Help reduce turnover costs and increase productivity with better retention rates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for home healthcare workers will rise 41% in the next ten years. An already overwhelming caregiver shortage in the industry is likely to get even worse. More than half of home care agencies experience caregiver turnover rates of 82% and higher. With turnover that high, it’s no surprise that employee retention is a top priority for administrators.
An agency unable to keep skilled caregivers on staff suffers in both productivity and revenue. Without the available staff, agencies are being forced to turn away clients. The costs only climb as recruiting and on-boarding replacement employees can cost an average of $4,200.
Why caregivers are calling it quits
Unfortunately, the reason most caregivers enter the field (their desire to help others) often isn’t enough to outweigh the disadvantages. The median annual pay for home health aides is less than $25,000. Broken out to an hourly rate, this equates to the same - or less - than what many entry-level jobs offer. Given the immense physical and emotional stress that home care demands, low-skill occupations are attractive alternatives for many caregivers.
Besides pay, caregivers have pointed to poor management and poor work/life balance as reasons for leaving a position. Both can lead to caregiver burnout and increased turnover rates.
Promoting caregiver retention
Rethink your recruitment process
You might be scrambling to fill caregiver positions, but without a solid recruitment process, new hires could add to already high turnover rates. Hiring the right people is more crucial than ever.
Begin with your application process. Is applying to your company easy? Do caregivers have to fill out an application, or are you keeping it simple with online job boards and mobile apps? Removing barriers from the application process will help widen your applicant pool.
Consider requiring pre-employment personality screening for top candidates. These tests help predict how well a candidate will fit the team and how they might react in common work situations.
Some home care businesses find success by conducting the recruitment process out of house. Professional recruiters help weed out prospects who are ill-matched or unqualified. Recruitment agencies oversee the tedious stages of the hiring process, allowing you to focus on giving quality care.
Onboarding and training
Many caregivers resign because they feel unsupported by their agency. Show support by developing a thorough training program. Without proper training, you are setting caregivers up to fail. Even experienced caregivers need to be introduced to your company’s procedures and expectations.
Beyond the basics, be sure that caregivers have advanced training related to their day-to-day interactions with clients. For instance, when assigning an Alzheimer client, provide additional training to the caregiver on patient interaction and safety. Not only does additional training support retention, but it also helps reduce risk.
Consider increased pay & benefits
Today’s job market encourages companies to offer competitive wages and benefits to attract workers. Most home care agencies perform an ongoing balancing act between labor costs and reimbursement, so increasing pay feels impossible. But many that have opted for higher pay have seen incredible results. According to HomeCare, “Companies who have already adopted competitive wage, overtime and benefits for workers have shown a turnover reversal - with some retaining up to 90 percent of their employees.”
If you’re hesitant to increase pay, remember the high cost of turnover. Does replacing an employee cost your agency more than providing a pay raise? How much are you willing to invest in employee retention?
Another idea is to create pay incentives. Most caregivers who leave in the first year do so within the first three months. Think about adding retention bonuses to your pay structure to promote caregiver retention.
Cultivate a positive culture
Solving turnover doesn’t solely lie with wage increases. There are often other factors affecting caregiver retention. To employees working in a toxic culture, a pay raise will feel like a temporary fix for a deeper issue.
Company culture encompasses a lot, from perks to management-employee interaction, so it can feel like an overwhelming task to tackle. The easiest way to identify if your company has a culture problem is to ask. Have employees complete an exit interview when they resign.
In the meantime, foster a culture of positivity by recognizing and celebrating top caregivers. Start an employee recognition program to show your appreciation. You could even schedule team-building activities that allow caregivers to socialize and feel connected to the workplace community.
Offer continuing education opportunities
Help increase job satisfaction by supporting caregiver career goals. Besides offering tuition assistance, there are other ways to promote continuing education (CE). Ask local colleges and universities to partner with your agency to offer CE classes or create a resource database for scholarships and free seminars.
If your agency struggles with caregiver retention, you’re in good company. To keep up with the demand for care, you’ll need to separate from the pack and solve the problem. The solution might include one or more of these suggestions, but one thing is for sure - it has to make your caregivers feel valued and empowered.
Has your agency reduced caregiver churn? What ways have you increased employee retention? Let us know in the comments below.
The Glatfelter Team
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