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How Gamification Could Be Your Secret Weapon For Hiring (and Retaining) Top Caregiver Talent in 2023

Published on July 12, 2023 by Sharon Morrisette

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As the demand for caregivers continues to surge, home care businesses are faced with the ongoing challenge of attracting and retaining top talent. To remain competitive within this expanding industry, innovative solutions are needed to revolutionize the hiring process, making it more efficient, cost-effective, and engaging. 

Gamification is the ideal solution. 

Backed by a growing body of research, gamification is a blend of technology and psychology and has yielded promising results in various sectors. Many businesses have identified it as a powerful engagement tool, especially for talent acquisition and retention.

Today, gamification is instrumental in creating an immersive candidate experience, transforming the recruitment process from a formal (and often slow) evaluation into a fun, engaging (and speedy) interaction. From providing data-backed insights to creating an efficient hiring system, this powerful strategy could serve as your secret weapon for attracting and retaining top caregiver talent in 2023. 

Let’s explore how.

Understanding gamification

Most of us enjoy games. Our brains are wired in such a way that we draw immense satisfaction from playing, improving, and being rewarded by them. Gamification – a strategy that applies game-design elements to non-game environments – capitalizes on this innate human propensity. 

In recent years, the trend has swept across various industries, transforming routine tasks into engaging experiences. Leveraging our natural tendencies towards competition, achievement, and collaboration, it introduces elements like points, badges, and leaderboards into daily tasks. 

Gamification is founded on the principles of the Self-Determination Theory. This theory posits that people are intrinsically motivated to engage and achieve when their needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are satisfied. 

Gamification can be split into two essential principles: 

1. Extrinsic motivation

Fueled by external factors, extrinsic motivation compels people to participate in a process or activity. This can be achieved through tangible incentives such as leaderboards, points, badges, or other recognitions. Extrinsic motivators can serve as a powerful initial boost to drive engagement.

2. Intrinsic motivation

Originating from an internal desire for challenge and accomplishment, intrinsic motivation can help sustain engagement in gamified environments. It can be stimulated by the joy of problem-solving, mastering a new skill, overcoming intricate simulations, or forming a profound connection with the task or project at hand.

Striking a balance

An effective gamification strategy strikes a perfect balance between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. 

In the context of home care recruitment, the blend of these motivational approaches can be remarkably impactful. Businesses seeking to improve their recruitment and hiring process can use extrinsic rewards to initially attract potential caregiver candidates, and intrinsic motivation to ensure their sustained engagement over the longer term.

The gamification strategy begins by sparking interest and participation through the aforementioned extrinsic rewards. As candidates delve deeper into the gamified tasks, the strategy gradually shifts focus to intrinsic motivators such as personal satisfaction, mastery of new skills, and achievement of challenging objectives. 

This nuanced approach makes the recruitment and hiring process both rewarding and genuinely enjoyable, thereby creating a deeply engaging candidate experience that inspires loyalty to your business.

Why home care providers need to up their game in caregiver recruitment and hiring

The projected growth of home health employment paints a clear picture: the caregiver sector is set for an ongoing, steady and significant rise. A recent study projects that by 2040 the industry will need to fill an estimated five million jobs. Major factors propelling this growth include a rising elderly population, a shift towards seniors preferring to age in place, and Biden’s recent pledge of $150 billion.

Furthermore, recent technological advancements, coupled with the cost-effectiveness of home care services, are predicted to fuel market expansion in the forecasted period. 

However, as the demand for home care grows, the current rate of workforce growth struggles to keep pace. The Argentum report highlights this critical issue, noting the daily increase of the senior population by 10,000 and pointing to a substantial worker shortage in senior care. 

To tackle these challenges, your home care business must stay ahead of the competition. By helping you to effectively attract and retain top talent, gamification will prove an invaluable tool in your arsenal.

How Smartcare’s gamification tools can level up your recruitment and hiring process 

Today’s traditional hiring methods can be overly time-consuming and resource-intensive, often leading to delays in filling vacancies. However, gamification offers an innovative solution. By incorporating automation and gamification, you can streamline your recruitment and hiring process and enhance your candidates’ experience.

Smartcare’s automation and gamification features do just this, providing engaging and interactive tools for your caregiver applicants, while allowing you to assess a larger pool of candidates quickly and efficiently without compromising evaluation quality. 

Improves CX (candidate experience)

In today’s competitive landscape, elevating the candidate experience is of the utmost importance. By using Smartcare’s ENGAGE Hiring Hub, you can closely monitor and manage your candidates’ progress through the hiring pipeline. 

The integrated hiring platform prioritizes candidate engagement by creating an enjoyable recruitment environment with automated communication and reward points. This not only helps to reduce time-to-hire by over 40% – helping you stay ahead of the competition – but also leads to a more positive perception of your organization.

Boosts brand attractiveness

Using gamification within your hiring process can significantly enhance your brand appeal – it reflects an innovative, future-focused approach, and a commitment to a positive candidate experience. Using software that employs automation and gamification (such as Smartcare) can position your company as a leading employer of choice.

