Building a staff of quality caregivers is central to the success of your agency. Your caregivers are the front line of your business. They are the ones who are taking care of your clients. As such they are the face of your agency. However, staffing a roster of quality caregivers isn’t as easy as one might expect. According to the 2014 Private Duty Benchmarking Study by Home Care Pulse, the median caregiver turnover rate for an agency is 53.2%. That means in the course of the year over half of an agency’s caregivers will either quit or be fired. With such high turnover, it is doubly important to not only develop quality caregivers, but have systems in place to retain those quality caregivers. Here are 5 suggestions on how to boost caregiver retention for your home care agency.
1. Increase Caregiver Wages
According to the 2014 Private Duty Benchmarking Study by Home Care Pulse, agencies are paying their caregivers an average wage of $9.50-$10.50, depending on the credentials of the caregiver. There is definitely a variety of ways to approach the notion of paying your caregivers more. You could start them at a lower rate and promise higher than usual raises for performance or time employed. You could pay them a higher than usual wage out of the gate. Something to keep in mind is that there should never be a low ceiling on wages when it comes to hard, quality work. The monetary incentive to perform should not be an exhaustible resource. Continue to offer your caregivers opportunities to raise their income when they help to grow yours.
2. Team, Support, and Mentoring
When an employee can be confident that their agency will support them in tough situations, they’ll be much more likely to identify with their current job and co-workers. Have a plan in place for your caregivers in the event that a long time client (that they’ve been working for) passes away. This is a big change for caregivers. It could be a very emotional time for them. Schedule some time to talk about it with them, make sure they’re aware of the supporting resources available to them. They’re likely to see fewer hours, or a new client with a much different personality.Make sure they’re ready to return to work, and that they have hours when they are ready.
Another option for you to be able to reinforce punctuality and good behavior is to formalize a demerit and/or point system.
3. Tools to Do a Better Job
This goes for everyone in your agency, from administrative staff to caregivers. Even yourself! Having the right tools to be most efficient is critical to succeeding in home care. The age of caregiver scheduling using spreadsheets is coming closer to its demise. Using dedicated home care software is quickly turning into a necessity for agencies to do efficient caregiver scheduling. It’s pretty simple, if you give caregivers and staff the tools to make their job easier, your job becomes easier. With the onset of more stringent regulations, it’s becoming increasingly crucial for caregivers to be connected to the agency. Daily shift logs need to be more comprehensive, timesheets need to be more accurate, and data needs to be more secure. Tour our site to learn how Rosemark’s robust caregiver software tools are continually adapting to meet the evolving needs of home care agencies.
Money isn’t the only way to make your caregivers feel like their work is appreciated. If you keep an open line of communication with all of your clients, they’ll tell you when they were wowed by the service provided by one of your caregivers. When you get reviews like this, you should post them somewhere that everyone can see. Maybe keep a “You’re Super!” board, full of positive client experiences. You could even post these testimonials on your website, without posting the name of the client.
5. Offer Benefits
Benefits can be a major factor in retaining your quality caregivers. Making your caregivers feel appreciated for all of the important work they do goes a long way in keeping them with your agency. According to the 2014 Private Duty Benchmarking Study by Home Care Pulse, caregiver turnover was 61.3% for agencies that didn’t offer any kind of benefits to their caregivers. That’s 8% higher than the median average! Now, I realize that it might not be feasible to offer full medical and dental to all of your caregivers, but things such as paid vacations or sick leave can prove to your caregivers that you value the work they do, and it could lead to them sticking with you for the long run.
Implementing these 5 suggestions into the management of your workforce could go a long way towards building a strong, reliable caregiver staff. You could also implement a caregiver incentive program that would reward your caregivers for going above and beyond. Maybe they covered an extra shift, or maybe they received compliments from their clients. Rewarding caregivers for their outstanding work could go a long way in making them feel appreciated.