reward system for them. Right. And then two, it makes them feel like you value them in my opinion, as a true, you know, they’re, they’re right. There is your right hand, left hand, whatever it looks like.
Kunu Kaushal (05:29):
And the reality is is that for them, the more feeling that they can get I see Connor and the chat is said, you know, what, what happens if you know, within an organization you want to have a growth mindset, but there’s not really room always for promotion or moving up in the organization. I have to tell you the whole idea and concept of a hierarchy in an organization is something that’s probably we’re going to see as time goes, is going to die slowly. And what I mean by that is org charts are getting flatter and they really are. And I think it’s because of one of the capabilities that individuals have today the level of automation that’s been brought to a lot of the platforms. I think technology is, we all know, I mean, even scheduling software, you know, it’s trying to do the work for us so that we don’t need as much of that.
Kunu Kaushal (06:22):
I think what we’ll end up seeing is more supervisors and managers that are teams of one in many ways, you know, they are responsible for a subset. If I had to be forward looking, I would say, you know, Connor, just to your point, I’m not sure I would obsess about titles for, you know, for an individual to move up in the company. I think it has more to do with one them feeling respected that they’ve earned, you know, knowledge to a certain level, but to creating a direct line of control or influence between them and something that is a major goal for the company as an outcome, it can be cash, it can be profit, it can be, you know, territory or geography growth. It can be capability who knows whatever it is. But the more direct that line of influence goes, I don’t think this is a as somebody who straddles the line, by the way, I don’t think this is a millennial mindset.
Kunu Kaushal (07:21):
I think this is just the future. I think in the workspace, people want to know how and where they making impact the growth and advancement of that in my humble opinion is we should be saying that those are the most valuable people in our organization. Anyway, knowing that the org chart is going to get flatter to me. I’ll give you a prime example. One of our branch managers in our company, I look at them as responsible for 1.2 to 1.5 million in revenue. And I want them to be as resourceful and responsible for that line of revenue as possible as an individual, we might help them, but where we help them, for example, when we process payroll or maybe we help them with, you know technology on the backend or whatever we’re doing as a support, we have really flipped our org chart upside down and we’re saying, well, we work for them.
Kunu Kaushal (08:16):
And I think that the powerful move, if you can look at them as being that important one it will take education and an opportunity to teach them and build them up to keep getting there. I also think that growth and advancement is monetary. I mean, to some extent now, I also think that people, if you can make that direct line, more reasonable, people will do more. If they know that there’s an incentive and opportunity out there for them, this is probably the healthy Seesaw that exists with it. We’ve had people in our organization, Miriam, like you know, kind of bring their own interest to the table, right? So we had somebody from our leadership in what we call people services, essentially the HR say, Hey, there’s a group out there. That’s holding a conference. That’s very driven and focused on human resources.
Kunu Kaushal (09:09):
You know, diversity inclusion, education, or whatever these topics are. Our model has been for them to run towards that. We want to pay for it. We want them to go get engaged in it. You know, not everybody is going to have a ton of content out of going to the blank association conference every year, because what they do is very specific to their work or, or they can get better education someplace else. And a great place to start by the way is industry stuff. I mean, if there’s an HR professional in any one of these companies, if they’re not a member of Sherm, the society for human resource managers, right? It makes you go, gosh, we’re just missing the boat on a very simple thing. That’s there to get them involved there, there’s education and training just in that little vertical, all by itself.
Kunu Kaushal (09:56):
And it’s very topical and they’re going to be a better individual for servicing. If you have a finance and accounting driven person within your team, you know, it’s another example of there are I’m going to butcher the acronym, but it’s basically a national association for accountants and, and individuals in that space, same thing, encourage their membership in it. The company should pay for their membership for the year. And by encouraging that kind of activity, I think that is how a company can really embrace growth and development. It doesn’t have to be these big things like, oh, we’re going to do tuition reimbursement for you to go get your MBA from Purdue. It doesn’t have to be that big. And I think people sometimes think, unless it’s this big overt action, it’s not going to count. I think growth and development sometimes is or advancement.
Kunu Kaushal (10:47):
I’ll give you another example. We started a book club within our organization. Our leadership just has a concept where we read a book occasionally, and we share that book at the same time, we talk about what did we learned and when you’re having some top level and high level conversation, and we can share from all of our perspective, it becomes really interesting. Then you start to hear how people think, how they apply it to their job, how they apply to the company. These are all things, whether they stay at your company or not is going to get them into that groove of this is what being a professional feels like. And I think for those that I’ve seen be successful even if it doesn’t apply to home care, they’re constantly learning something, right. They’re trying to add something to their toolbox. And I’m an example of a person in my mind.
