home care benefitsProfessional caregivers have many choices of employment. Because the good ones know their value, they look for the best employer in town. Gone are the days when caregivers would take the first job offered to them. In turn, home care agencies need to look at what it takes to be an employer of choice. Money is definitely part of this picture but well-reasoned investments in other benefits are your best chance at creating the right package.

Alongside finding qualified caregivers, reducing turnover is now a focus in home care. Although retention requires a multi-prong approach, money is important to caregivers who are low wage workers.

The very first thing candidates want to know is “how much are you paying?” To be seen as a “player”, make sure your wages are competitive today. Wages that were leading the market last year could well be below par in 2017. The wage market is moving upwards. And you know that even a small difference in wage will attract caregivers to the highest bidder.

Allowing for some overtime is also a way to put money in the pocket of your caregivers. Agencies owners see overtime as a negative because it often reflects poor scheduling and attendance problems. It also clearly increases the cost of care. However, some caregivers want to have the opportunity to work more hours and earn overtime pay. In a context of caregiver shortage, overtime is a tool to support your operations. Identify your top caregivers who want more hours and make sure the scheduler knows to call on them first. Use overtime as a reward for your best workers who want more hours.

Tom Knox, CEO of Senior Corp, refers to the “employer mix.” By developing their unique mix of pay, benefits and work hours, agencies can position themselves as an employer of choice without breaking the bank. It clearly takes rethinking the operations and eliminating cost, such as high turnover, to re-invest in the existing workforce says Tom. 

Employee benefits should also be part of your pay mix for caregivers. It’s indirect compensation. Even small agencies can offer health insurance and paid time off. Smart business owners know these help attract professional caregivers. Offering health insurance makes caregiving an option for workers who might not have considered it otherwise.

Position yourself as an employer of choice by providing a paid time off (PTO) to caregivers, not just office staff. Seven states and Washington D.C. currently require paid sick leave. California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island require for paid family leave. New York will require it next year.  Many more states are considered paid leave legislation.

So stay ahead of the trend! Start small with a few days of PTO. Make sure your PTO policy is prominently advertised when recruiting, especially if you are in a state that doesn’t mandate it yet.

A well-thought-out employee benefit package isn’t only a tool to attract professional caregivers. It’s primarily a way to retain your best employees. For example, a good PTO policy helps employees manage work and life a little easier. See if you get fewer “no calls no shows.”