Whether your agency specializes in skilled or non-medical in-home care, it is likely that hiring and retaining talented caregivers is still an ongoing challenge for you, as it is for most home care agencies across the U.S.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created a higher demand for home care services, presenting caregivers with limitless opportunities, home care agencies committed to increased patient satisfaction continue to face considerable challenges in recruiting and hiring talented employees.
Patient satisfaction is a crucial benchmark for success in home care, so your agency must stand out among the competition to attract the most talented caregivers, to keep your agency fully staffed and your clients/patients happy.
Smart home care agencies understand that optimal recruiting and hiring processes are vital to ensure a robust network of talented caregivers to deliver the very best and most efficient care for their clients/patients.
The good news is that there are quite a few strategies that you can implement right now to start optimizing your recruitment and hiring processes to skillfully find, attract and hire the best caregivers.
Taking the following six tips into consideration, your home care agency can be well on its way to hiring high quality, compassionate caregivers who believe in your agency’s mission and who will deliver the very best care to your clients/patients.
1. Use a multi-channel strategy
Caregiver candidates turn to a variety of sources when researching their next career move, for example:
- the internet – online job postings
- the internet – specific websites and social media platforms
- word-of-mouth referrals
- local community groups and events
- community bulletin boards
- traditional advertising.
Multi-channel sourcing means your agency is not solely reliant on just a handful of sources when seeking talented caregivers. Adopting a multi-channel strategy will provide more options for potential candidates to enter your hiring funnel and help decrease your time to hire. This strategy also improves the quality of the candidates applying for the positions you have on offer.
Consider using both active and passive approaches simultaneously, to connect with a larger target market and effectively diversify your applicant pool.
Read our blog on the best places to find caregivers for home care to help you create a multi-channel strategy for your home care agency and find the best-fit applicants.
2. Establish a simple, fast and efficient applicant process
Recent surveys have shown that qualified, talented candidates typically apply for and accept positions based on the order in which they see openings and how quickly agencies respond to their application. The most highly qualified candidates often have the luxury of choosing between multiple competing offers.
If your agency’s application process is complicated, time-consuming or there are slight delays in your response times, you will likely lose out on the best applicants.
To guarantee a simple and efficient application process – that will quickly engage prospective candidates – you simply need good applicant tracking software, like SMARTcare’s intelligent Caregiver Application Tracking System to streamline and support your entire hiring process.
An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps you to post job ads, manage applicants through the pipeline, and oversee every part of the hiring process, all from one single platform.
An ATS can help to optimize your hiring processes in many ways, including:
- significantly speeds up the hiring process
- enables quick and decisive communication with all applicants
- creates a centralized location to store candidates’ information, with all materials funnelled into the ATS instead of your email inbox
- enables quick and easy processing of candidates – including candidate assessments –
to identify best-fit candidates, in a more organized workflow
- includes integrated background checking to simplify employment screening
- helps to rapidly complete new hire paperwork so agencies can focus on the more important aspects of onboarding.
By embracing ATS technology, your home care agency will see an increase in quality, efficiency and consistency that translates from the hiring phase right through to onboarding and caregiver retention.
3. Track key hiring metrics
Data is essential to understanding what is working well in your hiring process and what requires improvement. Every successful business model relies on data metrics and analysis to improve existing processes. As the home care industry grows, more sophisticated data collection and reporting software options are needed to achieve that all-important edge.
If you aren’t already tracking key hiring metrics to assess the health of your hiring process, consider starting with these:
- Cost per hire/per channel
It’s important to measure how much you are spending on each new hire. It will let you know whether your investment in specific channels, such as job posting sites, is paying off or if you should redirect more of your budget toward other channels that are performing better.
- Hiring velocity
Measuring the time it takes from job posting to acceptance letter can tell you a lot about how well your hiring process is working. The more time you take to fill an open position, the more productivity will suffer at your agency. Ongoing staff shortages not only lead to a whole host of problems within an agency, but slower hiring velocity also gives your competitors time and opportunity to step in and steal the top talent.
- Process adherence
It is important to make sure you are following a standardized, scalable hiring process. A talent management system will make it easier for you to measure whether you’re consistently following protocols with each caregiver candidate, and can be used to hold individual locations/managers accountable for following the hiring process.
Tracking and analyzing key hiring metrics has developed into something of an art in recent years. With the right software systems in place, you can easily implement a data-driven hiring strategy to help optimize your existing processes, saving your agency time, money and resources.
