Ep. 62: Top 5 Preferences of Today’s Health Care Applicants
Chris Mercer, Director of Health Care Market Growth at Hireology covers employees top motivators for starting a new job search, what channels and mediums they're using and how to build an employment brand to create the ideal candidate experience.
Miriam Allred (00:08):
Welcome everyone. Thanks for joining us. I want to introduce Chris Mercer from hierology. He’s the director of health care market growth Hireology is a leading ATS or applicant tracking software in the space. They help healthcare, but also other industries as well. They recently acquired a couple of other companies to help round out their product suite. And Chris will be talking a little bit about that today, but Chris, thanks for joining me and
Chris Mercer (00:35):
Welcome. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.
Miriam Allred (00:38):
So today’s topic, we’re going to cover really the top preferences of today’s applicants. Hierology has conducted a number of surveys over the last year monitoring, you know, what are applicants thinking and feeling today and what are they looking for? So let’s maybe start there, Chris talking about how you’ve gathered some of this data that we’re going to discuss the findings on today.
Chris Mercer (01:04):
Absolutely. And thank you for that. So we had put out two different surveys into the marketplace of, for recent job seekers. We started one in October of 2019 and ended that one in about October, 2020. So we had pre pandemic responses as well as in the middle of the pandemic responses. And then another one, a little bit more recently to see if anything had changed in February of 2021 this year through about may of 2021. And we sent that out to about a little over a million applicants and got responses from a little over 5,000. So pretty robust sample size in terms of those responses that we got back all with the healthcare whence, you know, throughout this. So, you know, we have found that, you know, the pandemic had really only exacerbated, you know, some of these workforce challenges but the healthcare industry has been battling for years now. And, you know, while there’s no single solution that’s going to solve our current crisis, you know, agencies can take action to help improve their recruitment, hiring and retention rates moving forward. And, you know, kind of, as you mentioned a little bit, it really starts with understanding the motivations of today’s job seekers. So within that actual survey that we put out, we helped to develop a little bit more of a profile and understanding of what today’s healthcare job seeker actually looks like.
Miriam Allred (02:21):
Yeah. And that’s, that’s where we’re going to segue into let’s, let’s maybe start there, we’re going to kind of cover five buckets or areas or best practices that that applicants are looking for today. And that’s where I want to start is what’s motivating people to start searching for a new job right now, you know, what are they looking for?
Chris Mercer (02:40):
Oh, great question. So you know, coming from that the, the survey responses, you know, it should really come as no surprise, better pay was listed as really the top reason for starting a new job search coming in at about 24% of the responses. However, I do want to, you know, sell the caveat that better pay. Wasn’t the top reason beginning of the job search for all respondents. So that’s very encouraging, especially when increasing pay is prohibitive or not possible. So another high score in response was surprise, surprise COVID 19 and you know, issues relating to that. And that was coming in at about 16% of the responses. And while we’ve made huge strides and combating this pandemic you know, really continues to remain an ever present challenge for the healthcare industry. So making sure that we are over-communicating things that are happening within the industry, making sure that our folks feel safe in terms of our employees, as well as our actual clients really does help to address some of these issues and challenges.
Chris Mercer (03:39):
The next one was at about 10% of the respondents came for flexible hours or flexibility and scheduling. So in the midst of the pandemic the, the specific benefit came or became especially important in the early days of the pandemic because parents and caregivers were dealing with new challenges at home, such as school closures you know, taking care of elderly parents or even dealing with other pandemic related problems. And while some of those issues have been resolved, you know, some other ones still persist. So offering employees flexibility, and when it does come to scheduling or availability of hours that they can go pick up will actually go quite a long way. The next motivator was no career path or career development. So that was coming in at about 9% and, and offering career advancement opportunities is really another way that organizations can remain competitive when increasing pay isn’t option.
Chris Mercer (04:32):
You know, creating opportunities for employees to participate in you know, training programs or continuing education programs are really great ways to increase engagement and satisfaction scores. There was a a report it was LinkedIn’s workforce learning report. They had revealed that about 94% of employees would actually stay longer with a company if they had invested in their career development. So, you know, to kind of keep team members around organizations really should give more of that long-term advancement opportunity and kind of have that in mind and give them those options. And then to round out the top five motivators, kind of like for starting that new job search last one was better benefits and coming in at an 8%. So, you know, while some of those kinds of times the last couple items that I touched on there, it really is just saying that, you know, pay isn’t the only thing, you know, trying to focus on other areas that you can actually compensate your employees or offer them something that is a value to them is really what is going to help to keep them around longer.
