Home care providers increasingly recognize the importance of focusing on caregiver wellbeing for business success. Not only does it reduce workplace stress and burnout, but it also impacts a provider’s ability to attract top talent, increase productivity and drive employee retention.
Since the upheavals caused by the pandemic, and the Great Resignation, finding the right strategies to enhance caregiver wellbeing is undoubtedly more of a challenge.
However, there are adjustments that home care providers can make with relative ease that will have a significant effect on the five pillars of caregiver wellbeing: physical, mental, financial, professional, and social.
This blog looks at seven simple changes you can make to promote caregiver wellbeing and keep your employees healthy, engaged, and retained.
1. Improve internal communications
Working in isolation can be detrimental to caregivers’ mental and social wellbeing, which makes effective communication between team members essential.
Internal communication can help maintain that all-important human connection, increase transparency, and build trust. It also plays a major role in employee engagement and wellbeing, company culture, and productivity.
Review your current internal communications and look for ways to improve, to guarantee your caregivers feel connected to your company and each other. For example:
- Do you have regular check-ins with your caregivers – via phone, text, or email –to see how they are doing?
- Do you run weekly/monthly meetings where caregivers are updated on company activities and can check in, connect and offer each other moral support?
- Could you open a Channel Check-in via a company-wide channel (for example, Slack) to find out how your caregivers currently feel about their work and the support they receive?
- Do you offer a mentorship or coaching program that provides a dedicated person your caregivers can talk with and turn to for advice and support?
- Do you utilize tech tools, like Smartcare’s mobile app, to ensure real-time, easy-to-access communication between caregivers and office staff?
2. Update training opportunities
Enabling caregivers to develop their current skills, learn new ones, and access new positions within your company, provides numerous benefits for their mental, financial, and professional wellbeing (and, ultimately, your bottom line).
Examine the training and development opportunities your company currently offers to identify gaps or areas for improvement. (Make sure you ask your caregivers for feedback, too.) Can you do more to motivate them and support their professional development? Are you promoting the opportunities available? Can you offer more paid training time to increase uptake?
If you aren’t already running caregiver mentoring, upskilling, and coaching programs, now is the time to start. The good news is that they all utilize the talent you already have available within your teams, so they are highly cost-effective.
3. Support a healthy work-life balance
You can take several steps to support your caregivers in achieving a healthy work-life balance. This will enhance all five pillars of wellbeing while also increasing motivation and productivity. For example:
- encourage regular breaks between shifts, and factor this into your scheduling
- review workloads often to make sure no-one is overloaded
- limit overtime requirements – voluntary and mandatory
- offer respite care services for those who need to take an extended break
- highlight your company’s holiday policy and encourage caregivers to use their allotted time off – offer more time off, if feasible
- develop and promote flexible shifts/scheduling – using the right scheduling software will help
- consider condensed work weeks, where caregivers can opt to work more shifts over fewer days (i.e., have an extra day off each week)
- lead by example – managers and leaders should demonstrate a healthy work-life balance to set a good example.
To attract – and keep – top talent, it’s important to appreciate that every caregiver is unique. How you support a healthy work-life balance may look different for each of them.
4. Invest in technology updates
Is the technology you’re using to run your home care business up-to-date and helping or hindering your caregivers’ wellbeing as they perform their daily tasks?
Investing in updates, best-in-class workflows, and mobile point-of-care solutions means your caregivers can entirely focus on client/patient care – the part of the job they love best. Look for technology that simplifies care management and recording, improves time management, increases efficiency, and reduces caregiver stress.
With the right tech tools, like Smartcare Software, you can make a big impact on caregiver wellbeing, providing easy access to all details they need to provide high-quality care – anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Schedules, shift and route details, care plans, documentation, and much more can be accessed in real-time, saving valuable time and maximizing that all-important human connection.
5. Revamp employee benefits
According to research, less than 50% of employees believe that their company prioritizes their wellbeing, particularly regarding the benefits available.
By identifying benefit gaps and opportunities that buck this trend, your home care company can get ahead of the competition to attract and retain top talent. Consider regular surveys to find out what your caregivers want/need. Then, create (and promote!) an inclusive, attractive benefits package that prioritizes a broad selection of their wellbeing needs.
6. Introduce ways to support shared connections
Social support is essential to a healthy workplace, and evidence shows it directly correlates to employee wellbeing, engagement, and productivity. Yet, despite being relatively easy and cost-effective to facilitate, business leaders often overlook it.
Think about how your home care business can be a hub to help caregivers build a sense of inclusivity and belonging and strengthen their social bonds. This can be almost any social interaction that brings your team together (in-person or online) in an enjoyable and meaningful way, for example:
- regular check-ins with managers, mentors, or peers
- face-to-face meet-ups, e.g., lunches, walks and talks, book clubs, etc. (in-person or online)
- weekly/monthly Social Wellbeing Team Challenges, for example, learning a new hobby/skill, fitness challenges, volunteer days, and sustainability challenges
- opportunities for team celebrations, to acknowledge and reward achievements, and encourage peer-to-peer recognition
- company-run or sponsored social activities, like paintballing, quizzes, bowling, etc.
- team training days.
Remember to publicize any initiatives to raise awareness and encourage more employee engagement, and also encourage feedback from your team for ideas on other social activities they’d enjoy.
7. Increase recognition and rewards
Recognition and rewards are powerful tools for boosting caregiver performance and increasing retention while positively influencing mental health and overall wellbeing.
Taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate your caregivers creates a culture of community and encourages feelings of pride and gratitude. The positive effects of these emotions impact their wellbeing, reducing stress levels and boosting confidence and self-esteem. In addition, these effects directly impact how caregivers perform within your company. So, by caring about your caregivers’ wellbeing, you also encourage them to do their very best and perform well.
Embedded loyalty tools can be beneficial here, like Smartcare’s Caregiver Rewards system, which offers rewards for meeting performance criteria.
Consider how you can increase the range and frequency of recognition and reward initiatives within your company. This doesn’t always need to be a financial cost – sometimes, a genuine ‘thank you’ can make a caregiver’s day.
There is a clear and positive correlation between promoting caregiver wellbeing and overall company performance.
While a complete Wellbeing Support Program is an ideal addition to any home care provider’s long-term strategy, it is often the simplest changes that can make the biggest impact – so begin by creating change one small step at a time.
It is undoubtedly worth the time and investment, offering multiple benefits that include:
- attracting top talent candidates
- increasing caregiver engagement
- improving caregiver performance and productivity
- saving costs, for example, related to absenteeism
- promoting teamwork and collaboration
- increasing caregiver retention.