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Using the 7 Caregiver Personas to Develop More Effective Recruitment and Retention Strategies in Home Care

Published on September 15, 2023 by Sharon Morrisette

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85% of all home care providers are turning away clients due to staffing shortages.

Caregiver turnover has spiked to 77.1% in 2023.

57% of caregivers quit within the first 30–90 days.

As these stats show, attracting and retaining top caregiver talent continue to be common challenges for home care providers across the board, impacting their ability to provide the consistent, high-quality care needed to guarantee client/patient satisfaction.

As a result, the latest Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Report reveals that 40% of home care providers are now prioritizing recruitment and retention programs. As these programs continue to prove effective, you should ensure you’re investing the additional time, energy, and money into the right strategies to ensure success.

One area of growing interest is finding ways to personalize the whole caregiver experience rather than relying on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. This involves gaining a much deeper understanding of the different groups of people in caregiving roles – in order to know when, where, and how to target them effectively, as well as their unique needs to stay engaged and motivated once on board.

In this article, we’ll look at the seven distinct caregiver personas identified in a recent study and offer top tips for engaging each specific group across the caregiver experience. We’ll also include technology tools you can utilize to develop more effective recruitment and retention strategies that meet the unique needs of each separate profile.

The seven caregiver personas

Colorful painted group of people wooden figures, diversity concept

A 2022-2023 State of the Direct Care Workforce Report identified seven caregiver personas, which include:

  1. Career caregivers 
  2. Caring-on-the-siders
  3. Young and on-the-movers
  4. Oodles of offspring
  5. Single moving mommas
  6. Empty nesters
  7. Still-going-strong retirees

Each of these caregiver personas has differing skill sets, backgrounds, traits, preferences, pain points, job search behaviors, and much more. 

Using a blanket approach to recruitment and retention may mean missing out on/losing certain talent that could potentially be an excellent fit for your home care business. 

Knowing the caregiver personas can serve as a great guidepost to help you create more meaningful, relevant, and engaging recruitment content to attract and inspire best-fit candidates. This includes using the right language in job posts/descriptions and reaching candidates via their preferred channels. For example: 

  • Career caregivers’ will typically be found on niche, care-related recruitment websites (like myCNAjobs).
  • Young and on-the-movers’ spend more time on social media and major job boards, as well as connecting via University recruitment strategies. 
  • Empty nesters’ spend less time browsing online but can be found offline actively engaged in their community, such as at church events.

Understanding these different profiles can also help you develop more effective retention strategies that align with each caregiver persona’s needs, job preferences, and goals. For example:

Top tips for engaging different caregiver personas to boost recruitment and retention

Operating a one-size-fits-all approach to caregiver recruitment and retention can lead to numerous staffing challenges over time, which you want to avoid. 

You wouldn’t dream of delivering one identical care package to all of your clients that doesn’t consider their individual needs and preferences, so why would you expect your workforce to settle for anything less? 

Top-talented caregivers now expect (and deserve) a client-grade, personalized experience – and if you can provide this (or something close to it), your recruitment and retention struggles could very well be over.

Caregivers who feel that their personal preferences and needs are being listened to and met will always be more engaged, and countless studies have shown a direct correlation between engagement, performance, and retention. 

So, where to begin? Here are our four top tips to help get you started:

1. Start simple: look for commonalities

The good news is that several factors are highly important to all the caregiver personas, which is where you can begin building a solid foundation for your recruitment and retention strategies. 

Key factors that you need to ensure you’re providing (and promoting!) to satisfy all seven personas include:

i. A fast and efficient hiring process (including onboarding)

Business people, shaking hands and happy in interview, hiring or onboarding. Handshake, deal

Establishing a fast, simple, and efficient hiring process is crucial to keep all candidates engaged, motivated, and informed at every touchpoint – and effectively grow your talent pool.

The easiest way to achieve this is through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), like Smartcare’s ENGAGE Hiring Hub, which helps you create a customizable hiring pipeline with integrated communication and engagement tools. 

ii. Flexible scheduling

Each of the seven caregiver personas is looking for flexible scheduling, even if their reasons for doing so differ, making this a key goal in your recruitment and retention efforts. For example: 

  • Empty nesters’ and ‘Still-going-strong retirees’ are looking for adaptable shifts that allow them to fit their caregiving role around spending quality time with grandchildren and enjoying community activities, church events, and hobbies. 
  • Oodles of offspring‘ and ‘Single moving mommas‘ want job flexibility that fits in around their children’s school/nursery timetables – and are always keen to pick up extra shifts when available to earn extra income.
  • Caring-on-the-siders‘ tend to work multiple jobs and need schedules that can accommodate their other work commitments (jobs that typically pay a higher hourly rate but offer limited job satisfaction, like call centers and retail).

Flexible scheduling can be a potential nightmare for your back-office staff without the right software! You need an entirely configurable, user-friendly, home-care-specific scheduling system, like Smartcare Scheduling, to reduce the burden. 

With its drag-and-drop dashboard to streamline scheduling and caregiver planning processes, caregivers are automatically notified of their daily shifts and have access to open shifts if they’re looking for extra hours. Managing any last-minute scheduling changes to fit around your caregivers’ personal preferences and needs is a breeze with this intelligent system.