Chris Mercer (05:32):
But all of these things are within our control. So these are areas where we do want to focus on to make our employees happy. So that way they do stay with us for the one.
Miriam Allred (05:41):
I just want to reiterate that home care is in a perfect position to meet some of those preferences, especially around flexible hours and career paths, you know, depending on how your agency structures, your client and caregiver schedules. You know, we have the opportunity to provide employees, flexible schedules, and there’s a hot demand for, you know, people are looking for jobs based off the actual schedule. And so being willing to offer flexible hours is a huge draw and same thing on the career path. You know, caregivers is kind of an entry level jobs a lot of times, but there’s a lot of opportunities to grow and to progress and to move up within your organization or to go on, to become a CNA. There’s a lot of benefits. And so those are the two that stood out to me that we in home care can capitalize on. So let’s, we’re going to move kind of quickly here. So if people have got questions, you know, feel free to drop them in the chat. Let’s, let’s talk about the search channels that people are using. Social media is, is on the rise, but there are so many other channels and tools that that recruiters and agencies can be using to find people right now. What are some of the top channels that applicants prefer?
Chris Mercer (06:53):
Great question. So just to kind of kick things off, we want to get really creative with what we’re doing and use what we call a multi-channel approach. So I’m sure everyone here understands and knows the job boards are here, they’re here to stay, and we’re not trying to say that that isn’t a good source. And that’s generally where many people start they’ll start their job search on Google or another search engine and then kind of roll into a job board from there. But we’ve found that that doesn’t necessarily always yield the highest quality. You may get some volume out of that, which is fantastic. And you want to see that kind of activity. We just may not be seeing the level of quality that we’re looking for because ultimately we’re not looking for volume. We’re looking for hires. So when you only go and you’re competing for the same people in the same job boards, every single time, you’re really limiting your ability to go out and actually find new people in areas that you may not be kind of cognizant of to begin with.
Chris Mercer (07:43):
So other areas that we’ve seen are like your career site. So with our clients internally, the about 33% of the hires that are made are come from the career site, meaning that they applied on their career site. And that is actually convert to hires at a much higher rate than something like a job board. The career site which I’ll get into a little bit later is, is going to be more about you know, telling your story as an organization, but, you know, really expanding upon, you know, what’s in it for the job seekers they’re actually looking. And that gives you that opportunity to tell your story there. Another one is employee referrals. So it kind of, as you’ve mentioned, where you hear at the start was a hierology went out and acquired an employee referral app it’s a program that you can actually use within our platform.
Chris Mercer (08:29):
But some of the data that has actually come out from that is really powerful stuff. And if it’s something that you’re utilizing today, we want to make sure that you do go out and actually develop some sort of program. The, the couple of quick stats on here is that one out of eight hires are actually made through an employee referral. And that employees that are referred are four times more likely to be hired than a non-referral. And then our internal data shows that a little over 30% of hires actually come from referrals. So all of this is to say that if you don’t have a program in place that is managed and taken care of you know, we could be missing out on an opportunity to continue to encourage people to, or to reach out and actually get referrals that way.
Chris Mercer (09:09):
So the kind of the old adage is that, you know, people like to work with people they like, so they will likely refer people when, when they’re working with people that they know they’re likely to stay longer. So all this kind of has that snowball effect to make sure that we’re utilizing this as another channel and not just kind of throwing it to the wayside. And the last area is you know, social media. So Facebook jobs on Facebook if you have a career page on Facebook, make sure that you’re utilizing that you can tag that to your career site, you know, kind of just giving another opportunity to really you know, expand about who you are as an organization for us internally, what we’ve seen since. I think it was April or may of last year when we actually started this integration with them 14 to 15% of all applicants actually come specifically to healthcare have actually come from Facebook for our clients today. So it just turned into a tremendous source of applicants actually coming through that, you know, wasn’t there a year ago. So it’s, it’s definitely a good source and a good channel to focus on.
