Woman on phone for employee communication with caregivers

In my April newsletter, I discussed the fact that employees who receive weekly, light-touch attention are three times more likely to be all-in at work. I also asked you – my newsletter readers – how you create meaningful connections with employees. Jennifer Olson of Freedom Home Care took the time to email me. She explained how her agency keeps in touch with staff and was excited to share what they do regarding employee communication with this community of readers.

Every year, lack of communication is one of the top complaints expressed by caregivers in the annual Benchmark Study by Home Care Pulse. Having systematic (and scheduled) touchpoints with caregivers is an important tool in your retention toolbox

At Freedom Home Care, the office staff is part of the on-call roster. Jennifer is the Director of Marketing and she’s on call about one weekend a month. Before the weekend when she is on call, she contacts the caregivers who are scheduled to work. Weekend work has a higher call-out rate than weekdays. “I want to prepare the grounds and set caregivers up for success,” she explains.  “I look at everyone’s schedule from Friday through Monday. I look at Monday because that is also a high call-out day.”

Use a Script for Employee Communication

During the call with each caregiver, Jennifer uses the following format for the conversation:

  • Build the connection by focusing on the caregiver’s unique circumstances: “How are you doing? How is school” (if they are students)? Ask questions about their family, the kids, etc.
  • She then talks about their shifts for the upcoming weekend asking if they have any questions regarding their visits (and listing them) for the weekend through Monday.
  • She asks if they have all their supplies or have any concerns about the client.
  • She offers to help them with anything that could impact their ability to get to work during the weekend.

Bi-Weekly Employee Communication

The goal is to make caregivers feel seen and put the emphasis that weekend work is valuable. The agency has a goal of having a personal touchpoint with each caregiver every other week, whether they are working on weekends or not.

Jennifer has found that by being proactive and addressing any potential issues that might come in the way of getting to the client during the weekend, there are fewer call-outs. Investing time on Thursday or Friday to call those who work on the weekend is a win all around. “It’s a win for our clients because they have their regular caregiver. It’s a win for me because I don’t spend my weekend stressed making calls to cover visits.” It’s also a win for the caregivers who get to earn money for being able to show up for their shift.

These calls are also a way to build relationships between office staff and caregivers. “Caregivers know people in the office so they feel comfortable speaking up if they have grievances.” Addressing grievances proactively is a meaningful way to show that we care about our workers which is powerful in terms of retention.

Caregiver 1:1 Meetings During The Year

In addition to the pre-weekend calls, the Scheduler has 1:1 meetings several times a year with each caregiver.  Those meetings are held either in person or via zoom. It’s an opportunity to review their schedule and how it’s working out for them. It’s also a chance to bring up whatever else they want to talk about.

All-Hands Meetings: A Part of Employee Communication

Freedom Home Care also holds annual, all-hands meetings. “We set up different meeting times to give a chance to all the caregivers to attend,” explains Jennifer. These meetings have a training component, team building, and showcasing what support the staff can provide to the caregivers. In addition to a Nurse, the agency has a Social Worker who handles care management. Everyone’s job is reviewed and explained to the caregivers.

For more on communicating with caregivers, check out my previous article where I share ideas to start (or re-start) communicating more meaningfully with your caregiver employees.