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A Quick Guide to Managing Caregiver Retention Risk to Keep Hold of Your Top Talent

Published on September 6, 2022 by Sharon Morrisette

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Attracting and retaining talented caregivers remain two of the biggest challenges home care providers face today.

High turnover, in particular, can seriously drain resources and slow down business growth. 

As a result, innovative home care providers are developing proactive caregiver retention strategies to help them better manage their talented teams, reduce costly turnover, and plan for a brighter future. They understand that a well-executed caregiver retention strategy is a crucial competitive differentiator.

In this article, we look at the four main steps you can take to effectively manage caregiver retention risk and keep hold of your top talent.

Step 1: Collect caregiver retention risk data 

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Caregivers leave home care companies for numerous reasons, some of which you can control and some of which you can’t. 

Factors influencing retention can range from work flexibility, financial security, and work-life balance to poor management, lack of recognition, and inadequate career development opportunities.

The first step, then, in the process of managing retention risk and developing an effective retention strategy is to identify the key drivers of employee turnover within your business – so you can focus on the factors that you can control. 

Collecting qualitative responses to complement your quantitative data is important at this stage, so you don’t miss significant concerns through the numbers. Qualitative data is extremely valuable for capturing caregivers’ thoughts, attitudes, and motivations.

Tried and tested methods to enrich your quantitative data include:

  • One-to-one interviews
  • Anonymous engagement surveys
  • Stay (and exit) interviews
  • Caregiver focus groups
  • Interviews with managers/mentors.

When collecting retention risk data, one rule that applies across all industries is to focus heavily on employee engagement. Highly engaged, motivated, and committed employees rarely leave their jobs.

“Employee turnover is not an event – it is a process of disengagement that can take days, weeks, months or even years until the actual decision to leave occurs.”  – Leigh Branham

So, look to gather honest, valuable insights into how your caregivers think, feel, and behave at work – and how satisfied they are with the employee experience and company culture you currently provide. 

Step 2: Analyze the data

The next step is to look at the information you’ve gathered to find patterns, problems, and challenges that you can effectively address. You’re looking to break down the data to understand when, how, and why some caregivers decide to leave your home care company while others choose to stay.

Your caregiver retention results depend on your ability to analyze this data well –identifying where to make small changes or where a sharp turn is needed to capitalize on your retention efforts and manage costs. 

Examples of what you can analyze include:

  • Average tenure – e.g., if caregivers leave after a few years, this might indicate a lack of career progression opportunities. If new hires are leaving within 90 days, it might be your onboarding process that needs review.
  • Reasons for leaving – e.g., if caregivers are going due to scheduling problems or lack of communication from management, software tools to streamline and optimize these processes might be the simple solution.
  • Demographics – e.g., compare different demographic groups to look for patterns. For example, is the turnover rate higher for men/women, younger/older caregivers, those with/without young children, etc.?
  • Annual salary – e.g., is your compensation plan competitive, do you offer added benefits, etc.? 

Any areas where most of your caregivers feel the same way about a particular issue strongly indicate where you need to dig deeper and what needs to change. 

In addition to analyzing the data internally, it can also be beneficial to benchmark your results. For example, an industry benchmark can help to determine how your home care business compares to similar organizations within the industry. 

Step 3: Find solutions and take action 

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Now that you have a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses as an employer and how you compare to the competition, it’s time to take action to mitigate the retention risks you’ve identified.

This stage is about finding solutions to avoid or reduce those risks and creating an effective caregiver retention strategy unique to your home care business.

Retention solutions vary from industry to industry, but the top ten strategies identified as key for minimizing retention risks in the home care industry are:

You can read our previous blogs here and here to learn more about implementing these strategies. 

The combination of solutions that will work best for your home care business will depend on several factors specific to your agency – including agency size, location, market, agency goals, and available resources. These can all impact the strategies you choose to implement and promote, so look at the landscape of your business before fully launching any new plans.

Step 4: Track and measure results

Managing caregiver retention risk is an ongoing process that needs to adapt and change over time. Therefore, tracking and measuring the results of any new retention strategy is essential to assess how well your plans are working.

For example, you may decide to send out a monthly survey to track caregiver engagement before and after you implement a new training program or software system to see if it actually boosts employee engagement. In this way, you’ll be able to track progress, make informed decisions, and refine your techniques as necessary.

Six caregiver retention metrics to regularly track and monitor:

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  • Overall turnover rate (break down by first 30 days, 31–90, 91–180+ to get a clear idea about where you need to focus)
  • Turnover costs
  • OSAT (Overall caregiver satisfaction)
  • Average length of service (how long your caregivers stay)
  • Caregiver LTV (Caregiver lifetime value they bring to your business)
  • Turnover/termination reasons (track to trend over time).

Identifying and analyzing caregiver retention data and regularly listening to your caregivers’ feedback will provide all the information your home care business needs to make effective strategic adjustments and guarantee long-term caregiver retention success.

Remember: what gets measured well gets managed well.

This might all seem like a lot of hard work, but the effort is well worth it. It’s far more efficient and cost-effective to retain a quality caregiver than to recruit, onboard, and train a replacement of the same quality – it also positively impacts your business’s productivity, overall performance, and bottom line. 

Please call us or request a free demo today if you’d like to find out how Smartcare Software tools can help to elevate your caregiver engagement and retention plans.