Caregivers are the heart and soul of your home care business. They interact with and take care of your clients. Your goal and hope is that they do so as carefully and lovingly as if they were their own family members. But in this stressful and emotionally connected industry, there is a sad but true reality: a high rate of turnover. In fact, according to one study, more than 60% of caregivers either quit or were fired from their jobs in 2015.
But there is another fact. Not every home care agency is destined for this fate. Remember, an average means some have much lower turnover. So how do you recruit qualified and capable caregivers that are prepared for the demands of this industry, and how do you keep them working for you? How do you beat the average?
When recruiting new caregivers (and we recommend you should always be recruiting), be sure to post your job advertisements on reputable websites and job boards. Nothing tarnishes your reputation and produces unqualified candidates more than Craigslist. Will people find you on Craigslist and apply for your jobs? Yes. Will they help you stay below a 61% turnover rate? No. There is an abundance of information on the web to help you navigate the different job ad options.
When advertising openings at your company you have to put your best foot forward. Your listing should be upfront and honest about benefits and pay so that applicants know what the job truly entails. If you say things like “great pay” and “flexible hours” make sure that it’s true of your company. Turnover is often generated when caregivers feel they were victims of a bait and switch.
When interviewing, be sure to outline all areas of the job so that the employee has the full scope of what will be expected of them. Ask them if any parts of the job worry them or if they have any questions…and don’t take “no, you answered them all” for an answer. In our experience there is no benefit to making a job like a dream, when like any job, there are good days, and really really tough days.
Unique Job Challenges
Part of the reason the home care industry has high turnover is that caregivers face a variety of challenges in their day-to-day work that are not present in other jobs, even stressful ones. This can range from long hours, fatigue, uncooperative clients, interfering family members, emotional stress, and sadness. Caregiving is not an easy job and can take a physical, mental, and emotional toll. Many caregivers leave their jobs because they feel burnt out, a sign they may not have adequate support from their employers.
“Building a team” is not just something you say. It is something you do… every day. With your caregivers working out at client’s homes, it is a difficult prospect to build a team. But if you are able to create a working environment where your staff feels supported, educated, included and valued, you will be amazed at the results.
How to Retain Caregivers
One of the most important ways to help caregivers remain with your home care agency is to give them the mentoring and training they need to do their jobs. Giving caregivers an experienced mentor to help them work through their feelings and develop solutions for challenges on the job will make them feel supported and empowered to do their job to the best of their abilities.
It is also important to offer training to employees so that they can learn new skills and best practices for offering your services. This training will make caregivers feel more confident, and will make their day-to-day work easier and more fulfilling.
Benefits can be a touchy subject, but frankly, if you aren’t paying well or don’t provide adequate flex time or time off, a burnt out employee won’t feel compelled to stay. Benefits are a large factor in making caregivers feel appreciated, and if they can’t make their bills or see their children at their soccer games, resentment will build up. Consider your current pay scale and benefit package—would it work for you?
By taking the time to recruit the best, recognizing the challenges caregivers face and creating ways to help overcome those challenges, and supporting them along the way, the turnover rate at your home care agency will decrease. If you cultivate and take care of your caregivers, they will have the passion and energy to take care of your clients the way you hope they are treated. The way you want your loved ones treated.
We would love to hear your success stories. How have you reduced turnover, or simply made your company a desirable place to work?