From the 2018 HCAOA Conference: R.I.S.E. Above the Caregiver Shortage

Caregiver turnover is arguably the most common theme among all home care and home health care conferences. But the problem of caregiver shortages is not going to go away anytime soon with not much relief in sight. We know that home care agency owners are feeling this way, but some are making changes, moving ahead and creating tools to give agencies a push in the right direction, and succeeding!

Leigh Davis, owner of Davis+Delany, is one such owner. Davis bills himself on Linkedin as “The Mad Scientist of Home Care Uses His Own Agency As His “Lab” to develop the latest caregiver and long term growth systems”. He presented an extremely relatable presentation, speaking on the generational differences between the older and younger people in the caregiving field and most importantly, the work ethic variation related to the generational differences. The millennial (defined as a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century) workforce is in full effect and, he suggests, the high turnover rate for caregivers is a direct impacted of this. He explains this a bit further.

While not ALL Millennials behave in a way that negatively impacts the caregiver turnover rate, there is a clear indication that the upbringing of this particular group of young adults leads to a desire to enjoy and benefit from their work. They aren’t just working to pay their bills, they are looking for a job they can look forward to and feel valued in – every single day.

Davis offers his ideas to address what can the agency do about this. He has created, what he calls, the R.I.S.E system. Let’s break that down.

R – Recognition

Reward (recognition) can be given in many ways, whether it’s a physical notice of achievement or even something as simple as a text congratulating them on a piece of positive feedback from a customer, for example. Any extra energy put into providing recognition for your caregivers will give them more drive to do their best and make them feel that they are doing something worthwhile. Positivity feeds positivity!

I – Inspire

The inspiration factor points more towards changes the agency can do for themselves in order for caregivers to see you in a different light and place you head and shoulders above your competition. What can you do to make your caregivers or potential caregivers look at you and think ‘I want to work there’? Leigh suggested an option to create and have available, a unique welcome sign located in front of a parking space for applicant caregiver or new employees coming into the office for the first time.

S – Support

Support can also be viewed in several ways, ranging from monetary to mental and everything in between. Having a clear system for PTO and a health insurance schedule are sure to create a positive buzz in the workforce. Setting up a system that allows for review bonuses could create even more incentive for caregivers to remain in their current positions. Open communication is key, showing your caregivers that you are there for them.

E – Education

The educational support varies a bit more. There are several programs out there allowing agencies to access and then enroll caregivers in CEU credits, propelling them into potentially higher paying positions and increasing their own views on self worth.

The author’s opinion is that some of these options are quite costly, but as you grow your agency and your revenue and or margins increase, there could be room to invest in your staff in more creative ways. Some would argue that it is a chicken or egg situation. Do you invest in your staff to grow your agency or is it best to wait to invest in your staff once you have grown your agency to a certain revenue? Our experience would suggest that it is both. Spend time trying to understand the generational differences in your staff then, make incremental changes to create the culture that you want and that nurtures your employees and clients as you grow. I believe that this is the way to go. Tell us what you think in the comments, or what you’re currently doing to connect with this growing demographic.


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