Newsflash: The home care industry is currently combating a massive caregiver shortage! Well, to be honest, that news probably doesn’t come as a surprise to most agency leaders. Many know that caregivers are in high demand and massively short supply in our present COVID-19 conditions. Fortunately there are answers for companies seeking to improve retention rates.
Here are some proven ways home care agencies can reduce caregiver turnover.
Most conflicts, whether personal or work related, can be avoided through simple communication. Misunderstandings lead to strained relationships and unsatisfied employees. Caregivers frequently struggle with poor office communication and often suffer the most from any related fallout.
For example, typos in a client address may result in a caregiver arriving late to her assignment. Worse yet, the same office staff that made the mistake may even reprimand the aide for being tardy, even though it wasn’t her fault! Will that understandably-angry caregiver then quit and instead work for a competitor?
Office workers who focus on details and over-communicate can prevent such scenarios. They also avoid jumping to conclusions. It’s easy to immediately blame caregivers for service oversights, but fault may lie elsewhere. Without communicating and asking questions, the truth will never be known.
Focus on Training
Home care agencies often view training as a way of providing better quality of care. And while that’s certainly first-and-foremost, it’s also an effective tool for improving caregiver work satisfaction. Home care aides confront daily stress relating to their difficult job duties
Particularly-effective caregiver training modules cover topics including: caring for Alzheimer’s/dementia clients, fall prevention techniques and safe patient transfers. These trainings and others can help caregivers reduce physical and mental stress, mitigating risk of injuries and improving job satisfaction.
Web-based and smartphone/tablet-app resources like Quire can help ensure all caregivers receive top-notch training. And since they’re accessible remotely, workers are far more likely to engage. Training is a practical and cost-effective win-win for home care agency leaders and caregivers!
Many home care agency owners now offer industry-leading wages to encourage caregiver recruitment. There’s nothing wrong with providing generous compensation for workers. However, the effort is sometimes misplaced.
Instead of offering universally-high wages, companies may be better served by “rewarding excellence.” So, newer and average-performing caregivers receive a competitive wage. But perhaps the industry-leading compensation is specifically reserved for proven, high-performing aides. Agencies that create a meritocracy help to reduce turnover among their most valued employees!
Expand Employee Benefits
The idea of rolling out more extensive employee benefits can be scary to home care agency owners. After all, such perks don’t come cheap and can sometimes hit the bottom line even harder than wage increases. But they do help to reduce turnover. Also, many options are more affordable than one might expect.
Home care companies that lack the resources to offer generous 401K programs may instead look at popular perks like discounted gym memberships and mobile phone plans. A $50 per employee monthly expense may be nominal when compared to more traditional offerings. Companies may even consider providing more generous PTO policies that can yield high worker-satisfaction ROI!
Sometimes employee retention is more about flexibility than compensation or benefits. Most caregivers have family and personal obligations. Home care agencies that provide reasonable flexibility engender good will among employees and encourage loyalty. Companies may even consider “flex day” options that allow for a set number of no-questions-asked call-offs.
Caregiver agencies should be especially sensitive to the fact that their workers are usually on the lower-end of the economic scale. A broken-down car or child’s illness is problematic for anyone. But life’s inevitabilities are far more challenging for people living paycheck-to-paycheck!
Home care agency leaders expect loyalty from their caregivers, but are they reciprocating in kind? It’s easy for management to become enamored with the latest-and-greatest hire. The new worker becomes legendary for her positive client reviews and vast healthcare knowledge. But what happens to the other loyal team members when a new person starts commanding the best assignments?
Ultimately, most caregivers are like any other workers. They want steady work that will consistently pay the bills. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding a high-performing newcomer. But home care agencies must never neglect tried-and-tested aides who’ve performed consistently over months and years!
Some home care agencies seem to have big divides between remote-working caregivers and in-office staff. That’s a huge mistake! Caregivers are just as important as office managers and shouldn’t feel second-tier.
A home care organization must work hard to create an entire company culture centered on the value of teamwork. It doesn’t just happen automatically. Management should send caregivers invitations to all company lunches, team-building events and Holiday parties.
Nobody can claim to have all the answers to today’s caregiver-shortage dilemma. At a certain point, the math is what it is; too few workers are available to fill current home care demands. However, forward-thinking home care agencies can take reasonable steps to reduce turnover.