Miriam Allred (10:10):
So take away here is, is the multi-channel approach. You know, there’s no silver bullet on which channel to use to recruit. It’s really important to be in the places that your applicants are looking. And Chris has kind of outlined, you know, the key, key channels to focus on. I’m glad you, you highlighted employee referrals. I love to pose the question to people tuning in, you know, drop it in the chat if you do, or don’t have an employee referral program. And if it’s consistent and built out, Chris and I were talking about this before the call, and that it’s a missed opportunity if you don’t have an employee referral program. I mean, for those of you familiar with the benchmarking study, the cost per hire, and the turnover rate are both lower for employees coming as, as a referral, you know, the turnover is nearly cut in half and the acquisition cost is nearly cut in half.
Miriam Allred (11:01):
So it’s, it’s not only a cost effective, but you’re going to retain those employees longer because like what Chris said, people want to work with people that they know and that they like. And if they’re referring a friend, you know, their longevity at your company is naturally going to increase. So you know, I just love, love that you’re hitting on that. And I hope that providers tuning in either have a program in place or can, you know, start crafting one today because it’s, it’s a missed opportunity if you don’t have one. Let’s, let’s talk about related to channels is mediums. You know, digital is obviously on the rise and is probably the preferred method, but also a lot of providers still have a walk-in location and can have people walking in. So, so talk to me about trends with mediums, you know, where should people be focusing their time and attention.
Chris Mercer (11:52):
Yeah. and thank you for hitting on that too. So kind of the same focus where we say on the multi-channel approach is you also want to have this, you know, multi-channel medium approach as well. So we would never recommend, you know, doing away with anything physical. And obviously, you know, the pandemic has kind of changed how we approached this in general, but areas that, that we’ll focus on would be physical, digital as well as mobile. And, you know, that being a real big one and making sure that we have that optimized to the best of our ability. So when, when job seekers are conducting their actual job search, we found that over 57% of healthcare applicants utilize their smartphone at some point during their job search. So for us, that’s indicated that, you know, mobile devices are a preferred medium for managing that, that actual job search. And it’s not a thing of the future. It’s the thing of right now. Like we need to make sure that we are in a way or in a position to actually continue to utilize that medium and meet job seekers,
Miriam Allred (12:50):
You know, where they are and where they’re actually doing their search. Additionally, we also found that 35% of applicants would actually feel negatively about not having the option to apply via a mobile device. So, you know, things like having a career site that’s optimized to mobile or online applications that are mobile friendly if you don’t have those things in place, you’re inadvertently turning people away. So we definitely don’t want to do something like that. And with job seekers, once again, conducting the majority on their you know, smartphones, things like text messaging has become the medium of choice when actually engaging with applicants. Then, you know, research has shown that a little over 95% of text messages are read within three minutes of being sent. And I think about 91% are responded to after being read within the first 15 minutes of being received.
Miriam Allred (13:35):
So as we look at today’s tight labor market, you know, keeping candidates engaged and reducing hiring velocity, or the time that it takes to make a hire will mean the difference between landing top candidates and then settling through what’s left over. I I’d recommend for everyone listening to this, if you haven’t gone to your own career site on your webpage and viewed it from a mobile device, do that today, you know, too many times we’re, we’re building sites and we’re building posts, you know, probably from a desktop. And we forget to go and view it from a mobile mobile perspective. And that’s what, how a lot of our applicants are seeing. And if you haven’t optimized your site and your posts for mobile, make sure you get on that because like, like Chris said, you know, most applicants prefer mobile and are applying to jobs from their mobile device. And if that user experience isn’t ideal, you know, you’re going to be losing people just from the kind of the look and feel of your posts. So yeah, I love your concepts there on, on using the right mediums. I want to segue into building an employer brand home care pulse, and hierology have talked a lot about this the last couple of months. Talk to me, I guess, Chris, first of all, just about that concept, why providers need to build kind of an external facing employment brand that resonates with applicants.
