caregiver training and engagement2020 was supposed to be the year of caregiver engagement at Gere Consulting. Well, 2020 had different plans for us. Despite the COVID pandemic, caregiver training and engagement remains an important topic. Agencies that are set to grow know it. They are fostering engagement from day 1 with a solid digital orientation. 

Orientation of new caregivers is focused on two aspects:

  1. Compliance (aka “HR paperwork”) 
  2. Initial caregiver training so caregivers can be successful from their first visit in the home. 

More than ever, caregiver orientation is an important step in the employment journey to build early engagement. How can you make yours come to life in a digital format?

In the old world (before COVID), newly hired caregivers would spend three to five hours sitting in your office filling out administrative paperwork. This was tedious and time consuming for your staff. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

The pandemic has us rethinking many of our in-person interactions. Most of my home care clients had an electronic on-boarding before March 2020. The pandemic is forcing others to look at ways to leverage digital onboarding and making their business more efficient in the process.

Here’s what I have learned on how to move from in-person to a digital on-boarding:


Step 1 – Map Out Your Caregiver Orientation Journey

The first order of business is to map out your current orientation process:

  • What forms does a new hire need to fill in and in what order? This is the compliance piece.
  • Which internal policies are really important to showcase? This is the culture training element.
  • What skills are required to be successful on day one in the job? This is the start of caregiver training.


Step 2 – Choose Your Caregiver Orientation Platform

Once you have your journey outlined, forms and videos can be uploaded on a digital platform. Your scheduling software or payroll platform might offer the basic functionality for a digital orientation. Check it out before investing in a specific on-boarding platform.

My favorite option is to use a Human Resources Information System (HRIS). Although it can be expensive, it’s really an investment in workforce management. HRIS platforms offer much more than digital orientation. It’s where you can house all employee data throughout the employment life cycle, from recruitment to termination.


Step 3 – Keep A Human Touch in Caregiver Orientation

Senior care is a people business. For many agencies, the thought of recruiting caregivers in a 100% digital environment doesn’t feel right. I tend to agree. Consider adding a personal interaction to the online orientation. This can be a call between new hires and a member of the office team. The goal is to discuss what was learned online and how it applies on the job. These calls offer an opportunity to interact live with new caregivers.

Your agency may elect to bring new hires in the office for a brief one-on-one skills evaluation, provide the uniform, badge, PPE, and meet (in a socially distant manner) the key people in the office. Think about creating a “whoa” factor with a well-choreographed visit to minimize exposure and yet maximize impact. 

In a nutshell, caregiver orientation is the start of the employment journey. It sets the tone for the employment relationship. With a professional, well-designed digital orientation your agency showcases its best self. It creates a “whoa” factor with new caregivers and starts with a positive engagement from the start.

If you have followed me for a while, you know that on-boarding is more than orientation. Agencies that make a first great impression have a professional orientation process and on-boarding that rocks. In turn, they create early engagement and experience lower turnover rates for their caregivers. Check out this video I recorded a couple of years ago with my friends at Hurricane Marketing. It explains  the recruitment process (good refresher!) and concludes that a good on-boarding extends beyond orientation!

For previous articles in the Caregiver Engagement series, check out the articles on caregiver recognition and communication with all employees