Kunu Kaushal (11:40):
And especially based on my YouTube history, I own like 50 acres and I’m doing permaculture with farming and I’m sure there’s some goats and chickens and stuff on, I own zero acreage. We’ll never probably have a farm, but I find it interesting, right. Sustainability in the bigger sense. That’s how I be compressed. And my wife makes fun of me. She’s like, why are you doing this? I was like, if for me, it is like, I’m challenging myself to learn something. And that’s the, that is the actual thing that I’m trying to keep sharp. I, I really, you know, I’m not going to be disappointed if I don’t have a, a hundred acre farm or not
Miriam Allred (12:18):
Really great comments. I hope everyone’s taking notes. Cause there’s some really good ideas in there more than anything. I want to put you on the spot, you’ve highlighted bits and pieces of it, but you have a really large organization. And like you mentioned, you know, 80 office staff for some people on the line that may seem next to impossible to accomplish, but, but you’ve, you’ve been there. So I want to put you on the spot and asking kind of the structure of your office staff. You know, you have so many locations, so many employees, a lot of different moving parts and functions. What just high-level does your structure look like amongst your office staff?
Kunu Kaushal (12:57):
That’s a great question. So for us, let me start where it matters most. Let’s say outside of our corporate office and all that, you get to the farthest office away from us, that branch office, that local center, wherever it is, has one, what we call a service supervisor, that individual is responsible for a million, two to 1,000,005 in revenue. All right. And for us that looks like in where we are in Tennessee and the way reimbursement and our billable dollars and stuff looks like that’s roughly a thousand to 1200 hours a week of billable hours. So for us, that individual runs the show. And what running the show looks like is that they do community engagement. They are the ones doing the admin in the home. They’re the ones that are responsible for the assessment in, in the we use ClearCare and they are the ones that do the scheduling and they are ultimately responsible for the satisfaction of those clients and caregivers based on DOL laws and rules.
Kunu Kaushal (14:06):
They are the direct supervisor of roughly 40 to 45 caregivers. And that’s about what it takes. They do about a thousand to 1200 hours a week give or take. So that’s the hierarchy at the, at, at the lowest level, everything beyond that is what we would call centralized service. Then we have our centralized services team, which is organized into roughly three different verticals. One is finance and accounting doing all the fun stuff, right. Then you’ve got HR once again, doing all the fun stuff. And then the third is going to be around marketing communications. You know, anything along those lines, our human resources team is the largest because it handles recruitment. You know, obviously this is a people business. We’re nothing but individuals in the field and it’s all service. And so there’s a lot of HR folks dealing with, you know being support for they can, we all in centralized services work for our service supervisors that own those branches, our goal is to keep it enough off of their plate so that they can focus on the things that they need to locally.
Kunu Kaushal (15:19):
Their goal right at at the local branch is to do all the things we can’t at support at the support center. So it’s a really good balance. Now there’s always the, you know balance between how much help is too much help. And then, you know, why are you messing with my schedules and, and all of that, but that’s a, that’s a tug of war. We’re happy to battle that’s essentially our org chart. We have three directors in the company and like I said, our org chart is really flat. Those three directors are representative of those support centers. You know, the different verticals between HR finance and communications. What we have found is, you know, I’m not just saying that we have kept our org chart very flat, and I have to tell you just overall as we’ve seen through COVID, as we’ve seen through just running a lean company and the need for that, the margins in this industry I’ll tell you I’ve done the wrong thing and I’ve gone the other way.
Kunu Kaushal (16:23):
And it was like more, was better. I’ve tried to get as many people as possible and have the biggest company and administrative team. And what it only bred ultimately was we were doing a bad job of holding people accountable. And we were also creating probably what is the greatest thing in this industry which is we just need more people, you know, oh, my department just needs another person. And every time you do that, if you ever do the math back, the amount of revenue you have to bring in to support this other person, which is what I call a non-revenue generating salary is immense. And from an organization you have to run lean. I think technology has been what we bred out of that, but the second and it’s really, shouldn’t be second as the most important thing is teaching our people to be more productive.