Chris Mercer (14:57):
Yeah, absolutely. And definitely loved that. It’s as you mentioned, that sits a topic that I like talking about a lot, because it is a little abstract and, you know, so in order to really attract applicants, especially you know, younger folks, you know, millennials, gen Z and kind of beyond from there, it’s, it really does take a concerted effort to invest in developing an organization’s employment brand. You know, as an employer, you’re trying to convince quality applicants to apply to all of your open roles. So, and an excellent employer brand will basically serve as an organization’s best recruitment tool to persuade job seekers that, you know, that organization is an employer of choice. So as an employer, as an important first step, you know, kind of in building that really strong employer brand, it really starts with developing a meaningful career site and, you know, organizations that strive to create a career site that really excites visitors when they come in and provides all the pertinent information that job seekers are looking for.
Chris Mercer (15:52):
So things like your culture you know, list of your open positions any employment benefits that you have outside of just pay if you’ve got a mission and vision statements you know, making sure that those are aligned with job seekers, you know, they want to make sure that they’re looking at organizations where they can align and feel like they both fit in. And so all of those areas things that have been great and then also employee testimonials. So, you know, hearing it directly from your own employees, you know, have a little video or even just a little snippet and, you know, reward them for doing things like that. You know, once again, like you’re using them as a recruitment tool, you know, be sure to reward them and, you know, highlight those things employee of the month. I mean, all kinds of things, there’s really a lot of ways to get creative with it.
Chris Mercer (16:31):
And you use that platform to be able to tell that story and kind of help control that narrative. So, you know, at the end of the day, what you’re trying to do is help differentiate yourself from other organizations that offer similar services. You know, I, I live in the Phoenix area and I know a lot of folks out here have to contend with Amazon. We have a huge distribution center and they pay much better in general. So what are ways that you can help differentiate some of those things out here to make sure once again, that, you know, while those are two different kind of comparisons, why should someone come and work for you? And so, you know, job seekers are doing their research, they’re utilizing resources like blast, or to gather any sort of relevant employee reviews on companies that they’re considering applying to.
Chris Mercer (17:11):
And prospective applicants will basically use that feedback to determine, you know, whether they apply or look elsewhere. You know, regardless of the merit of any of those reviews that are on those sites, like last store there was a 2018 reputation management study done by MRI network that indicated that 70% of job seekers actually wouldn’t accept an offer from an employee with a bad employer brand. So that’s huge. You know, really understanding that and really digesting that, you know, business owners really do need to take ownership and address, you know, some of those things head on, especially things like negative reviews on sites like glass door without, you know, kind of getting defensive or casting blame elsewhere. So if you’ve ever used a site like Yelp, you know, you can tell which organizations handle negative reviews, elegantly, and which ones actually are just trying to save face the really good ones.
Chris Mercer (17:57):
You know, don’t try to shift blame away from themselves instead of, you know, acknowledge that there is a negative review. They will try to engage with that reviewer to see if there’s a way to resolve the issue. In some instances, you can actually go back and see that they have updated that negative review and then changed, you know, whatever their ranking score was simply from having that engagement, you know, with the business owner to the reviewer. So it’s not going to happen every time. We don’t want to paint that picture, but it really does send a clear message to people reviewing your page, that you do take these reviews seriously, and that you are trying to make a concerted effort to address any issues that do arise. So it’s going to speak volumes about you and your organization, as well as your employer brand.
Miriam Allred (18:36):
I want to emphasize to two things that you’ve hit on one is using authentic photos and videos. I think we are all guilty of using stock photos a little bit too much. And I think people want to see faces and video content of your staff, of your employees, of your clients, give them a taste of what it would look and feel like if they were hired in that onboarding and applicant experience. So really just use authentic photos and videos. That’s what I want to emphasize. And then the second concept around reviews a couple months back, we were talking to a lot of our own customers about reviews, and we were shocked to see that that most providers only have one to two Google reviews that that was startling, you know, to see how few reviews providers have. And I think there’s another opportunity there to solicit reviews from your employees and from your clients, feel confident enough asking for reviews and hopes of getting good reviews.
Miriam Allred (19:38):
And obviously you can kind of pick and choose who you ask for reviews from, but, but let that be an opportunity to ask your clients and your, your, your caregivers for reviews to start building that employment brand by getting those positive reviews, because everyone looks at reviews these days, the home care is no different than, you know, restaurants and retail. People are looking at reviews when they’re looking to, to apply somewhere. So make sure your, you have a presence there, you know, make sure you have more than one to two reviews, make sure you have good reviews and start soliciting, you know, four of you so that you can start building that piece of your employment brand today. Let’s transition a little bit here and talking about the experience, the applicant experience as a whole, you know, what are some best practices to, you know, move applicants quickly through the process you know, how to engage them. You talked a little bit about texting, like what are some best practices to just round out a really good employee applicant experience?
