If you look around your agency you will probably agree that your best employees are your most engaged employees. They are the ones who look forward to coming to work in the morning, feel liked, and respected.
Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction
Employee engagement is often confused with employee satisfaction. Satisfaction refers to how happy employees are regardless of job performance. Engagement is different from satisfaction. It is a form of emotional commitment the employee feels towards the organization and its goals. Engagement is measured by the amount of discretionary effort an employee expends on behalf of the organization.
In short, engaged employees are those who go above and beyond without being asked. Employee engagement in home care has a significant impact on client satisfaction, quality of care, and outcomes.
What Fosters Employee Engagement?
Engagement is formed through mutual trust. It is an implicit commitment to transparency, fairness, and open communication between employees and the organization. Making a verbal commitment to transparency, fairness and open communication are goodwill gestures but are not enough. Living those values in our daily interactions with employees is what creates engagement with employees.
Caregiver Mentoring Your First Engagement Tool
For years, I have advocated at conferences and with my clients for caregiver mentoring in home care. I have written many articles: from making the business case for mentoring to tips to get you started on caregiver mentoring.
Caregiver mentoring is a tool of choice in your management toolbox to manifest your agency’s commitment to taking care of the caregivers. Having a mentoring program for new hires is the best first step to build trust with caregivers joining your agency.
Focus on Engagement During the First 90 Days with Mentoring
We know that the first 90 days are critical to retention. If you can get new caregivers “hooked” during that time, you will not only reduce your turnover, you will also create a more engaged workforce.
Mentoring engages caregivers right from the start. A solid onboarding should last 90 days, well beyond the Orientation session. With a mentor, new caregivers can get the guidance and support they need to succeed at work and with the clients. Having a mentoring program creates a very positive (and sometimes unique) first impression. New caregivers feel welcomed and engaged from the moment they walk through the door. It fulfills the promise of open communication required for engagement.
The first step in launching a mentoring program is to identify caregiver mentors. New Hires shadow them as part of their on-boarding. Mentors can demonstrate care protocols, answer questions, and introduce caregivers to other staff members. Mentors accelerate the process of new employees becoming self-sufficient and successful with clients.
Mentors also help avoid overwhelming new employees. “Being alone and taking care of a senior with multiple health conditions can be overwhelming, says Steve “The Hurricane” Weiss. Most caregivers have limited education and we expect a lot from them. No wonder they quit because we don’t equip them to be successful.”
For more on how to implement a caregiver mentoring program for your agency, grab the Caregiver Mentoring Bundle with two checklists and a video to help you get started.
Instituting a mentor program is like having a proactive support line. Mentors play a key role in engaging new caregivers from day one. The relationship can last beyond the first 90 days. When done right, mentoring is the first step in a long employment relationship between your agency and caregivers.