Kunu Kaushal (17:18):
And that looks like how to use that technology better. And, you know, going back to the topic here is also giving them opportunities at growth and advancement even personal development. I have to tell you, we’ve got, I’d say 20% or so of our office staff are former caregivers. They make amazing recruiters. They make amazing individuals at other skillsets as well. We don’t limit them as to what they can do, but it’s one of those situations that, you know, anybody could be you know, a recruiter in our company or could make that move up, but not everybody. So there’s a delineation between the two.
Miriam Allred (17:58):
I appreciate the clarity on, on the structure. It’s always fascinating to see on an organization of your size and what that breakdown looks like. And I love this concept of, of, of flattened org chart. I think that’s really a key takeaway here is learning from that and figuring out how that can be replicated or what it can look like in your own organization. I want to talk about compensation for office staff. I know Connor’s got a question here in the chat, so maybe I’ll let him ask that. And then I’ll, we’ll kind of transition into any followup questions. So kinda, do you wanna chime in and ask this question about company?
Yeah, sure. Thanks, Miriam. Yeah, you’ve talked about, you know, part of that growth that you provide for the growth minded office staff, especially being, you know, in compensation. I’d like to hear your take on having large parts of their compensation being performance-based so that it’s not necessarily in their salary, but maybe they receive a large bonus if they know XD bit of active or something. And I expect to hear your take on it for instances where maybe they’re not the person directly responsible for revenue, but responsible for a different message.
Kunu Kaushal (19:09):
That is a great question. And more, the reason you hit on you kind of got to her right at the end there in your question, that’s part of the reason I like a really flat org chart also, is that the more direct you can make that relationship the better. And what I really mean by that is, you know, it’s measuring the results that comes out of this person’s input. Okay. Now I will tell you this. We found it harder to do, like in, in the org chart, I just described where you have a service supervisor who’s responsible for certain hours or territory. You can easily assign revenue to them that the support team that, you know, doesn’t directly touch every client, every caregiver. So we took a really a page out of a book of how, how do big companies do this? And there’s a couple of layers there.
Kunu Kaushal (19:58):
Number one I think from a performance base, let’s get to your salary question. Here’s the good news. Our industry does a really good job with this group called home care pulse that puts out a great benchmarking study. And you don’t have to go very far to understand where your metrics are, right? Of like, what is the baseline from a KPI perspective, key performance indicators on what is the budget when we set this up and depending on how you look at it, the way I’ve always looked at it, because we’re, if you take all of your non caregiver salaries, it roughly comes out to about 14% of revenue. So if you have a million dollars of revenue, you have roughly $140,000 a year to spend on non caregiver wages. That’s a great place to start, right? So now just from a budgeting side, as an organization, you have to say, if we hit this target, there’s an investment side, meaning we have never been in this market place before we want to be in this new marketplace, and we’re going to build it on a proform of about a million dollars revenue.
Kunu Kaushal (21:08):
So, you know, what your costs are, what your investment number is when you start opening, right? Caregivers are a variable expense as they come in, it’ll go up, but it may be in an organization that looks like heavy, private pay, as example, they need a salesperson, a business development person in the field. They need a, maybe through licensure, they need a nurse as well in that territory. They also in their model want a scheduler. So you have now, roughly, if you want three FTEs in that location, you know what it’s going to take in salary. So you have to build one way or the other. I will tell you from a performance-based model, it doesn’t take much, except for a lot of dialogue between the leadership team of one, I think incentives and performance should be realistic. It doesn’t mean that they’re not stretched goals, but it needs to be realistic.
Kunu Kaushal (22:00):
I mean, those folks that think you’re going to get to a million dollars of revenue in 30 days, you know it’s just not realistic. I mean, something special would have to happen to. I think that on the way there, especially for a new individual, you either need to guarantee their bonus or incentive early, you know, for their first 30, 60, 90 days, something like that before you just start them out low. Or the alternative model is to give them milestones to hit. So on their way, it’s one time, you know, balloons to pop essentially as they were building up that business at the end of the day Connor, again, I think my comment to you around just this thing is you want to be in a situation where you get what you pay for, which is dangerous. There are a whole lot of people out there who will come in and they want their base salary.