Chris Mercer (20:36):
Yeah. Great, great question. And that was a lot of what we gleaned from that survey was really just to help understand and put ourselves in the shoes of today’s job Africans. So here at hydrology, we’ve got a called the applicant economy. And what that means is we are now in an occurrence in the job market where there are more open positions than there are available workers. So as an applicant, I have tons of choice of where I can go to work. So employers really do need to intensify their approach to landing high quality talent. So for healthcare business owners and operators, it’s, you know, making sure that you’re reviewing applicants quickly, don’t let something sit out there for a long time, engage with applicants through text messaging, you know, and, you know, making sure that we do that early on and very quickly, and then communicate how your hiring process works, you know including what to expect at each step, approximately how long it takes to move through the process.
Chris Mercer (21:30):
You know, don’t let him not letting things go for weeks on end, but saying, Hey, you’re going to have two phone screens and in person interview or, you know, whatever, you kind of decide internally, but having that communication at least lets people know what’s coming next. And then, you know, anything else that they need to complete in that process just to have that kind of awareness. You know, I mentioned hiring velocity, but you know, for that it’s really important because 66% of the applicants that we surveyed, you know, had applied to five or more jobs during their job search that indicates that their desire to get to work quickly is highly elevated. But it also tells us on this side, on this end that the company’s hiring process takes way too long. The applicant is going to be already engaged or in conversations with other organizations.
Chris Mercer (22:15):
And those other organizations are poised to actually land that talent. If you are taking your time and dragging your feet and it could be inadvertent, you know, we want to make sure that we’re trying to find any bottlenecks in the system and get those out just to help smooth that over. So once again, you know, making sure you’re communicating and kind of explaining what that process looks like, but trying to move that as quickly as possible. So you know, employers need to deliver on promises to, as you do communicate, you know, so you want to talk about, you know, providing an excellent candidate experience. Well, it kind of starts there, you know, so follow through is important to candidates. Even if they’re not offered that role if they’re not a good fit you know, another great data point was that you know, over 60% of healthcare respondents said that they would feel negatively about a company that didn’t respond to their application.
Chris Mercer (23:02):
So even a rejection email is essential and going back to reviews, you know, Hey, I’m writing this negative review because they didn’t respond. They took forever. So if they can’t respond to me here, how are they going to take care of their clients? Obviously using an example, there’s a little facetious, but really just understanding that all of these are colleagues that work in this big machine. And while there is no single solution, all these do affects each other in some way. So, you know, understanding what applicants are looking for throughout the recruitment process can really help healthcare organizations, you know you know, attract and retain talent overall. So it’s very imperative to prioritize things that do matter to applicants, not just to you as the business owner, but to applicants themselves. So that way you know, your home care organization can remain competitive and hire people quickly.
Chris Mercer (23:47):
There was one of the things I forgot to mention with your actual application. Another really important statistic was that career builder had done a study and they said that about 60%. And while this is agnostic, it’s not specific to healthcare, but 60% of job applicants failed to complete an application due to length. So if you have something that, you know, it takes 30 minutes to fill out, you’re not going to get a response from anyone. Like if you don’t have to capture all that information up front and make a determination, should kind of break that up throughout your hiring process and collected, you know, bits of information as you go. But to initially start, and I’ll just get the pedigree information, contact information so that we can start that engagement and then start to collect more information as you go to make sure that they are a good fit at the end of the day. So don’t inadvertently turn people away just because you have a really, really long application up front, the start
Miriam Allred (24:33):
I’ll just add, you know, we don’t want to sacrifice quality over quantity, but we hear time and time again, that caregivers take the first job that’s offered to them. So speed is key, but like Chris is saying, we need to simplify where possible and make things as efficient and applicable to the applicant as possible. So it’s tough to find people right now, but obviously we want to find top talent. We want to find quality caregivers, people that are in it for the right reasons. And so creating kind of this perfect experience, it’s tough, but it’s doable. But knowing, you know, my takeaway is just kind of speed. We hear so many times that people accept the first job that they’re offered because it was, you know, the first one of five that they applied to. So just bearing that in mind, that efficiency, speed, communication over communication is so important to get the right people as quickly as possible. That’s, that’s a lot of what Chris and I wanted to kind of kick off the conversation with. We want to open it up to those of you on here with us. We covered a lot. And so don’t hesitate to kind of backtrack to, to specific topics. But what questions can we help answer for you guys today?
