Can you be doing better?
When it comes to developing a business in the home care industry sometimes there are activities that get overlooked or lost in the day-to-day operation of an agency. While we may put these activities on the back burner as we care for our clients and the operation of our business these activities are critical factors in the overall success of your business long term. Today we are going to introduce these, often overlooked, keys to success and discuss why they are so important. In future posts, we will dig into each of these factors in detail and provide strategies for measuring, managing and capitalizing on each of these opportunities that drive agency success. Here are the four keys: 1) Define your agencies “Why” or mission. 2) Stand out from the competition. 3) Know what your clients want and give it to them. 4Valueing your caregivers and their satisfaction.
As an agency owner your role is to set the tone, define the mission or in other words you need to define “the why” for your company. According to Simon Sinek, Author of the Start with Why: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Companies that become successful have a driving purpose that they center their company, brand, performance goals, marketing and sales efforts around. Your mission or “why” does not need to directly tie to what you do, just simply establish your company’s “character” and communicate it consistently to your caregivers, office staff, customers, referral partners, and prospects. For example, anytime there is an oil spill, Dawn® dish soap is there with the product of choice to clean oil off of birds and other wildlife. They leverage this goodwill with advertising that highlights their “why”: To provide a cleaner that is tough on grease yet gentle. In their marketing they communicate this mission with a picture of a small duck on its bottles. As a home care agency you can focus your brand around something like giving back to the community or keeping loved ones in their homes, where they are closer to the life they know, closer to their families and friends. Then reinforce this vision with messaging, training and employee performance goals. Make sure that everyone within the company understands how what they are doing day-to-day contributes to this mission. And remember “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Be different from the competition
Home care represents one of the biggest opportunities in healthcare and business today. With the blue wave, entry of 3rd party payers, Medicaid and Medicare and as non-medical home becomes a key player in value-based care and being identified as a key to lowering the overall cost of healthcare by lowering readmissions and the overall need or care in facilities its an incredible opportunity. With that opportunity inherently comes competition and a lot of it. Non-medical agencies abound in most markets. The key or capturing business in this environment comes down to one word: Differentiation or your agencies ability to stand out in the crowd. It is critical for agencies to identify and more importantly market what makes them different and it may not be what you think. Everyone claims to have the best caregivers and the highest client satisfaction. Your agency needs to go further. Do you offer a unique service, use unique technology or interface with payers or providers in a unique way, do you offer expertise in an area others can’t, do you have unique partnerships, do you have a unique vision?
Assuming you know what your clients and caregivers need or want
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners and agency leaders can make is assuming that they fully understand what their caregivers and clients need and want when it comes to care services. This can be a critical mistake because you could be making business decisions and investing time and money in services, technology and partnerships that clients could care less about and that your caregivers or clients are not fond of. If you take the time to ask what people are looking for improvements on or more emphasis in, you will have a better idea of the direction you need to head in and the necessary steps you should be taking to get there.
Caregiver Feedback and Appreciation
Home Care Pulse reported that median caregiver turnover was 82% in 2018 according to the Home Care Benchmarking Study. Turnover at this level would represent a challenge to any business, but in-home care this challenge and how your address it can be an additional point of differentiation. Critical to agency success is attracting and retaining the best caregivers. Retaining caregivers takes a combination of a clear vision for your agency as described above, securing buy-in into that vision, caregiver goals aligned to the success of your organization and continuous feedback on performance. It’s important to provide both positive and constructive feedback. “Catch” your caregivers doing something right and share that with them and the team. When you provide personalized caregiver feedback you also have the opportunity to make a real connection with the caregiver, learning more about them personally and what is important to them outside of work. MIT Professor Dan Ariely conducted research around the cost of paying someone according to their desire to perform and found that if you do not acknowledge people’s work you will have to pay them more to continue performing that task. He stated that “Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort before their eyes”. This is a valuable and interesting concept that could be easily adopted by many organizations
Give staff personal goals and reason
Building off the previous section, providing your caregivers with personal goals and driving reasons to perform can drive better performance and better business. When people feel that all they are doing is waking up going to work and coming home with nothing at the end of the tunnel they can become bored and disinterested resulting in decreased performance. Having reward programs and reasons for people to pick up shifts or work extra hours can boost employee morale and help employee retention in the long run. Wallace Brent Donham conducted research around setting goals for employees to keep them motivated. An interesting result of this research was not to just set goals and expect your employees to work toward them even though they have little to no input on the goals themselves. Rather, you should spend time with your employees and talk about their goals developing an understanding of what they want. This will allow you to foster an understanding of how you can leverage your employees’ goals to achieve your companies vision.
Agencies that scribe and follow some of these strategies see an overall improvement to their home care business and improve agency performance. Using the strengths of an end-to-end business platform like SMARTcare to help with each of these strategies gives Agency owners insights to more effectively improve their business. SMARTcare software’s rich data analytics give you visibility to get actionable data that can assist you in identifying where you should be focusing your time and money. Let’s talk about strategy today for a deeper focus on customer’s and caregiver’s satisfaction alike. If you are interested in learning how SMARTcare can benefit your company please give us a call!