Kunu Kaushal (22:57):
If that base salary is too healthy, they don’t really need that incentive to go beyond. And what I’ve also found is that there’s other individuals that never want any risks because they know that that’s not something that’s within them to get it done. They want a healthy salary day one. And they’re like, no, no, I’ll forego any bonuses, incentives, because they, they don’t like to be driven in that way. And then the last thing around this is, I think you have to right-size where performance and bonuses attached to the right role. And an example of that is I’m not sure it’s smart to have somebody in your, let’s say accounting department be responsible, you know, like they’re aiming for a bonus every month based on X and part it is mistakes can happen. Right. I’m sure it could be measured well and done well, a page from a book of, of larger organizations that do it in different ways that they create what’s called a management incentive plan, or I’m sorry, management incentive pool.
Kunu Kaushal (24:00):
And what that looks like is you take your team members, right? Or as an organization, whoever you want in this other thing. And you say, if the company hits certain goals, we will create a pool. And that incentive pool has been distributed to people using some calculation, right? It can take into account anything from tenure to take into account their department or workload or whatever that looks like. Doesn’t really matter. Some people would have you know, as a percentage of their revenue and that type of thing in what I have seen work really well is when you develop a role within a company especially if you launch a new role and you say that you want to have an incentive on this position, you have to answer so many questions on the front end. How will you measure it? Who will measure it?
Kunu Kaushal (24:49):
Do we have a way to measure it? I mean, just to say, you know, we’re going to pay based on client satisfaction there, that that can be something where as an organization, that doesn’t measure client satisfaction. Now, like you only measure the complaints you’re not going to do very well. Now you could use home care pulse and say, well, we’re going to invest in this other tool and it’s going to have some results. And based on those results that may produce a metric for us to look at financial performance is always important. I think directors in our organization, I’ll give you an example. They do, as well as the company is going to do. So they’re not looking at a single branch. They’re looking at performance of the company. And at the end of the day, the most basic concept everybody can understand is there has to be money to pay out, to have a payout.
Kunu Kaushal (25:35):
So what I always think is a a wrong model is people who are really make positions and incentives look ultra attractive. And yet that’s what gets them in trouble ultimately is that they don’t have a business or economic model behind it that you support those results to happen. And I’ve seen a lot of times where, for example, the sales person in an organization might get, you know, 200 K, but then the people actually doing the work behind them get very disenchanted because they have to do the follow through with whatever’s being done. So I think balancing out incentives and making sure that they are the hardest word in any, company’s the F word, which is fair, you know, it’s, you got to figure out what this fair look like, and people have to agree that that’s the model that makes sense to
Miriam Allred (26:30):
Great question Connor and really good insights, canoe and compensation and incentives is always a hot topic in regard to our caregivers and really our office staff as well. I want to open it up to our audience. We’ve got a great group on here today to ask any follow-up questions in regard to compensation or shift gears on other questions for office staff.
Well, Miriam, I’llask him a question, you know, can you and I go back a long ways, but it’s very interesting. Some of your comments a lot of notes you know, in this day and age COVID I have concerns and I don’t know whether it affects you as much, maybe as it does us with the number of offices, because we only have a couple, but you know, we, we went through a period where everybody’s working at home and then now we’re getting back to the office. I know some, some agencies everybody’s back, I would say we’re quasi- back. But it bothers me from the standpoint of cultural impact as well as learning because I, my theory is if people are working together day in and day out, there’s there’s no amount of learning and it goes on, you only realize, and I guess I’d like to hear your comments if you’ve experienced anything regarding cultural impact of working at home as well as the learning and educational aspect of the management team.
Kunu Kaushal (27:59):
Great question, Carl. And I want to preface this by saying, this is probably one of the most us versus them topics that’s out there. I think there’s a lot of rhetoric behind it because there’s a, for those who love work from home, or at least the idea of work from home, they think it’s only the owners and managers and supervisors that want to keep tabs on people. And that’s the only reason they want to bring them back in. And if some sense of control, the reality is at least, and I’m, I feel like this is maybe where you’re going and I a hundred percent agree, which is we have seen a drop productivity is just one measure, right? It’s like, oh, I get to roll out of bed and I’m immediately on the computer. And then I can jump back on. That’s a different thing.
Kunu Kaushal (28:45):
We’ve seen an immense drop in just relationships. Our team is not as close as they used to be. The, the zoom factor, although nice. As you know, now it’s very forced, right? It’s like we have a dedicated time in which we can meet and have a conversation so on. I think that from a team dynamic, the team work piece has been really tough during this phase. I think it’s also showing in people are calling it burnout. I’m not convinced. I do think what we do is very stressful. I also think that, you know, there certainly a difficulty and all that. I think the reason people are resigning from positions and jumping, which we’ve had our fair share of a lot of it has to do with they’re losing that connectivity to each other. And they’re feeling like, you know, at this point now it’s become a jump to maybe compensation or finding more money somewhere or doing things, but candidly or, you know, the unknown, which is all fine.