4. Utilize a mobile-friendly app
Based on a study conducted by Kelton Research, a marketing research company, 86% of people with a smartphone use it to apply for jobs (Demographics). Those same individuals are also expecting to apply for your caregiver positions right from their phones.
Since COVID-19, home care agencies that have already taken advantage of this new competitive business component have exponentially reaped the benefits. Those agencies that do not have a mobile app for candidates may be missing out on top-quality talent.
The three main factors job applicants consider when job searching are accessibility, timeliness, and ease of comprehension. A mobile-friendly home care agency app fulfils all three expectations. Having a mobile-friendly application in-take process is a must today if you are going to attract the best caregivers and retain them.
Some of the benefits include:
- attracts a broader and more diverse range of applicants
- provides engagement tools and secure chat, to support consistent and timely communication
- time-efficient for applicants, allowing immediate access to self-service portal and application
- convenient for applicants – can apply anywhere on the go (with a wifi connection)
- shown to increase individual’s satisfaction in applying, hiring and onboarding processes
- helps maintain a competitive edge in the home health care industry.
A mobile-friendly application process, like SMARTcare’s, serves as an easily accessible platform and a self-service portal while also offering numerous add-on features. Features include applicant progress checks, integrated background checking, links to your website and reminders – all ideal for optimizing your hiring process and saving your agency a great deal of time and cost.
5. Automate employment screening (references and background checks)
One of the final steps in the hiring process, but one of the most critical for home care agencies, is background checks.
Every home care agency understands the importance of thorough reference and background checks, which are essential to ensuring the welfare of its clients and, ultimately, maintaining its reputation. However, these can be one of the most cumbersome steps in verifying a candidate’s background and take up vast amounts of time and resources.
With SMARTcare software, you can use pre-employment testing with our partner Hire Select, giving you the ability to check applicants’ qualifications before contacting them. This can increase your hiring success rate by over 52% versus the national average. You can also utilize integrated background checking to make sure you are hiring the very best people for your agency. The candidate supplies contact information and a survey automatically gets sent to references. Once references fill out the survey, results get sent back to the hiring manager for review.
By using the right technology, not only can you make sure you are hiring people who will be top-quality caregivers, but you can also save yourself a huge amount of time and reduce your hiring costs.
6. Treat your onboarding process as part of your hiring process
New hire turnover can be a big issue for many home care agencies where onboarding is not taken seriously. You cannot afford to ignore the direct correlation between poor onboarding and high turnover rates. You must make the first 48 hours (at least), for any caregiver joining your agency, a hugely positive experience.
You need to create a clear, organized and interactive onboarding process for new caregivers and think of the first 48 hours as part of the hiring process. Your onboarding should not just be a bland ‘paperwork party’ that is overwhelming for a new hire – overwhelming onboarding can be as detrimental as underwhelming onboarding! Aim to make your new caregiver’s interactions with your agency, team and clients helpful and encouraging, including:
- provide all the tangible resources required, including access and training to software used
- introduce other team members, in-person or remotely
- have current employees share success stories
- go through the cultural benefits of the workplace
- give information about any fun events, training or reward programs available
- review your agency’s values, vision and mission
- explain how the goals of each department impact the entire agency
- assign and introduce mentors and team leads.
These should not just be used as selling points during the interview stage. They are an essential part of your agency’s culture, setting the tone and making sure your new employees are extra motivated right from day one.
An applicant tracking system (see above) can be used to support your onboarding process, automatically sending necessary paperwork and training materials to new caregivers (and notifying you if documentation has not been completed/returned). This allows your new employees to fill out corresponding paperwork and start training before their first day. As a result, they can hit the ground running from day one, rather than wasting time filling out paperwork.
Finding, attracting and hiring the top talent is the best way for your home care agency to provide quality care and improve client/patient satisfaction.
Using multi-channel strategies, utilizing applicant tracking software, collecting key hiring metrics, utilizing mobile technology, and focusing on new hire retention will all help to optimize your hiring process by taking a more strategic and streamlined approach.
Your caregivers are the most valuable asset of your agency and can really help you stand out from the competition, providing clients/patients with the best care possible. Make hiring and talent management a priority at your home care agency, so you can build the best team possible and increase your business’s overall efficiency and profitability.
If you would like more information about any of the software solutions mentioned above, please contact us today. A member of our dedicated team will be happy to discuss ways in which we may be of benefit.