This week, let’s continue to explore our theme for the year: How to improve caregiver employee engagement in-home care. The 2019 Home Care Pulse Benchmark Study reveals the top 10 complaints from caregivers. As we focus on engaging caregivers in this new normal of working during a pandemic, it might be opportune to address the sources of dissatisfaction and create better caregiver engagement.
Here are three areas to consider (and a bonus tip!):
1. Provide Economic Stability To Caregivers
Even before the recession brought on by the COVID pandemic, caregivers have struggled to make ends meet. Not being compensated for travel time, the lack of employee benefits, and low wages are among the top 10 complaints of caregivers.
Raising hourly wages is great too but it might not be possible. However, home care agencies can alleviate some of the economic challenges experienced by caregivers by providing consistent and reliable work hours. Do you know which caregivers want to work more hours so they can make a living wage working with only one agency?
Remember, turnover has a cost. Think about how you can change your employer mix. The idea is to free resources to invest in your workforce rather than consistently pouring resources into the endless cycle of short-term recruitment.
2. Get back To Caregiver In-Service Training
Your in-service training may have been a casualty of adapting to COVID. The initial push to train and recertify workers on infection control and care for COVID patents is now behind us. While this was appropriate when the crisis was rising, it is now time to go back to your training schedule.
Caregivers want to be trained so they can provide better care for their clients. Re-launching in-service training will go a long way to show your commitment to caregiver engagement through personal development.
Also consider that your caregivers still need CEU to recertify. Work with your clinical team to establish the list of training needs and create the calendar for the rest of this year and 2021.
3. Keep Communicating With Caregivers – Engage In Different Ways
Communication was crucial this spring as we weathered the start of the pandemic. Although the focus may have shifted, communication remains critical to caregiver engagement. Use the power of videos to your advantage. One of my clients, Senior Solutions Home Care, has established a YouTube channel and posts a weekly video “The Top Five” with its CEO Kunu Kaushal where he shares agency news, priorities, and new programs with all employees.
Another client in Colorado has done personalized videos and texted them to caregivers. This is a wonderful way to provide recognition and communicate in a way that’s readily accessible to caregivers. Needless to say that the caregivers were amazed and touched by the 2-minute video created just for them!
Of course, the quality of daily communication is crucial. The relationship Schedulers and Care Managers establish with caregivers determines how engaged caregivers feel towards your agency. Coach your office staff to adopt a supportive mindset. Communication with caregivers should be positive and encouraging. Support and respect are fundamental to a positive employee experience.
Bonus – Attract “New” Caregivers To Home Care
The high level of unemployment might be a boon for your agency if you target the newly unemployed. With far too many retail, hospitality, and restaurant workers out of a job, now is the time to attract new workers to home care.
Traditionally, caregivers have cycled in and out of the industry floating between retail, food services, and hospitality jobs. Many of those “other” jobs are no longer available. Make your agency an attractive alternative. Communicate that home care jobs are “recession-proof,” make a difference in the community where we live, and provide flexible hours.
To capitalize on this idea, you will need to provide training to the new caregivers and help them transition to the world of healthcare. This is a great project to re-engage your recruitment team and clinical team into a joint effort to create the future of your agency!
Despite the current challenges, there are opportunities to re-engage your current workforce, attract new workers to home care, and build a stronger agency.
Contact me if you want my help in making it happen!