Building and retaining a strong caregiver team is an ongoing challenge for most home care agencies – but essential to delivering the best, most effective, and consistent care for their patients/clients.
However, beating the competition to attract, engage, sort, select and hire the best caregiver talent – and then retain them – is no small feat.
Smart home care agencies know that hiring success, in a highly competitive market, requires optimal recruiting and hiring processes to guarantee a healthy pipeline of talented caregivers.
This can involve a considerable amount of administrative work, from publishing multiple job posts to collecting, storing, and managing all the information sent in by applicants, scheduling and conducting interviews, and keeping track of where each applicant is in the process.
Fortunately, the right technology can make all the difference, providing the framework needed to accelerate a standardized hiring process, ensuring an engaging candidate experience, strengthening employer branding, and saving agencies time and money.
Our latest blog looks at how home care agency owners can benefit from investing in an applicant tracking system (ATS) designed specifically for home care providers, like Smartcare’s Caregiver Application Tracking System.
What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a piece of software that provides recruitment and hiring tools to assist HR/recruiters in organizing, managing, searching, and communicating with large numbers of candidate job applications.
These systems can collect and sort through thousands of applications, making life easier for hiring managers and recruiters and saving agencies large amounts of time and money.
ATS tools can be used to automate many stages in the hiring process, such as posting job ads, processing applications, pre-screening and background checks, managing candidates through the hiring pipeline, and interview scheduling.
Among other features, ATS platforms typically offer CRM-style tools to help streamline recruitment and hiring, notify applicants throughout the process, store candidate information in a single database, and provide proof of government compliance, for example, the EEOC.
11 ways home care agencies can benefit from using an ATS
1. Reduced advertising costs
ATS software can help agencies track where applications are coming from to figure out which channels are providing quality candidates and which are not.
By identifying which platforms are the best performers, informed decisions can be made about where to channel key resources. This knowledge, and subsequent activity based on the data, allows for a more cost-effective and efficient advertising strategy.
In addition, an ATS will securely store all applications in the system, whether they were hired or not.
As a result, agencies are constantly building a bank of candidates who, while not suitable for one position, may well be ideal for a future job opportunity – potentially saving agencies from having to advertise at all!
2. Fast, effective communication
It is vital in the highly competitive home care market to attract and engage caregiver candidates quickly and keep them engaged throughout the whole application process. But, again, this can be hugely time-consuming for HR/recruiter teams and difficult to manage when multiple positions are on offer simultaneously.
With an ATS in place, home care agencies can build a library of branded templates to automatically send personalized messages to every candidate at each stage of the hiring process.
These can include reject and shortlist notifications, reference requests, interview details, reminders to complete outstanding parts of their application, offer confirmations, and more – all designed to ensure fast and effective communication, engagement, and an excellent caregiver experience throughout.
Additionally, a great ATS will support internal HR/recruiter team communications with notifications and shared notes to keep everyone up-to-date and connected – so they can focus their time on the highest value-added tasks.
3. Easy tracking and management of applicants
Juggling multiple spreadsheets and email folders to keep track of every applicant and where they are along the hiring process can be a significant drain on time and resources.
Using an ATS allows agencies to customize their HR/recruiter workflow to match their current process and streamline tracking processes – giving them a complete overview of the recruitment process and candidate history at any time.
4. Better candidate experience
The candidate experience is an often-overlooked but unbelievably important part of the recruitment process. A positive candidate experience can set an agency apart from its competitors and significantly elevate its reputation.
A recent study revealed that a positive candidate experience greatly improves an agency’s talent pool – with 95% of applicants saying they would reapply and 97% saying they would refer coworkers and friends.
With an ATS, agencies can guarantee a better experience, offering a quick and easy way to apply for a job, online tools for candidates to track their application status, and consistent and timely communication throughout the process.
Delivering a high level of candidate care also demonstrates how an agency will treat those who become part of their workforce – ultimately helping to create a collaborative, loyal, and passionate team.
5. Reduced time-to-hire
In the current climate, caregivers typically have the luxury of choosing between multiple job offers, so agencies need to act quickly (and have engaging and straightforward recruiting processes) to be able to sign them up.
Most caregivers chose to work for an agency because their application process was simple, and they were the first to offer them a job.
Investing in the right ATS software will simplify an agency’s application process and significantly reduce the time-to-hire.
It can also help agencies fast track selected applicants, for example, those who meet their most essential criteria (e.g., specific certifications, desired hours, years of experience, etc.).
6. Reduced cost-to-hire
ATS software typically optimizes for the lowest cost-per-hire and helps reduce the chances of making a ‘bad hire’ that can prove even more costly than an unfilled position.
In addition to saving time and cost through the many automated functions, ATS platforms have the capacity to capture in-depth analytics that can improve an agency’s efficiency and save costs when finding and hiring caregiver applicants.
Valuable data points within the analytics can further save agencies time and cost in refining their recruitment process.
7. Secure data storage
An ATS will collect and store all the documentation that applicants supply, in a centralized hub, for easy filing and quick access, including resumes, cover letters, and references.
This not only helps an agency to meet government regulations regarding data storage but also to grow its database and talent pool.
Having all applicant records securely stored means if an applicant isn’t the right fit for the current position on offer, they can be easily retrieved when a more suitable one becomes available.
8. Advanced searching capabilities
Many ATS solutions store applicant information in ways that make searching easier, saving time while avoiding human error. They allow HR/recruiters to filter candidates by searching for keywords or phrases within their applications, such as name, education, skills, previous employers, work experience (including job description), and headlines.
Filters can also include the source of the application, the applicant’s location, how long ago they applied, whether they were a referral, and so on.
A good ATS will include robust search functions so that agencies can use their candidate database to the fullest extent, in addition to allowing HR/recruiters to add notes and star-rate each candidate.
Ideally, agencies will want an ATS with search capabilities that include universal search and semantic and natural language searches as part of the package.
9. Compliance with government regulations
HR compliance is complex for today’s home care agencies, with employment law requiring HR/recruiting teams to be even more vigilant than ever when hiring new caregiver talent.
The best ATS platforms have built-in automation features designed with compliance in mind. As a result, they can collect, store and manage sensitive data in ways that make it easier and less stressful to stay compliant with government regulations, including OFCCP and EEO laws.
10. Elevated employer branding
Employer branding represents an agency’s reputation as a place to work and its value proposition to its employees. A strong employer brand is one that is supported by leadership, promoted by employees and is inspiring to the right candidates.
With your agency branding, you are not looking to attract all candidates, but the right ones – the best fit for you and your current team.
By leveraging the power of an ATS, candidates typically form a positive opinion about an agency through the recruitment process.
For example, including automated, personalized notifications for each candidate throughout their hiring journey increases engagement and makes them feel valued, positively impacting their candidate experience.
11. Smooth, effortless onboarding
Onboarding is a crucial stage in the recruitment process. It is the point at which a caregiver candidate turns into a new employee, with all the potential of becoming a highly valued member of an agency team.
Sadly, many home care agencies fail to appreciate the importance of this stage and don’t invest the time or effort needed to optimize this transition period.
Many ATS platforms go beyond simple applicant tracking and can help agencies improve their onboarding process in multiple ways to make it as effective and efficient as possible. As we know, the onboarding experience directly impacts factors like caregiver engagement, productivity, and turnover, so an investment in onboarding can yield a notable return.
With a robust recruitment and hiring strategy, supported by the right technology, home care agencies can easily grow their applicant pool and stand out from the competition by offering an outstanding candidate experience.
An applicant tracking system is one sure way to guarantee a positive connection with your future caregivers – from the very first impression.