I recently attended a very insightful webinar on home care worker retention, where compelling evidence was shared for the reasons why home care workers leave before 30, 60, and 90 days.
To keep workers from leaving, home care owners are hearing from many sides that they need to increase wages and benefits, incentivize retention with bonuses, invest in online training, and more. It is no wonder home care owners are stressed and turnover rates exceed 50% in those first 90 days.
But what was most interesting to learn was that the reasons they leave before the first 90 days go deeper than the tangible items like pay and benefits.
Home Care Pulse reported the number one reason caregivers leave is due to lack of communication. Caregivers want their management team to demonstrate in deeds and words, they are valued. They want to be informed, supported, and recognized.
So what can you do to make them stay?
We put together a list of strategies focused on what matters most to caregivers with a focus on making an impact in the first 30 days. Why wait until 60 or 90 days to show your support? After all, it is the first impression that has a lasting impact.
How to make those first 30 days count for your new hires:
Make a great first impression and begin the onboarding before they start. Let them know how excited you are to have them join the team with a welcome message that includes some team photos or a short video. Reinforce that signing the offer was the right choice for them.
One of the key reasons why caregivers leave in the first 30-90 days is onboarding is too slow. So yes, they need to be prepared, but getting that first shift booked and on their calendar, will demonstrate that you understand their need to be productive and earning a wage. This is your way to demonstrate that they can count on you and will instill trust.
Success is not only having what they need to feel ready, but confident when they walk up to a door the first time. Ensure they know the small personal details that can make a big difference to the client. For example, is the client a military veteran who prefers to follow a strict routine? Did he or she have a treasured pet whose photos have a calming effect? The more a caregiver knows about a person, the better they can care for them, which will result in a more rewarding experience for both your client and your caregivers.
Commit to conducting regular check-ins with all new hires, especially in the first few weeks when their needs are higher and confidence lower. These touchpoints can range from a scheduled call to a simple message of encouragement. More frequent and open communication enhances productivity, aids in development, and builds trust between the caregiver and their manager.
Providing a mentor for new hires has proven to reduce caregiver turnover by 97%. Assign one of your experienced and trusted caregivers to fill this role. They are in the best position to understand and address the needs of these new caregivers and they get recognized for their expertise and a career development opportunity.
If you are concerned about resources to staff this program, just start with a pilot approach with one or two new hires. Be sure to measure if the time to productivity decreases and the rate of turnover decreases - 2 key outcomes to expect.
The role of a caregiver is solitary by nature and can leave some feeling disconnected from the team and your organization's vision. In-person meetings are a great way to connect, but with a distributed workforce, and a global pandemic, you need to embrace technology as an enabler for team communication and relationship building.
Use dedicated technology that the whole team can join to ask questions, share their knowledge, and access resources. Don't make it all about work, allow for social banter and activities. When people feel that they are connected to others who understand their role, there is a greater sense of belonging and another reason to keep them coming to work each day.
The act of caring for some else is noble and deserves to be recognized. It does not need to be costly. In-the-moment feedback that acknowledges and celebrates specific examples of exceptional work can mean the difference between your caregivers staying and leaving.
Did you know that receiving 5 recognition moments in a year reduces turnover from 15 to 7%? With 12 moments, it drops to 2%. At the end of the day, people want to feel valued in the job they do, and what better way to do this than letting them know they matter and what they do matters.
Scale your retention initiatives with the right tools
Most home care owners would agree, time is of the essence. So, if you looked at this list and wondered how do you find time to implement these strategies when you have more than a few new hires? How do you scale this from one to many?
The short answer is technology. Whether you have 50 or 200 staff, all of these initiatives can scale with the support of the right technology partner. One that understands the needs of a home care business and its caregivers.
SparxConnect is an easy-to-use communication and engagement platform designed to provide home care offices and frontline staff with an even better way to stay connected. With SparxConnect, the whole team can come together in a single destination to share tips, ask questions and support one another. Those who manage can connect one-to-one with staff to provide in-the-moment coaching and recognition to ensure they are confident in their abilities to deliver exceptional care.
Interested in learning how SparxConnect can support your retention efforts? Let's talk.
About the author: Cathy Brown
Cathy is a previous home care franchise owner who is delighted to bring over 25 years’ experience in elder care, business management, and client relations to future customers of SparxConnect. She knows first-hand what it takes to manage a busy home care business while empowering caregivers to deliver exceptional care. She will also be the first to tell you that she wishes she had a tool like SparxConnnect when she was running her business.