Kunu Kaushal (29:46):
We don’t want to get in the way of a lot of that. We did have an opportunity months ago during our strategic planning, where we looked at our many offices and we said, let’s just cut the leases, right? Like reduce it and not have these spaces. We kept them from it for a different reason, which is one. We find that they’re incredible recruitment centers. They, they, they are more important based on our geographic need of, we have a very large service area and they make us feel, look and appear local. And most of our caregiver, our workforce base does not want to meet us at a McDonald’s parking lot. We don’t feel like that’s a good look for us as a company. And more importantly, we feel like things will turn around significantly as more time goes on our staff, oddly enough. Only less than a quarter of them had opted to go to work for home from home.
Kunu Kaushal (30:45):
And even then they’re now in a hybrid model, we are now kind of balancing the two we’re coming in the office. I mean, today, here I am at the time of this recording at the Tuesday, you know, I’m at home because I know at the office most everybody’s not there today. And we’ve made Tuesdays and Thursdays our work from home flex days, if you need it, you know, take it work from home, whatever it’s fine. And then Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays we’ve really just still kept a local field. I think our connectivity during that time, we never closed our offices during COVID. We kept precautions up. You know, we have a fairly low ratio in that. I think from a training perspective, things have gotten a lot harder. What I have found really interesting is now in the performance improvement plans that we’ve been writing for certain staff and, you know, we give the option or ability for the employee to say, you know, their feedback.
Kunu Kaushal (31:41):
And we send them recorded video training. We send them heart, help, articles, whatever. And the number one ask, and this is our HR director came to me and said, so the number one asks from some of these staff that are having a really difficult time. They want to have someone come sit with them next to them and actually go through the training and kind of mentoring process with them. I find that really telling, because I think one, people do learn better in person when we saw, although I don’t want to compare anybody to children, but we’ve seen just even in college students, right? As an example, people are not learning as well as they could. I think hybrid or a balance of the two is here to stay. I am concerned for many of our competitors, which I don’t usually say, but I’m concerned for them because I think they went too deep into close all our offices.
Kunu Kaushal (32:32):
And we’ll all just work from home. I think home care isn’t necessarily the industry to do that with, but you know, we shall see, so we’ve kept our offices. We still have our teams coming to the office. Some full-time some at least hybrid. And it’s working now. Here’s the other side though, Carl, we’ve also recently opened ourselves up to hire talent outside our bar geographics space. So we’re now hiring people that live other places all together. And I have to say that hasn’t been all bad, but the long-term effect, I can’t tell you because I mean, there’s even parts of me where I’m like, oh, let’s do some of the fun. Like let’s have a Halloween party. If we’re going to wear masks, right. Let’s wear masks and let’s have a Halloween party at the office. Then I find myself thinking and we’re going to fly so-and-so in. If so-and-so gonna take the five-hour trip to get there. And, you know, any time I think connectivity with your team becomes questionable and it makes you pause in itself, makes it harder to manage your team. And it takes away that teamwork component.
Miriam Allred (33:40):
Great question, Carl and great response, canoe, Carl, any follow up questions or any up questions from anyone in the audience?
I mean, I have a question in general that somewhat to do with that with the work from home. And one of the things I find is the most difficult thing to to advertise for, with an office employees, a schedule. Generally when I, I advertise for an, a schedule or I get a lot of people who have experience in dental scheduling or physician scheduling, which is a totally different type of scheduling than what we do. And certainly since you’re talking about possibly hiring people remotely, and maybe some of those people are schedulers, have you set up any, I mean, I appreciate what you said about, you know, wanting to find the right people in temperament for the environment and how that’s changed with COVID. But when you’re dealing with scheduling, you’re dealing with probably the most stressful part of our business, and you need to find somebody that’s very detail oriented and loves puzzles. That’s what we say. You got to love doing a 10,000 piece puzzle. But I don’t know how to put that in a job advertisement maybe as well as you’ve done in the past. So what do you look for, or what do you kind of say to describe that, to try to find the right scheduler or have you found there’s a common denominator there,
Kunu Kaushal (35:05):
Ryan out great to see you again, by the way. I will just say hit it from a different way. What we have found is a schedule, a role, ultimately doesn’t work for us. And the service supervisor model has seemed to be a bit more fitting. And the difference between the two being a schedule, adjust schedules, a service supervisor’s responsible for the case and the relationship and all of that and give you the difference. So during COVID, especially the last few months, which has been really difficult, we found many of our service supervisors going in the field to take care of some of our most critical clients when needed, because that’s the level of commitment that we want to subscribe to in that we found some people saying, oh, no, I will never go into a home. And, you know, support people cause I’m, I’ve been a scheduler, right.
