Several trends are coming together regarding the home care labor force:
- The competition for caregivers and even for talented office staff is increasing.
- Disengagement among employees is a pressing issue across all industries and home care is not immune to it.
- Millennials now represent the majority of the workforce and want to change the way organizations structure the work environment.
Home care agencies need to reduce turnover. Focusing on employee engagement is a starting point to improve caregiver retention. Less than one-third of millennial workers feel connected to their job, according to Gallup which has reported on the state of workplace engagement for years. More worrisome for the future, millennials lead the pack as the least engaged generation.
Addressing disengagement requires all hands on deck. In the past, employee engagement was seen as the responsibility of human resources, even though engagement is mostly the result of what happens (or doesn’t happen) at work every day. Engagement needs to be seen as a business need, NOT something we do when (if) we have time.
Commit to Employee Engagement
Four areas to consider to improve employee engagement for better business performance in home care:
- Employee recognition based on management recognition AND peer and social recognition. Research shows recognition can increase engagement by 20%. But recognition alone won’t cut it. It needs to be coupled with other programs for best results.
- Communicating with every employee regularly is essential. Although it might be difficult to reach front-line employees like caregivers, these workers play a critical role in your agency’s success. Technology is one solution for better engagement, but active and formal outreach through meetings and training are other avenues to include in your regular touch points.
- Improving quality of life. Enhancing employees’ quality of life in home care starts with a living wage. It should also include health and wellness programs for employees at work, at home or in the community.
- Establishing gender-balanced teams. Gender imbalance continues to exist in today’s labor force but research suggests gender diverse teams positively impacts the bottom line. In an industry dominated by female caregivers and office staff, it might time to address the gender imbalance at all levels of our agencies (leadership, office staff, caregivers).
At Gere Consulting, we will explore these trends in 2020 and share tips to address those four areas. So stay tuned for next year’s weekly newsletters!