To attract and retain any of the seven personas, home care providers must have flexible scheduling in place – and be sure to promote it through their recruitment marketing channels.

iii. Great client-caregiver matching

Happy senior woman and black female caregiver analyzing medical data during home visit

All seven caregiver personas want to work for a home care business that can give them great client matches, especially the ‘Career caregivers,’ ‘Empty nesters,’ and ‘Still-going-strong retirees.’

An additional advantage of using a scheduling system like Smartcare is that it includes unique machine learning (ML) technology and matching algorithms to guarantee better client-caregiver matching every single time.

Optimal client-caregiver matches are proven to increase engagement and satisfaction for all parties involved – so this is an invaluable addition to any recruitment and retention strategy.

iv. Training and development opportunities

As with flexible scheduling, all seven caregiver personas are looking for home care companies offering training and development opportunities but for different reasons. For example:

  • Career caregivers‘ seek career growth through learning new and specialized skills.
  • Oodles of offspring’ want micro-pathways for learning. 
  • Single moving mommas’ favor small pathway programs linked to wage incentives.
  • Empty nesters’ and ‘Still-going-strong retirees’ want to learn new skills that specifically relate to the clients they are serving.

Developing training programs that offer appealing personal and career growth and development is essential in the bid to attract and retain top talent – and shows the highest return on investment (ROI). 

Smartcare’s cloud-based, all-in-one platform now includes integrated training options through partnerships with Nevvon and CareAcademy. This makes it easier than ever to provide tailored education, training, and skill-building to meet the needs of all seven caregiver personas – with direct access from the platform.

v. Tailored recognition and reward

benefits of creating caregiver career paths

Of course, all seven caregiver personas value recognition and reward in any of the roles they take on, and the benefits to your home care business are immense if you can get this right, including:

The challenge is finding effective ways to personalize your recognition and reward process to meet each persona’s preference. For example: 

  • Career caregivers,’ ‘Caring-on-the-siders,’ and ‘Single moving mommas’ desire public praise above all other forms of recognition.
  • Empty nesters’ and ‘Still-going-strong retirees’ prefer formal awards and bonuses.
  • Young and on-the-movers’ are perhaps the most challenging to please, being incentivized by consistent, frequent praise as they reach each short-term milestone/goal.

To be able to personalize the way you deliver recognition and rewards without taking up a considerable amount of time and expense, the right software tools will be invaluable. 

Gamification tools, like Smartcare Software’s Caregiver Rewards System, are the perfect addition to any other strategies you’re using. They incorporate customized badges, leaderboards, automated points, and tailored rewards that recognize each caregivers’ efforts and achievements, reward excellent performance, and boost retention. Job done!

2. Identify specifics that are easy to implement

Home care providers looking to diversify their talent pool can use the seven caregiver personas to identify specific personas they want to target. 

This allows you to hone in on each persona’s specific goals and incentives to better focus your recruitment and retention efforts. Some examples include:

  • Caring-on-the-siders‘ and ‘Young and on-the-movers‘ are highly incentivized by work that makes a difference and having a connection to purpose – so these are important factors to incorporate in your recruitment materials and retention efforts to satisfy these profiles.
  • Empty nesters’ and ‘Still-going-strong retirees’ are often unaware of what a job in care can offer them. They are also more likely to be found offline at local church, community, and family-friendly events. Therefore, if you want to target these groups, you can direct your recruitment efforts to being out and about in the community, advertising locally, and giving open days to promote care work and all it has to offer.
  • Career caregivers‘ and ‘Oodles of offspring‘ are incentivized by opportunities to grow, progress, and move up in life. They are attracted by any training and development opportunities available, so be sure to strongly promote these in your job posts to attract these groups and deliver on your promises to guarantee retention.

3. Make sure you have the right technology tools in place

officemates looking at a computer screen

Personalizing recruitment and retention strategies to meet the needs of varying caregiver groups can be time-consuming and costly without the right software tools at your disposal.

As this approach is multi-faceted, the most cost- and time-efficient way to incorporate the technology needed for success is to invest in an all-in-one, complete software platform that can deliver all the tools you need in one package. 

Look for a system that (at the bare minimum) provides integrated recruitment and hiring, scheduling, and retention tools, along with insights and business intelligence that will help you monitor progress and make continued improvements. 

Smartcare Software provides a full suite of tech solutions that not only supports your recruitment and retention efforts but also improves back-office operations (reducing admin by up to 60%). 

4. Continuously update and refine personalization processes

Having the right software tools in place for more personalized recruitment and retention efforts should mean that you have access to data that will make it possible to continuously update and refine your processes for optimal success. In today’s highly competitive home care market, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels!

Smartcare’s integrated business intelligence tools provide real-time insights from accurate and unified data to help home care providers determine how their business is performing – including KPIs for caregiver recruitment, hiring, and retention.

There are multiple benefits to having all this information available in just one system. You can visualize trends via customizable KPI dashboards and easily access the metrics needed to monitor progress, analyze performance, improve operations, quickly mitigate issues, and ensure sustainable business growth. 

If you’d like to see how easy it is to use Smartcare’s recruitment, hiring, and retention tools to personalize your caregiver experience and grow your home care business successfully, please call our experienced team today or request a demo

We’re here and ready to help your home care business thrive.