Increases employee referrals

employee referral program tablet with digital map of people

When the recruitment process becomes an engaging experience rather than a hurdle, it naturally leads to increased employee referrals. Positive experiences with Smartcare’s gamified recruitment platform are likely to encourage candidates to recommend your organization within their networks. Plus, rewarding the caregivers who refer employees will further drive the number of referrals you receive.

The additional benefits of gamification after hiring

Given the unique demands of the home care industry, efficiency, consistency, and quality of service are paramount. In these key areas, gamification has been proven to yield tangible benefits. 

Enhances caregiver performance

There are myriad benefits to incorporating gamification into your home care operations. Not only is it hugely helpful for enriching the hiring process, including onboarding, but – by transforming routine tasks and goals into engaging experiences – it can also enhance caregiver performance, improve service quality, and increase retention. 

By using Smartcare’s Caregiver Rewards, you can motivate your staff to complete their daily tasks promptly and with greater accuracy. This not only fosters autonomy and a sense of achievement but also cultivates a competitive yet collaborative atmosphere. The result is an increase in efficiency, better adherence to standards, and enhanced care delivery.

Supports training and development programs 

Gamification is highly effective in supporting continuous learning and development. By gamifying your onboarding and training programs you can make the learning process more interactive and fun for your caregivers – encouraging them to learn new skills and deepen their knowledge, contributing to their personal growth and professional competence. 

These programs present an engaging, enjoyable platform for caregivers to continually grow and learn, using elements like levels, points, and timely rewards to inspire caregivers to actively participate and complete training modules. 

More importantly, this type of continuous learning often opens doors to career advancement opportunities, incentivizing caregivers to stay with your organization. 

Improves recognition and reward efforts

Offering consistent and timely recognition and reward

Recognition and reward are integrated within gamification tools, where caregivers can earn points, badges, or other forms of incentive after achieving specific benchmarks. Not only does this validate their dedication and hard work but also instills a sense of progress and accomplishment. 

Moreover, the use of gamified platforms can foster a sense of camaraderie and connection among caregiver teams. By vastly improving job satisfaction, these initiatives can enhance service quality and up retention rates.

Reduces turnover

Retaining valuable caregiver talent has long been a challenge for many home care providers. The inherent challenges of the job often lead to high turnover rates – during the pandemic, 55% of caregivers reported feelings of burnout, and 49% said they were feeling anxious. After a brief dip in 2019 and 2020, the turnover rate for caregivers has now skyrocketed to 77%

Given the precariousness of caregiver retention, innovative and evidence-backed gamification strategies have become essential. By offering new ways to engage and motivate caregivers, and increase job satisfaction, they can help you keep hold of your top talent

Implementing its innovative gamification features and easy-to-use functionality, Smartcare customers are benefitting from 3x improved caregiver retention over the industry average – seeing turnover rates reduced by over 30%.

Below are some examples of how these gamification tools can help you keep your top creative talent:

Tailored rewards 

Smartcare’s complete caregiver retention system offers rewards for ideal performance criteria, such as clocking in on time or picking up extra shifts. This recognition can increase motivation, job satisfaction, and a sense of connection leading to higher retention.


Within Smartcare’s rewards system, you can configure rewards to meet the specific goals of each caregiver, ensuring that they are personalized, relevant and motivating for each employee. By customizing your recognition and reward approaches, you can guarantee maximum results.


Not only is it efficient and cost-effective, but Smartcare’s automated reward system also ensures consistency and fairness in reward distribution. This can help to foster increased trust and loyalty among caregivers. 

Enhanced engagement 

marketing automation - smartcare

The software creates an environment that promotes friendly competition and team spirit, with features such as leaderboards and badges. The process of setting and achieving goals – and receiving automated feedback and rewards at crucial milestones – not only enhances caregiver engagement but also helps to align them with the bigger purpose of your business.

Satisfaction tracking 

Smartcare includes a 360-degree satisfaction tracking system, allowing providers to monitor and respond to caregiver satisfaction levels in a timely and effective manner that is easily accessible via Smartcare’s point-of-care Mobile App and Client/Family Portal.

Smartcare’s cutting-edge gamification tools

Within the senior care sector, the rise of gamification has been a proportionate response to evolving industry needs. When used effectively, not only can it modernize your hiring process, but also ensure higher engagement, satisfaction and retention among your existing caregiving workforce. 

Recognizing this upward trend in its infancy, Smartcare invested in the research and development of cutting-edge gamification tools. Offering practical, customizable, and data-driven solutions, these can truly revolutionize your home care business.

Ultimately, incorporating gamification into your recruitment and retention strategies not only positions your home care business as forward-thinking, but also ensures you attract and retain the best talent in the industry. So, as we move forward in this rapidly-growing sector, gamification could be your secret weapon in 2023.

Smartcare Software is here to help. Want to learn more about the gamification tools discussed in this article? Designed to effectively resolve 99% of current home care staffing issues, these tools can transform your operation. For more information or to experience these game-changing tools firsthand, reach out to our expert team or request a demo today.