Chris Mercer (25:46):
I mean, if I can ask a question, David, where are you calling in from? Cause I, I want to go there right now.
Yeah. It’s, it’s the place that I want to go back to as opposed to where I am, it’s actually believe it or not. It’s a place on the Chesapeake bay, not down in the Caribbean. It, even though it looks like with the Palm trees, but it’s a place that we visit on our boat that is on the Chesapeake.
Chris Mercer (26:10):
We’re always kind of fighting the balance. You know, as you say, speed through process is so critical. Yet at times I have found that too much speed through process yields, inappropriate hires and, and you don’t always do yourself a favor. We, we have actually found, even though it, it produces a lower yield that creating a few hurdles in our process gives us people that are more serious about wanting to come to work. And they, so the, the biggest hurdle that we actually put in place is our assessment, you know, w we do a, we do have everyone do an assessment before we give them an interview. And even though that creates about a 15 minute process for them instead of you know, three minutes to fill out an application our rate of show up for interviews is much higher with those that have gone ahead and filled out the, the assessment.
And it also gives us a little bit, much better picture before we even talk to them. If they’ve got the skills to be a good caregiver, and also what we need to address in an interview that might be question points or weak points. And then even after we decide, okay, there could be a good hire that assessment gives us the ability to match them up better from a personality standpoint, with a client, which again gives us, you know, longevity, it gives us a better client caregiver experience for the caregiver’s going to feel like they they’d had a good match and want to stay.
Chris Mercer (27:48):
Absolutely. and that’s definitely one thing we do want to focus on is while we’re talking about velocity, we don’t want to sacrifice quality as we’re going through that process. So within our platform, I mean, we have a number of things where we can do you know, hard skills assessments, you know, making sure they know how to do the job. We can do behavioral assessments to see if they’re going to fit in with the culture. You know, we can do things like background checks. I mean, there’s all kinds of things that are in there that will help with some of those milestones pre-screen surveys we’ll also offer. And it really is to help weed some of those soaks out very quickly to allow your team more time with those that you’re saying, you know what, we’re not totally sold. Let’s figure this out and like have a conversation, do a phone screen to really help within that.
Chris Mercer (28:31):
Within our platform specific to our healthcare customers the, the median days to hire is right at about eight to half, 8.4, 8.5 days. Our average is a little closer to 16 and that just has to do with folks that were getting on to start and then getting them more efficient as they go with their process. So, you know, two weeks to about one week, and that just kind of helps with managing that process and it’s to that point, no, we don’t want to sacrifice anything and just push people through to push people through, because that’s not the point. We do want to make a good quality of hire, mitigate the risk of making a bad hire and make sure that they’re staying with our organization’s longterm.
Miriam Allred (29:06):
It’s a balancing act it’s easier said than done, but to find the right balance of, you know, the proper vetting process, while still taking into consideration, the time to hire David Bayville, ask you, you know, what, what does your time to hire look like knowing that you do have kind of a more elongated vetting process?
I think we generally stay under two weeks from the time we actually see the application for those that follow the process, you know, like everyone else should get X number of applications. You reach out to them immediately. A certain percentage of them will respond. And it is a, you know, maybe less than half will respond to your reaching out to them. You know, a small percentage of them will then follow through with going and filling out your app and doing the assessment. So we might be it’s maybe five to 10% of the people that we reach out to end up being a higher, but if that it usually takes less than two weeks and that includes getting them in for their initial training also. Okay.
Miriam Allred (30:13):
Okay. Yeah, that’s great. I think kind of that 10 to 14 day window with the right vetting process is, is great and, and is doable. And it’s good to know that it is doable. We’ve got one here from Alma says, do you find that sign on bonuses, help attract more quality applicants, Chris, anything that you’ve seen or heard around sign on bonuses?
