The home care industry is expanding, and the demand for caregivers is continuously rising. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, home caregiver jobs are going to grow by 41% over the next five years.
As competition amongst care providers increases, finding and retaining caregivers continues to be a crucial component in any home care agency’s success.
Staying focused on caregiver recruiting during this period of rapid industry growth will help create a competitive advantage and ensure you have the right caregiver pipeline available, as and when you add clients.
Whether you are a new home care provider just setting out, or an established agency looking to expand, having a continual caregiver candidate pool will have a long-lasting impact on your agency’s success well into the future.
As you begin to build and refine your candidate pipeline, remember that each channel will provide different levels of candidates and candidate volume. While it’s usually good practice to cast your recruiting nets wide, and include a variety of channels, it is also important to concentrate your efforts on those channels that are most likely to deliver the best caregivers at the lowest cost.
Every home care agency owner dreams of having caregivers line up at their door to hand in their job applications, with a 0% turnover of staff, we all know the reality is very different! Finding and hiring caregivers can be one of the greatest challenges that home care agencies face, with the recruiting techniques necessary for success becoming ever more complex.
We’ve created a list of seven ways to help you find more caregivers, find better caregivers, and find caregivers who will stick around.
1 – Referral sources: word of mouth (reputation)
Shrewd home care agencies never overlook one of their greatest recruiting resources – their current caregivers! Word of mouth referrals from employees are incredibly valuable and can be hugely efficient and cost-effective.
They typically result in impressive hire conversion rates in the short term and high-quality employees in the long term.
If you don’t already have one in place, consider setting up an Employee Referral Program, so you are not just taking a passive approach and waiting for the referrals to emerge organically.
Essentially, great employees usually know people who will make great future employees, so it is worth the extra investment. For the most significant impact, make sure that:
- It’s a straightforward process.
- It works the same way every time.
- Your management team supports it.
- The incentives for successful recruitment are significant, to ensure motivation and high participation (e.g. cash bonuses, paid leave, etc.).
- All your employees know about it (e.g. through orientation, training meetings, monthly newsletters/emails, etc.).
It’s also important to strengthen your agency’s relationships with professional referral partners, which can increase both client and caregiver referrals. See point 4 ‘Local Community Groups and Events’ below.
It is worth making an effort to consistently reach out to potential referral sources, whether through email or in person.
By keeping in touch and continually reminding people about the benefits of your services and your unique selling points, you’re more likely to be remembered when the time comes to refer you to someone they know.
2 – The internet: job lead websites
If you are not using internet lead sites to recruit caregivers, you’re potentially missing out on a substantial recruitment source. There are a large number of websites available to help caregivers find you.
According to a 2018 study, over 50% of the caregivers hired in 2017 were recruited through one of these three online sources. Job posting without charge is still available, and home care providers should make full use of it. Indeed.com still has a no-cost option for those looking to get local visibility without added costs. Also, each State employment agency typically has a related job site where businesses can post caregivers jobs for no cost.
There are many other popular lead sites for you to explore, including Care.com, CareerBuilder.com, Caregiverlist.com, Monster.com, and Jobs.com. Each of these lead generators has a different business model and pricing structure so you will need to spend some time discovering which work best for your business.
It is also worth considering investing in ads on Facebook, Google or Bing, which will guarantee your job adverts appear at the top of search results for local caregiving jobs.
3 – The internet: your website and social media platforms
While most agencies are already using popular lead sites, there are many other internet-based options you can utilize to help you find caregivers. The internet is often where people begin looking for jobs, so make the most of all your online channels.
Remember, your online strategy must be tailored to the channels that your target audience prefers, not the ones you feel most comfortable with.
Some quick and easy wins for increasing your access to caregivers online include:
- Make the application submission process as simple as possible to complete and ensure that it is easy to find. Something as simple as an ‘Apply Now’ or ‘Caregiver Jobs’ button, prominently placed on your home or job page. The button to your home care software’s candidate referral links should be embedded on your site. This streamlines the application process. Applicants, for example, can electronically apply in SMARTcare’s home care software. From there, the software guides them through the paperless hiring process.
- On your company website – Consider publishing information for caregivers. Clients and caregivers alike almost always do their research online before reaching out to a home care agency, so an engaging, educational article could easily separate you from your competitors.
- Maintain a strong social media presence. Make the most of your social media platforms, regularly interact with your audience, sharing links to your home care software’s job application portal and website.
- Ask your staff to follow you on social media and share your content too – it is likely that they have like-minded people in their network who could be potential employees.
