Homecare agencies today face a unique challenge: clients are plentiful, but they don’t have the staff to support them.
Many agencies have mastered the caregiver recruitment process and have no problem bringing new hires on board, but they can’t seem to hold onto them.
And they’re certainly not alone in this struggle. In 2017, the median caregiver turnover rate across the industry was 66.7 percent. Not surprisingly, a recent report found the caregiver shortage to be one of the top three threats to business growth for 63 percent of homecare agencies.
While there is no simple solution to this industry-wide problem, there are steps you can take to get your business on the right track. We talked with some of our top-performing agencies to learn what they do to reduce caregiver turnover and keep their aides motivated and happy. Check out their advice below.
1. Train for success.
Training is the first step to ensuring your caregivers do their job well and feel empowered doing it. Providing your aides with adequate training can make all the difference in their confidence, security, and of course, performance.
Topics like elder safety, bathing, cooking, working with chronic illness, transferring clients, handling sensitive conditions compassionately, and dealing with death are all essential to address with ongoing training.
Make sure to review your company policies, procedures, and goals early on as well. After all, if your new employees aren’t aware of your expectations, it will be hard for them to meet them!
2. Mentor your aides for continued learning and improved results.
A mentorship program is a great way to ensure ongoing training, and help your employees feel guided and encouraged.
Identify the most reliable, responsible, and successful caregivers in your organization to promote to a mentor role. They will be the people your new aides look to for advice and direction.
In addition to the boost they’ll get from their more senior role, mentors can also help ensure employees’ satisfaction on the job, ultimately resulting in lower turnover rates for your company as a whole. Typically, employees will feel more comfortable bringing up issues to people they feel they can relate to, or those in a similar position. Your mentors can alert you to any problems or challenges new aides are facing, so you can be proactive in addressing them.
3. Take a look at how you treat your staff.
You know what to look for in a caregiver, but what about in yourself and your business? Are you setting your employees up for success?
Consider the following questions:
- Are you communicating in their language? Not everyone is a native English speaker. Mobile apps like HHAeXchange offer functionality in more than 40 different languages, ensuring your aides can communicate comfortably and effectively, in real time.
- Are you allowing them to focus on the patient? How much time are your aides spending on administrative tasks, like filling out paper time sheets and hand-delivering them, when they could be caring for patients? Management software with integrated electronic visit verification (EVV) can save you and your aides hours of time and frustration, and bring your focus back to productivity.
- Do you offer opportunities to take on additional shifts? If someone has to call out at the last minute, do you have an efficient system for filling the shift? Scheduling software can help you swiftly locate other caregivers willing and ready to take on an additional shift. It’s a win-win.
- Are you paying your employees on time? No one wants to get paid late. The right management software can help you drastically cut down your payroll processing time and ensure compliance.
4. Meet them where they are with technology.
Most people today use a smartphone, but not everyone does. Give your caregivers the option to clock-in and clock-out using the technology that makes the most sense for them. In the case that it is a smartphone and they have the ability to use a caregiver mobile app, that’s a great way to go, as you’ll get great real-time visibility into their visits and a variety of helpful communication tools. If not, and they prefer to use telephony or the consumers’ landline, then that’s perfectly fine as well. When it comes to technology, options is the keyword!
5. Motivate and reward for jobs well done.
Incentive programs can keep your caregivers motivated and even boost their enjoyment of the job. Small rewards such as a gift card to a local restaurant, or a day at the spa, can make all the difference. Find out what motivates your employees and build the incentive program around that.
A point system is an ideal place to start. For example, for every visit an aide is on time, they get one point. Each time they accurately observe and track a patient’s condition, they get two points. The more points they earn, the better their reward.
Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done, so whether it’s cash, a gift card, or simply an announcement to staff, do what you can to honor your employees’ efforts.
6. Measure satisfaction and implement changes.
You think you’ve done everything you can to make your agency a great place to work. But do your employees agree? How would you know?
Employee Satisfaction Surveys provide an easy and effective way to evaluate your caregiver relationships and implement any necessary changes. You can use a simple Google form or free survey tool to ask your caregivers and in-office staff open-ended questions, or to rate you on how they feel about working at your agency. (Remember to keep it anonymous to get truly honest feedback.) In turn, you will earn some valuable information, and you’ll see what potential changes you can implement to keep your caregivers happy at your agency.
If your employees offer feedback or advice, or have any reasonable requests, do what you can to meet them. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to share their thoughts, and seeing changes actively being made will promote trust, inspiring everyone to do their best work in support of the agency’s mission.
You work hard to serve some of the most vulnerable members of society. That’s why we want to do our part to simplify the homecare management process for you, and give you the tools you need to make optimal decisions.
To see how HHAeXchange can help your business, schedule a demo.