How to Increase Caregiver Retention in Home Care Agencies
By: Hannah Liberman, Care Specialist, Sensi.ai
A challenge of any business is the retention of employees. High turnover rates require a business owner to constantly train new workers, and does not allow time for the employees to build knowledge and trust over time. This challenge is greatest perhaps in the Home Care business. Caregivers are quitting en-masse, with Benchmark reports showing that caregivers’ turnover rates in elderly care hit an all-time high of 82% in 2019.
High Caregiver turnover rates cause many obstacles for home care agencies, as they greatly diminish the quality of care provided for the seniors using the agency, and can even drive an agency out of business.
In terms of the effect that turnover rates have on seniors, these unexpected caregiver changes can cause seniors distress and even leave them without care temporarily. Caregivers who care for the same clients can form close bonds that improve health outcomes over a long time. Caregiver turnover breaks these bonds.
From a business perspective, employee turnover can reduce the quality of care provided and increase operational costs for home care agencies.
These costs can be surprisingly high, and the Center for American Progress suggests that the real cost of losing a caregiver is 16% of their annual salary.
For a caregiver that earns an average of $12/hour, the cost of hiring and replacing them (one caregiver) is around $4000.
For these reasons, home care agencies must make a real effort to identify and address caregiver turnover. What can agencies do to better retain quality caregivers?
1. Start by hiring the right people.
Hiring qualified, and interested caregivers for the position offered will ensure that they stay with the company and quickly adapt to its culture. Such hiring will reduce the turnover rate.
Rushing through the recruiting process has the effect of hiring people who will not be happy in the day to day culture and may have issues with their work environment. If an opportunity presents itself elsewhere, they’ll jump ship before you can even make them a counteroffer. This type of hiring wastes your time and money because you will not have developed a bond of trust with the individual.
As a home care agency, it takes considerable time to recruit. You will find that retention will not become less of an issue in your business when the organization and employees are a perfect match.
2. Keep employees informed
The worst thing that can happen to most caregivers is to be ignored or kept out of the loop on decisions that affect them, and not be aware of the company’s activities. Regular updates when significant changes occur, or developments on new projects, investments, or new clients, make the caregiver feel engaged and to identify as a part of the company. Learning in the newspapers or on the news that things have changed without being informed beforehand is harmful, especially with the modern generation, which places great importance on transparency and self-information with social networks and accessible news.
3. Career and training opportunities
Enable your caregivers with opportunities to improve their current skills and to learn new ones. Turn your agency into a place that will allow them to develop and obtain further training. Providing better staff training opportunities makes it more likely that employees will want to stay with the company and grow with it.
In addition to training, career opportunities are significant. Your home care agency should offer employees the chance to access new positions during their careers. Ambitious people should feel that they will complete their desired career path in your company within an acceptable time frame.
4. Encourage employees to provide feedback
Another free and effective way to retain employees is to encourage them to give feedback on their work, patient interactions and colleagues. If they feel comfortable, they will be able to raise questions or identify issues that would require resolution on your part. Managers do not see everything that is happening in the company, and the employees are your eyes.
Give your employees the chance to express themselves in different ways: group meetings, personal meetings, anonymous messages, 360 reviews, etc.
Having said that, it is not always easy to obtain a 100% transparent, objective overview into what is happening within clients’ homes, and in the caregiver-client interaction. A caregiver who is facing hardship might sometimes be reluctant to admit it, causing him further frustration, and denying you the ability to better your workforce’s experiences. This is where technology can help, giving you better insight without having to depend on feedback from your caregivers / clients.
5. Have their back, ensure their wellbeing, and recognize caregivers for their hard work
Caregiving is one of the hardest, most emotionally and physically draining jobs out there. Rewarding caregivers for their hard work is one way to improve caregiver satisfaction and retention. Caregivers often face hardship from their care-recipient, such as care resistance, offensive behavior, false accusations and even abusive actions towards the caregivers. As an agency, it is your duty to make sure they are safe, and are working in an environment that both protects and appreciates them. Taking a moment to acknowledge remarkable care can go a long way, It makes them feel appreciated that their employer and supervisors notice their hard work and are thankful for it. Caregivers who feel that their agency cares about them too, and that are treated with gratitude and rewarded for their hard work tend to remain loyal to their agency.
Sensi AI is one of the most reliable solutions available for increasing caregiver retention. This solution identifies when your caregivers are facing hardship in their day to day, and recognizes exceptional care moments, allowing agency owners to recognize the efforts of their employees.
It can also be used to customize training to equip caregivers with the best skills for the job. Sensi AI can also detect if a care recipient is disrespectful or abusive towards the caregiver or whether he/she is trying to blame them for something they did not do.
It helps protect and provide a safe and nurturing environment for the caregiver to reduce high attrition risk.
6. Keep employees engaged
Engaging your Caregivers has its share of benefits from an employer’s point of view. They will be more productive and engaged with your business. Commitment is essential so that employees feel the need to perform and bring projects to fruition as if they were responsible for the company’s success.
Here are some ways to increase employee engagement:
- Share the vision, brand, and mission of the agency
- Employee-employer communication is continuously encouraged to understand how they are doing and how the company is doing
Caring for vulnerable populations is truly a calling, and with changing global demographics, homecare agencies will be needed now more than ever, in the post-Covid-19 world. Liability exposure can deter a potential agency owner from opening such a business, or derail years of good care and agency reputation that an experienced agency owner has built. The best defense against these risks is not a great legal team, but rather foresight and tools that prevent unwanted eventualities from occurring, and allow homecare agencies to do what they do best – provide attentive and competent care to our nation’s aging population..