Kunu Kaushal (35:54):
Or whatever the title was. And that gave me a lot of concern. I think from a culture perspective, our organization, mission, vision, and values of nobody should be too good to do work, especially we expect our caregivers to do. I myself have gone out and done caregiving for all 11 years in which we’ve been in business. Is it something that is the best use of company time? No, this is something that I go do every day. Absolutely not. Am I good at giving bed bath? Most people say, no, don’t do that again. Right. I think the difference though is doing a well visit, right? Being willing to go into a home and engage with a client or family you know, making sure someone is doing okay or showing face, especially, which is a big difference of like, I don’t have anybody for you today versus I’m willing to drive out there and say it to your face, right.
Kunu Kaushal (36:44):
Or I’ll be there to make sure you get a sandwich. I think that if that is the culture fit we’re against or that we’re aiming towards, we have made that position in our company as a non-negotiable has to be local. It has, they have to work a territory. They have to be available nearby. W here’s another important thing. We found a lot of our very difficult clients. I don’t know if you all have a pita client, I say this with all respect, but you know, the pain in the. And so it’s because they’re difficult. They’re hard, you know, and they’re, they’re difficult personalities. But they’re still all very deserving of high quality care. We had people that carried reputation as clients and our business when push came to south our service supervisors during COVID, when out there they built a relationship with them.
Kunu Kaushal (37:37):
I have to tell you, those clients are not so painful anymore. And I think it’s opened my eyes to the fact that service supervisors within our organization need to pre post during whatever COVID right. But we need to make it as a part of our normal routine that the people scheduling care ought to go onsite and see the environment, you know, meet the client, meet the family, build that relationship. And another telling thing, as we, all of a sudden had the same service supervisors that are like, I can’t believe you’re going to make me go out there to come back and say, I’m not leaving work until Mrs. Smith gets care, but, you know, cause they didn’t have built a relationship with them. So I think in that way, kind of like old school home care as I call it where, you know, you had that level of relationship with everybody before we were worried about EBV and the technology and the clocking in clocking out, you know, all the things we, we were doing a better job with relationships.
Kunu Kaushal (38:35):
So I think if I hired somebody on the other side of the country or something in a role, it would be in that support level, you know, doing things like, could you be an HR manager somewhere else in the country? Sure. Could you be a finance, accounting supervisor somewhere else in the country? Absolutely. The non-negotiables though are going to be onsite in person. And I liken it to this. Let’s just think about a different industry. And it’s almost like having a store or a restaurant. I mean, can you do certain roles and functions centralized. Yeah. and we’ve just found in our business anyway, the role of scheduling. I think that title needs to go away. I think it’s care coordination. Care coordination is not quite care management for anybody who, you know, gets their feathers ruffled up, but care coordination is exactly what we’re talking about. Looking at their care plans, thinking about what needs you have listening to you as far as your wants and desires, talking to my caregiver, giving them directives on what needs to happen when to be there, how to do it, getting feedback and then, you know, block and tackle, block and tackle. I, when you take that into consideration, what you mentioned is feels more like high quality, high touch care coordination versus scheduling.
Miriam Allred (39:58):
Good question, Ryan. I’m really glad you brought that up in great comments. Can you, we’ve had you in the hot seat for nearly an hour here and we’ve asked a lot of really great questions. But I think we’ll cap it at that. If anyone has any additional questions they want to ask canoe, feel free to reach out to myself or we can pass along canoes contact information if he’s willing. Can you thank you so much for, for what you’re doing for this industry, for the example that you’re setting, it’s, it’s a real pleasure to, to hear from you and to converse with you. And I want to thank everyone for joining us. And thanks for being here.
Kunu Kaushal (40:32):
Thanks for having me. Thanks everybody. I wish you all. Well, hope everybody continues to do well.
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