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Onboarding and Longboarding for Successful Caregiver Retention

Published on May 12, 2020 by Scott Zielski

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Caregiver retention is a critical component to the success of any Home Care Provider.

Retention of your key employees is difficult in any time period with 67% of employees disengaged at work and 51% reporting that they are actively looking for a new job or open to one.1

It’s even tougher now with ultra-high levels of concern about the Coronavirus outbreak, particularly among your home care agencies Caregivers. 

Once you identify, interview and hire a great new employee you need to do everything you can to keep them. 

Data from the Work Institute 2017 Retention report indicates that the direct cost to replace an existing employee is as much as 33% of their annual pay, so for each employee making $35,000 per year, that means that another $11,500 is following each of them out the door.2  

There are several things you can do to improve your caregiver retention as you onboard them.  Here are a few suggestions.

Start with a Great Foundation 

HR professionals agree that a great onboarding process is imperative to successful long-term retention. Several items are key to having a great onboarding process.3  

  • Create a formal process to assure you consistently communicate key information to all new employees to help assure quality as well as reinforcing your existing work culture. Be sure you have a checklist of items that need to be completed and ready prior to the employees starting work.  
  • Set clear expectations at the very start and reinforce them on a regular basis, e.g. what is expected in the first week, month, quarter and year.  
  • Make sure the new employees are focusing on the right things by aligning their incentives to assure that they are focused on issues most important to the company.  
  • Find the positive in your new team members and leverage their strengths to get the most out of them.  Too many managers focus on the team members’ weaknesses and try to “fix” everything about the team members.  
  • Listen to your team members and exchange ideas in a positive and open environment.  
  • Recognize your team and reward good performance.  Failure to recognize good work is a morale killer and leads to disengagement by your team.  

Need a Long-Term Plan for Engagement Too

After you have successfully onboarded team members, you need to sustain your good work.  This continuation of steps is sometimes referred to “longboarding.”4

The most important thing to do during longboarding is to be sure to communicate frequently, both formally and informally. 

This is particularly important for you to communicate frequently with your remote team members.  It may be even more important now to your in-house employees who are working remotely for the first time and aren’t used to the social isolation of remote work.  (It gets lonely out there!) 

This continued communication is critical with your field team to keep them engaged and reduce the “island” feeling they get being alone. Frequent communication allows you to stay aware and to provide feedback/help to your team members. Regular contact with their manager/supervisor is crucial in keeping your team members engaged. Using the tools that are part of your home care automation platform to help you with this communication and engagement.

Things like direct emails, SMS texts, chat messaging and in App communications can make the process easy. Make sure the platform you are using is fully HIPAA compliant so you’re not exposing employee information or PHI.

Most of your team members want to continue to grow and providing them with development opportunities is an excellent way to keep them engaged and increase their productivity. 

Look for opportunities to help them develop their soft skills, e.g. through OJT, Technical Skills (classroom or online training), and leadership training for your managers.

Onboard and Longboard Your Way to Retention

Remember to create a formal and consistent onboarding process to create a great foundation for your new team members success and to follow through with a long-term plan to keep them engaged and improve your team member retention.

To find out how SmartCare™ software and support can help you engage and retain your team members and to work more effectively, please contact us at 1+ (800) 450-9104 or via email: hello@smartcaresoftware.com