The best way to recruit top-notch caregivers and decrease turnover is to create what Home Care consultant Stephen Tweed calls a culture of attraction and then project that in your employer brand. I recommend you focus on the 3 Ps outlined by The Muse, a talent development agency:
- People: Your team spirit.
- Path: Opportunities for advancement. The ways you support your staff to grow professionally.
- Purpose: Your commitment to best practices and the powerful impact employees make on clients’ lives.
In the last post we looked at People and simple ways to celebrate your staff and build a feeling of community and pride.
This blogpost is about the next P: Path.
Everyone wants to be proud of their work and their profession.While there isn’t always a direct ladder for advancement in home care, there certainly is plenty of room for pride in one’s knowledge and skill. I personally dislike the term “nonskilled” when referring to nonmedical home care support. It takes a lot of interpersonal skill to work with clients, to assist while empowering, to project warmth and security in a vulnerable moment. And even to find empathy and patience when a client is having a bad day and being unkind.
Provide opportunities for learning
One way to demonstrate respect for your caregivers’ professionalism is to provide opportunities to expand their knowledge. It doesn’t have to be college-based.
- Inservices: online or in person
- Professional growth newsletters: Enclose them with the paycheck. As an added plus, highlight that month’s Caregiver of the Month in the employee newsletter.
- Light contests or quizzes: Provide a simple true/false quiz on topics of interest (perhaps from your professional growth newsletter) and give points. Post the names of everyone who got a perfect score on the last quiz. Celebrate those who reach 100 points over time, rewarding longevity AND commitment to learning.
Target your recruitment to the ambitious
While home care in and of itself may not have an internal ladder of advancement, it certainly offers opportunities for nursing students to work part- or full-time while they go to school. Nursing students are investing in a career of caring. They ultimately may be focused on hospital nursing or an advanced practice degree. Nevertheless, they are drawn to medicine for a reason and it usually includes compassion for the frail and a genuine desire to help. What’s not to love about that in a caregiver?
These stellar student employees need flexibility in their scheduling so when the school term changes, they can keep their jobs but massage the hours to fit with their new class load or hospital rotations. They will likely move on once they graduate. But if you focus on speaking at nursing schools and making it clear that you offer flexible scheduling to support those who want to get ahead—including those on your staff who decide to go for higher education—you will get workers with a higher commitment and a drive to succeed. And if you get them early in their schooling, they may stay for a couple of years. Two years is three times better than the national average of a 67% staff turnover each year.
It’s about respect
There is no doubt that caregivers have a rough road. The pay is not lucrative and the market cannot bear a higher rate. What you do have the ability to do, however, is create a culture of excellence. If it’s only about money—if it’s a job alone, a means to an end—your staff will flee as soon as a competitor offers a better wage. If you can build respect into the position, teamwork into your culture, and pride in the work, then you are offering something much more than the average. Something that is more difficult to leave behind.
Tools to help with the 3 Ps:
As social entrepreneurs, we at Elder Pages Online are committed to looking at the research and finding ways to help eldercare professionals solve the caregiver crisis through
- social media posting;
- newsletters and e-newsletters;
- collecting and publishing tools for Caregiver of the Month;
- weekly blogposts based on current research;
- fun quizzes to cultivate pride in learning.
If you are ready to explore tools for a culture of attraction, give us a call at 707-477-0700 (Pacific time) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.