Chris Mercer (30:34):
Yeah. we, we have seen kind of a mix. So what I will say is something a little bit more creative that we’ve seen is kind of a split where there is a sign-on bonus, but there’s also a retention bonus is offered a little bit down the road. So obviously, you know, everyone’s offering a sign on bonus and that’s going to be a kind of competitive thing. But if you’re also offering something like a retention bonus where there may be some challenges or worries that someone will stay longer term, we’ve seen a little bit of that as well. I think it all depends on market. I think it depends on, you know, level of competition. I know that’s hard to say because it is competitive everywhere, but we’ll find in, you know, some Metro areas that may be a little bit more challenging when we start talking about, you know, some rural locations, you know, offering a sign on bonus where others may not be is actually, you know, a good differentiator there as well.
Miriam Allred (31:22):
Yeah. I love that. The retention bonus splitting it up, I think sign on bonuses. I think there’s a little bit of FOMO. If I can use that term fear of missing out, you know, we see on billboards, we see on job ads, everywhere, sign on bonuses. And I think we as home care providers feel this need to meet that because our competitors in and out of the industry are offering that. So I love that idea of retention, bonuses, you know, incentivizing them to apply and to get started, but then, you know, keeping them, especially to that 60 90 day mark, which is where we see a lot of drop-off being able to keep them past that point and make them feel comfortable. That’s great. Thanks for that question. That’s a really, yeah. Great idea. Hope had chatted in that they do offer an employee referral program and offer, it looks like 150 for each referral. Hope it looks like you’re still with us. You know, maybe you could talk a little bit about your program and any, you know, benefits or results that you’ve seen from it. And I’m putting on the spot. If you’re on here, sorry.
I was having problems on needing we do the referral bonus. It’s $150 per referral from the employee. So an employee could give us three referrals and as long as they can out after 30 days, they get that referral bonus. We also do a sign-on bonus, but that’s split up within a 90 day period. We don’t pay it right out. They have to work 30 hours plus in hierology has better my best resources of getting applications.
Miriam Allred (32:57):
Truthfully, glad you’re on here to tell, tell the story. How, how have you seen those referrals employee referrals perform over time, you know, have you seen longer retention rates or just, you know, more success with them
Before COVID? It was really great. We have one girl that was referred right before COVID that she goes to college, so we get her back every time she’s on break and she’s a great resource. Some of the other referrals are not so good
Miriam Allred (33:29):
Stuff to say. You don’t always know what you’re going to get, but I think just keeping that process in place through the ongoing pandemic, the pandemic has kind of changed everything for us, but, but continue to drive those referrals in hopes of them, you know, staying longer, essentially. Thanks. So for chiming in here,
I think that referral bonus there was one point where 80% of our hires were from referrals. And it, it goes through cycles because you know, for a little while, all of your employees have referred all of their friends and then you’ve got to rely on your cycle of new hires, you know, kind of working through and the retention on employee referrals is huge. Yeah, I mean, we, we do a a hundred dollars visa card for employee referrals that stay with us for 60 days. So but the, the retention is awesome.
Chris Mercer (34:21):
Yeah. And, and within that do you, I guess two kind of quick questions, so how do you, how do you manage that process? And then when you do through that management process, do you highlight your employees that, you know, may out shine in terms of like numbers of referrals that they have gotten or successful referrals? Like, you know, is there any visibility to that that you offer to your employees?
Yeah, we, we have a monthly newsletter that goes out to all of our caregivers. And we always mentioned who, who is a new employee from a referral who is referred in June? We actually had a June, July. We had a 60 day contest where everybody that did a referral’s name went in a hat, they got their a hundred dollar referral, but then there was a $500 at the end of the 60 days. So the one with the most referrals, and that was all documented in our employee newsletter. And we also, we do it, we have an employee of the month and I know no call out of the month. They also get a, a a hundred dollars visa card for each of those each month and they get announced in our employee newsletter,
Chris Mercer (35:25):
Love it. Yeah, that’s fantastic. You’re doing that. You’re doing all the right things.
Miriam Allred (35:29):
David’s check taking all the boxes. I love it. And I think that’s just speaking to the recognition portion of, you know, this is kind of a whole nother topic or our area of focus is, but just recognizing and thanking those employees that make the referrals because that’s, you know, I hate to say this but money in the bank for your agency. And so just really valuing and recognizing those caregivers that are referring is essential.
