Caregivers have one of the most mentally and physically challenging occupations. Thus, it’s not at all surprising to find out that the sector’s number one threat is staff shortage and turnover.
Actively recruiting fresh employees while focusing on caregiver retention is a challenge for home care agencies who are also dealing with the damaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s not all impossible.
If you’re running a home care agency, take heed of the following tips on how to enhance caregiver retention and how to ensure you’re hiring the right person.
Why Is There a Need for Caregiver Retention?
Up to 7.8 million direct care worker jobs are projected to open from 2016 to 2026, as per estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the figure, more than 6 million need to be filled because of staff who decide to leave the labor force and those who quit their jobs for greener pasture.
How To Improve Caregiver Retention
It’s often difficult to predict whether a person will stay long-term in a particular job position. But as an employer, there are many things that you can do to ensure that your caregivers stay happy.
Systematize Your Screening Process
Tapping online platforms to announce your job opportunities isn’t enough, although it can be a good way to start. Kick-off your pre-screening process by posting your vacancy announcement and asking applicants to submit their requirements through your business email.
Create a scoring system out of the technical qualifications set by the company. This scoring system should cover all the stages of recruitment, including exams and interviews. During the screening process, make sure that the candidate has a caregiver’s certification, but you have to check other qualifications and perform background checks.
Otherwise, you can schedule a monthly recruitment activity for interested caregivers, as long as your activities are within the bounds of the minimum health and safety protocols set by the government.
Recruit The Right People
Because of the dire lack of caregivers, some home care agencies may recruit without much thought on how to attract the right talent for the job. Getting the right people starts with the organization listing down the qualifications and the skill set needed for a caregiver to excel at their jobs.
The right candidate must have a caregiver’s course completed online or via traditional face-to-face classes. Communication skills, patience, empathy, life-saving skills, friendliness, and a positive attitude are a few of the core traits of a good caregiver. Make sure to list these requirements in your job announcement.
Hiring the right person could mean this individual is not only qualified but spotting one who’s really interested in the position. When a person is highly motivated, they’d be happy to ease into the company culture seamlessly. A sense of belonging helps reduce your turnover rates.
Offer Flexible Schedules
Not all caregivers can commit to full-time work on a daily basis. Some staff is available at night, when their classes are over, or when their replacement for family duties and other responsibilities arrive.
To encourage caregiver retention, an agency should be capable of accommodating staff schedules with the client’s preferences to come up with a win-win situation. Assigning a caregiver to a client with conflicting schedules is not a good idea, as it can put too much pressure and stress on the staff—one of the main reasons for employee resignations.
As much as possible, home care agencies should also take note of the distance between the client and staff locations to minimize commute times for the caregiver and reduce inconvenience.
Provide Room for Growth and Training
Just because a caregiver has had certifications and experience doesn’t mean they’re an expert at knowing and handling all the common problems faced by the elderly. As with other professions, a caregiver must attend regular training to gain additional skills and knowledge to help them become better, both as a professional and as a person.
Agencies may see this as an unnecessary cost, but training is crucial in making your staff work more efficiently. Being sent for training provides a sense of value to the employee and helps reduce their frustrations. An agency can benefit by being seen as the more competitive agency as compared to other home care agencies.
Choose a training based on the desired skills of your staff. It can be anywhere from specialized courses, such as infection management or end-of-life care, to more general skills of interest like increasing productivity and time management.
Listen To Your Caregivers and Provide Timely Feedback
Employees who feel valued often prefer to stay long-term in a company. Here’s how to make your staff feel like they’re an integral part of your company:
- Conduct regular meetings and involve all of the staff.
- Decide as a team or at least seek their opinions about major policy changes and reviews.
- Create an environment where the staff can share anything without feeling judged.
- Ask your staff for insights about how to improve some operational processes that concern them.
- When an issue is raised, provide timely feedback or inform your staff about how the issue is being handled.
Listening to your employees is not enough to make your caregivers feel valuable. Providing responses to their questions, concerns, and issues is more powerful in influencing their decision to stay for the long term.
Get To Know Your Staff
Some home care agencies may carry the reputation of fostering a ‘strictly business’ working relationship with their caregivers. But knowing your staff personally and interacting with them outside of the office setting can help enhance teamwork and hopefully encourage caregiver retention.
Remembering their names, and knowing where they’re coming from, can help your caregivers feel that they’re part of the team. Apart from regular banters in the office, consider organizing team-building activities or family days in and outside of the premises.
Be Generous with Praises
Financial compensation may be one of the most common ways to show appreciation to an employee, but there are other ways you can praise a caregiver for doing a great job. Apart from a salary bonus, you can reward top-performing caregivers in other ways, such as paid time offs or an all-expense-paid trip to a local destination.
Make sure small acts don’t go unnoticed, too. A simple acknowledgment during meetings, a handwritten note attached to a gift or store discount card can speak volumes.
A caregiver’s job is not easy. As an agency, it’s part of your responsibility to make their work less demanding. Providing training, offering flexible schedules, and making them feel they’re valued and heard, can all make a difference.
Caregivers are your company’s most valuable asset, and it’s only proper to invest in their well-being and development. This way, you’re not only helping your staff become more employable, but you’re also making your agency more attractive to other caregivers and clients.