Your home care agency’s most valuable resource is your caregivers and employees. But ever since COVID-19, your employees are likely struggling more as a result of less interaction.
In the U.S. alone, 65 percent of the workforce is now isolated and working from home whether they like it or not.
The repercussions caused by this dramatic shift are huge. 45 percent of adults said that their mental health has been negatively impacted during the pandemic, according to a recent KFF poll.
But if there is one thing that home care leaders can do to help better recognize their care teams, it’s to not be all doom and gloom.
In fact, 70 percent of employees are simply after a more frequent ‘thank you’ from managers, and many believe this is enough to become more motivated and engaged at work.
With home care’s workforce remote by nature, some of the learnings on more frequent “thank you” can really help keep our teams better engaged.
Delivering a sincere ‘thank you’ via remote means, however, is a challenge in itself.
After all, it’s never what people say, but how they say it that really matters.
There are automation and commutation tools available to home care providers that can help them better connect and engage their caregivers. Software platforms like SMARTcare’s solution help support better caregiver engagement and recognition which leads to better retention.
Here are three steps easy steps to take which build an intuitive, affordable and thoughtful recognition culture that can help you improve company culture and drive employee engagement, regardless of the ‘where’ of work.
1. Diversify who’s responsible for your Inclusive Recognition Program
There are many barriers that home care leaders face when creating an inclusive recognition program. For example, they can often focus too much on high-impact contributions and caregivers. Thus overlooking small successes. They can also forget to call out great work because they are overwhelmed and busy.
In recent times, it’s also easy to give praise to the office team while forgetting about remote-working counterparts and caregivers.
But, here’s the thing about a recognition program: it doesn’t have to just be a top-down approach. Recognition comes from all four corners of a home care agency, and by diversifying who’s responsible for the recognition, you encourage all employees to show appreciation for each other.
This increases the likelihood that the agency’s quietest workers will be recognized for their hard work and contributions. Plus, by listening to your employees and inviting them to recognize hard work, it’ll help manifest stronger working relationships and a greater sense of belonging. This is particularly important when your team isn’t together in the same physical location.
From a bottom-line perspective, inclusivity within your home care agency should be encouraged. According to SHRM, peer recognition is nearly 36 percent more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.
Spreading the responsibility also creates inclusion, trust, and a strong more focused team.
2. Enable consistent recognition that’s meaningful and impactful
Recognition programs often fail because they become too narrow in scope or too infrequent in time. Sure, they may include all types of your agency’s staff, but if it isn’t designed to recognize workers on a regular basis (and in their own way), they’re not living up to their potential.
End-of-year bonuses, a pat on the back and legacy programs often miss the mark with recognition, too. In most cases, they focus on consistently highlighting the few individuals inside the home care agency whom overperform, and consequently, they make everyone else look less appreciated.
Home care leaders must be mindful of the shortcomings of these programs and create and maintain an environment where the entire team can be successful. Recognition is less about things like financial incentive today (especially during as turbulent a time as this) than it is about consistent, value-based recognition.
3. Get buy-ins from higher ups, but turn to employees for advice
When building your team of internal champions, be sure to seek out the opinions of everyone in your home care agency. First and foremost, you need stakeholder buy-in from those in leadership positions, your partners or the owners.
With this, you can begin to implement an inclusive recognition program that is both consistent and well managed across the entire agency.
A few other important considerations include:
Timeliness – Recognition must be given as soon as possible to produce a clear connection to positive behavior.
Frequency – Home care employees make contributions on an ongoing basis and failing to recognize those contributions increases the likelihood that they will feel undervalued.
Specificness – Recognition should include the details and context of the task, as well as the impact of the employee’s work on the agency’s business.
Visibility – Public and positive recognition is what matters most. Sharing recognition with a wider audience can spark ideas and discussions in other areas, too.
To ensure the program is effective, however, be sure to listen to your employees. By surveying your home care team, you can design a program that is unique to your culture and that offers tangible praise for valuable deliverables.
No more incentives for just ‘showing up’, and no more praising the top performers.
With input from everyone, you can build an initiative that positively impacts long-term agency culture, and that’s the sort of thing that’ll drive real agency growth.
Meaningful recognition for meaningful people
There’s one fundamental that sits at the core of a successful employee recognition initiative, and that’s communication. Consistent communication with everyone across your business is the only sure way to drive culture, develop engagement and build a positive company culture.
And it’s a positive company culture that will drive your agency’s business change. After all, happy workers are 13 percent more productive.
SMARTcare is a Complete Home Care Platform with just the right amount of everything, and it’s designed by Caregivers, for Caregivers. With SMARTcare, you can manage, schedule and operate everything you need for your home care business. Achieve better outcomes, higher satisfaction, and increase caregiver retention with a system that supports your business and its goals.
SMARTcare is currently offering our COVID-19 Toolset at no charge to all home care agencies. The Toolset App includes reminders, agency notices, symptom checks, contact tracing and other important virus risk mitigation tools to help you manage your response to the pandemic.
We are in this together. To find out more about SMARTcare Software, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can help.