Well, not that it’s ever not important, but especially when hiring is so difficult, retention becomes that much more important and we’ve always focused on retention. You know, unfortunately a lot of owners think, well, employees are going to leave anyway. So why should I put so much time and energy and maybe even financial resources into keeping them, but it, it, it really is worthwhile. I mean you know, I, I value my employees as much as I value my clients and they know that you know, we remind them of that. It’s like every chance we can.
Miriam Allred (36:26):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Ummah. I see you unmuting meeting. Is there a question you’d like to ask?
I did just to follow up on the employee referrals. So we do have a employee referral program as well, and we haven’t had much success. So I’ve just been going back trying to see if perhaps it’s something in our offering. So just wanted to get your thoughts to see if it’s something we could do differently. Right now we offer a $200 referral. So $50 if the applicant is hired and then an additional 150, if the caregiver works 150 hours for the first 90 days, because we wanted to ensure, you know, that retention that first 90 day retention. But we we’ve had contests. We’ve tried different things. I mean, we’re a smaller agency also, but we just haven’t had much success. We’ve had I would say year to date, we’ve hired one crate applicant through an employee referral program, but we just haven’t had much success. Any, any ideas, maybe what I could be doing differently am I, is the 150 hours perhaps may be a bit much, or the first 90 days should I consider? I’m not sure maybe making modifications to the program.
Chris Mercer (37:47):
Two things I would suggest first and foremost. I mean, the, the employee that made the referral where he did make a great hire, go and chat with them, you know, Hey, we’ve got this program in place. Do you know anyone else or what would make this more attractive? So we can have other employees actually go through and make referrals. You’ve got an existing roster of folks that work for you. They love being there. So find out, you know, what would be attractive to them if, you know, for some reason they are holding on to, you know, people are not making referrals. So you know, understanding that you’re, you’re engaging with them and they’re going to be good stewards and representatives of your organization is trying to get that understanding of what’s important to them at the end of the day. So, you know, it could be very well that, yeah, Hey, I, I don’t know that, you know, 150, you know, days or, or hours is, is too much.
Chris Mercer (38:33):
I may not be something like that. It could be else that, you know, you just haven’t uncovered yet. And just kind of like really understanding what’s important to your employees and having that honest conversation, I would say, you know, getting in front of them first while at least let them know. And then saying, you know, is this contest attractive? And I, and I say it because it’s like, if you’re offering something, I’m making this up, like the top golf, but no one likes to often then that’s obviously going to fall on deaf ears. But if it’s offering something that they want and incentivizing them that way, like you will obviously open up some doors and some channels there by offering things that they’re actually looking for.
Thank you so much, Chris.
Miriam Allred (39:08):
Yeah. And I, I would just maybe add what, what David was speaking about, which is that external recognition, you know, we’re not, we, the more we can recognize our employees the better. And so, you know, recognizing that they referred an employee has now been working for six months, just bringing attention to that will help, you know, bring the awareness to the referral program, but also just, you know, make others hopefully feel, you know, that they have the opportunity to be recognized that bringing on other people and yeah, emphasizing what Chris said about making sure you’re you have the right offering by asking your current employees, you know, what would they like and what would they appreciate because for some of maybe money for others and maybe other things you know, pay time off, additional pay time off, I feel like, you know, burnout is a real thing right now. And so offering, you know, a day of paid time off for, for the referrals and other opportunities to just finding, you know, creative benefits or value adds from their first.
That’s great. Thank you.
Miriam Allred (40:11):
I’ll just close by saying Chris, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate hierology and everything that you’re doing for providers, you know, from everything that you guys do from the content that you push out to the product that you have to help agencies, there’s a lot to be done at this point. And we appreciate your guys’.
Chris Mercer (40:29):
No, thank you so much for having me obviously appreciate the platform and share the information that we have found and kind of come up with. Then we know that this is, you know, very, very pertinent, so we’re, we’re happy to share this information and then get it out there for everyone. And I know there’s a lot of people struggling, so anything we can do to help more than happy to, I have to share this knowledge.
Miriam Allred (40:47):
Absolutely. Well, thanks everyone for joining us. Have a great rest of your day and we’ll look forward to seeing you again in future.
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