Caregiver recruitment and retention continue to be two of the biggest challenges facing the home care industry. As we near the end of 2021, over 95% of home care agencies report that caregiver shortages have negatively impacted their business.
In a recent blog, Caregiver Retention – 9 Tips for Creating an Effective Caregiver Retention Strategy, we offered tips and techniques to help agencies ensure they are adequately staffed for the clients they are serving now – while also preparing for future growth in 2022.
Here we look more closely at rewards and benefits you can offer in the lead up to the holiday season to keep your caregivers motivated, engaged, and loyal to your agency – ensuring you begin 2022 fully staffed and ahead of the competition.
1. Providing flexible scheduling
It is essential to appreciate the vital role that your schedulers play in both caregiver and client satisfaction. In the run-up to the holiday season, consider reviewing if you have adequate training in place for your schedulers to guarantee excellent communication across the board in 2022.
In addition, you could run a feedback session before the New Year to listen to your caregivers’ scheduling needs and establish this practice regularly. Circumstances can change; your agency needs to be flexible and in a position to respond quickly.
Scheduling changes made promptly and communicated clearly can help keep your caregivers happy, save them from burnout, and increase overall retention. This is where Smartcare’s robust, one-click scheduling software can help, enabling managers and agency executives to spend less time keeping track and more time focusing on driving the business forward.
To further enhance the communication between your schedulers and caregivers, Smartcare Voice works with a Google Assistant device or mobile app. This allows schedulers to provide caregivers and clients with real-time information about scheduling and services (without the need to log in to a computer or app). In addition, clients can check upcoming care schedules easily, and caregivers can keep track of their clients and scheduled shifts.
2. Offering consistent and timely recognition and reward
Consistently recognizing caregivers and rewarding their contributions to your home care agency is crucial if you are serious about retaining your top talent, especially during these challenging times. Over 65% of employees in any organization report that they will seek a new position if they feel underappreciated.
There are many other effective ways you can recognize and reward your caregivers in the run-up to the holiday season to promote job satisfaction and loyalty. For example:
- Caregiver Rewards points
- Personal acknowledgments and thanks
- Personal gifts
- Exclusive experiences
- Professional/personal development
- Team building opportunities and events.
For more inspiring and creative ideas for recognizing and rewarding caregivers during the holiday season, see our recent blog: Top 28 Creative Ways to Reward Your Caregivers and Staff.
If you don’t already have an incentive program in place, consider setting one up for 2022. This is a great way to create positive momentum and an empowered company culture. Consider a software tool like Smartcare’s new Caregiver Rewards system, which makes it easier to keep caregivers engaged and motivated.
Smartcare’s Caregiver Rewards allows your agency to offer rewards for meeting ideal performance criteria, like clocking in on time and picking up extra shifts. Make sure the rewards offered are things that you know your caregivers will value. It can be a game-changer for your agency if you get this right.
3. Delivering creative and unique benefits
Studies have repeatedly shown that caregivers are more inclined to remain with an agency if they receive an attractive benefits package. Knowing what your caregivers value means this doesn’t have to be a costly addition to your retention strategy.
Ideas that have worked well for other agencies include:
- flexible scheduling that meets their needs (see above)
- flexible pay structures, i.e., daily pay/weekly pay (with instant transfers via smartphone)
- certification training
- software tools that are easy to use and help them to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively, like Smartcare’s mobile app
- discounts from local businesses (daycare centers, movie theaters, restaurants, gas stations, hairdressers, etc.)
- mentoring and coaching programs
- employee recognition/incentive programs
- supply of commonly-used supplies (from PPE to snacks and physical equipment to do their jobs effectively).
Find out what motivates your caregivers and respond accordingly so that you have added-value benefits available for 2022.
4. Supporting career growth and personal development opportunities
The 2021 Home Care Benchmarking Study revealed that home care agencies investing in more caregiver training hours had improved retention rates and generated considerably more revenue. For example, those who offered 8+ hours of orientation training generated 42% more revenue than those who invested less. Additionally, agencies providing 12+ hours of ongoing training generated 21% more revenue than those who invested less than four hours.
If you don’t already have a caregiver training program in place, now is a great time to start. It will not only increase your home care agency revenue but also improve caregiver engagement and motivation, reducing turnover. When your caregivers feel valued and see you investing in their growth, they feel better about themselves, their work, and your agency.
Training programs can include a wide range of options that are perceived as added-value by caregivers but don’t necessarily need to be high-cost to your agency as you can use many resources you already have available. For example:
- Caregiver mentorship programs
- Ongoing caregiver coaching
- Blended learning (online and in-person)
- Paid time for training (and other incentives for attending/completing a course).
Effective, first-class training produces effective, first-class caregivers = engaged caregivers, lower turnover, and higher revenue. Remember to communicate clearly with your team before the end of the year about any new training opportunities they can look forward to in 2022.
5. Providing the best tools for the job
As another year draws to an end, it is an ideal opportunity to review whether your caregivers have all the right tools they need to do their jobs well – and to rectify any shortfalls. Asking your caregivers and listening to their feedback is another excellent way to boost retention, as it ensures they feel heard, valued, and respected by your agency.
Tools may include devices, equipment, resources, PPE, applications – anything utilized during your caregivers’ day-to-day jobs to assist them in completing their tasks. Whether physical equipment needed to perform specific tasks or different applications to facilitate processes at work, make sure you are ready for 2022 by keeping up with the ever-changing times and providing your caregivers with the proper and most effective tools to do their jobs well.
The right tools start with providing access to a mobile point-of-care caregiver workflow platform that uses best-practice workflows to make delivering care easier and improve outcomes. Complete home care platforms, like Smartcare’s mobile point-of-care solutions, equip caregivers with the tools they need to provide the highest level of care.
6. Improving caregiver and client matching
Another way to reward your caregivers, and significantly improve caregiver retention, is by ensuring good relationships between caregivers and their clients/patients. All caregivers suffer job dissatisfaction if they are experiencing negative interactions or ongoing conflicts with clients. Many will move to another agency simply to escape a ‘bad’ client/patient.
Consider ways to protect your caregivers and reduce their stress levels for 2022. Every agency wants to take great care of its team. By taking positive steps towards caregiver-client matching, your caregivers receive that message and become more engaged and loyal to your agency.
In addition to selecting the right caregivers for your agency, your retention strategy also needs to include finding suitable clients/patients – and then matching them for maximum caregiver-client satisfaction. Your agency can become the grandmaster of matchmaking with the right system in place!
By identifying compatibility in caregiver assignments, you will attract prospective caregivers (who will stay with your agency for good clients). In addition, you will attract loyal clients who know they will be matched with the very best caregiver to suit their needs (rather than just the first available).
You can easily find the right client for the right caregiver – every time – using Smartcare’s exclusive machine learning technology. Smartcare’s unique matching keeps your clients and caregivers happy, increasing both caregiver and client retention. It works like a dream!
In the run-up to the holiday season, show your caregivers that your agency values and respects them – and find ways to recognize and reward them for sticking with you through 2021. Make the time to:
- learn the specific needs of your care team (what’s working and what’s not)
- focus on what you can control
- prioritize your next steps and take action
- address one issue at a time
- communicate any changes or new plans you will be implementing for 2022.
Adding new retention strategies throughout 2022 will give your home care agency that vital edge to attract and retain top talent and help you realize sizable and continued growth.