Social media platforms where you should be actively seeking caregivers include:
- Facebook (and Facebook ads)
- Instagram (and Instagram ads)
- Local Facebook groups
- Paid ads on Pinterest.
While social media platforms typically have a low cost and can deliver a high volume of candidates, it is more difficult to guarantee the quality of employees you find via the internet, so some caution is advised.
4 – Local community groups and events
It can be highly beneficial to be active in your community, build relationships and ‘raise your voice’, for example, through local community groups and events.
By attending local business events such as job fairs, community caregiver training, care-related community events and wellness fairs, you will create opportunities for finding and recruiting new caregivers, in addition to extending your reach with potential clients.
These events can also be an effective and affordable way to establish your home care agency locally, and promote why people should choose to work for your agency over others.
Where possible, try to have caregivers manning your stand at events, in addition to office staff, as they are your most powerful recruiting tool. You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of potential applicants, so make sure you stand out.
It’s worth taking the time to think about how you can engage with other community groups, such as community colleges, senior centers, state home care associations, nursing schools, local universities and hospitals.
Use your experience and knowledge of home care to speak about current issues, trends, or best practices at these places – or write guest blogs or articles for local columns and websites.
Through these community interactions, you will provide visibility, establish your brand as service-oriented, and give community members (and possible future employees) an ideal opportunity to connect personally with you and your caregivers.
5 – Community bulletin boards
This is an often-overlooked ‘offline’ channel, in the age of the internet!
However, it can be an affordable and effective way to find caregivers, if planned and executed well. You’ll need to consider which community bulletin boards you might benefit most from and how to best make your ads appeal to your target audience.
Ensure that your ads are simple, visually appealing, consistent with your brand and have the all important contact information on them.
You will find bulletin boards all around your local community, including:
- Skilled nursing facilities/nursing colleges
- Community centers
- Grocery stores
- Leisure centers/gyms
- Waiting rooms (e.g. at doctors, dentists and health centers)
- Beauty salons/hairdressers
This minimal-cost, low-maintenance channel for leads is a great and proven strategy for many small businesses, professional services, and home-based entrepreneurs.
When added to other initiatives it can increase your visibility and ultimately the number of caregivers applying to work for you.
6 – Traditional advertising
Traditional advertising refers to mass media, delivering commercial messages to mass audiences. It allows you to reach out, to connect and spread the word that you are looking for caregivers, wherever and whenever you want to.
Options for using traditional advertising to find caregivers include:
- Daily local/regional newspaper ads
- Direct mail flyers/postcards
- Magazine ads
- Sponsored signs or ads at local businesses
- Direct mailings
- Radio ads (both music and talk radio)
- Senior directory ads
- Television ads
- Weekly newspaper classified ads.
While this type of advertising usually comes at a higher cost and can’t always target specific leads, it does offer a broad range of methods, that can help you reach a vast audience.
It can also be easier to track and trace where your leads come from, to inform your future recruitment strategy.
7 – Nursing school partnerships
Some home care agencies are already partnered with nursing schools, and with the current caregiver shortage, this practice is likely to become standard practice for all. Working closely with nursing schools can help your business to find and secure recent graduates and can also attract long-term students looking for part-time work.
This can be a highly effective method for finding caregivers for many reasons, for example:
- Most people attend nursing schools that are near to their homes, so they are within the service geography.
- Nursing schools often entice prospective students with the promise of guaranteed work upon graduation, so they are always looking for companies they can partner with. As a result, home care agencies are often given the opportunity to speak to different classes nearing completion.
- LVN/RN students can make excellent non-medical caregivers. While they are training for clinical positions, a large number are looking for caregiving roles to provide a paycheck and a complementary experience.
The caregiver shortage is likely to continue for years, but home care agencies that exploit all possible channels are in the best position to stay ahead of the game.
It’s important to remember that not all caregiver recruiting channels are created equal. Every agency has different requirements, and you will need to make your own decision about which channels work best for you.
We encourage you to identify your best channels by tracking where leads come from using a home care software platform like SMARTcare. These tools can give you insights to the volume from each source, acquisition cost, and retention rates – so that you can continually refine your process, using the information to power your recruitment decisions.
Having a complete digital home care platform like SMARTcare, with a full-hiring suite as part of the package, will assist you with gaining these insights and identifying the effectiveness of different channels in your specific area. If you aren’t already tracking how you find and recruit your caregivers, now is the time to start.
SMARTcare is a Complete Home Care Platform with Just the Right Amount of Everything 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.
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