What’s up, everybody? It’s Steve “The Hurricane” here, and for today’s episode of “A Drink With The Hurricane,” I’m gonna share four ways that you can help to retain your caregivers. So, raise your glass, and let’s toast to your success. Cheers.
This is “A Drink With The hurricane,” the talk show discussing all things growing your home care business. This video is sponsored by Home Care Evolution, where we help home care agencies adapt to changing circumstances, transform their business so that they can thrive for years to come.
Caregivers. Everything is about caregivers. We can’t get enough of them, and we don’t have enough ways to keep them working for us. We spend tens of thousands of dollars every year, getting caregivers. And so, we must make sure that if we’re spending that kind of resources on getting caregivers, that we’re doing everything we can to keep them working for us.
So, the first thing that we can do to increase our retention of caregivers is to recognize them. Recognize, recognize, recognize. Now, every single person likes to be recognized in a different way. Some people like public recognition. This is where you can have them come into the office, they could be the caregiver of the month, for example, they receive a bonus, you take a picture of them, you put it out on your social media, you send it out in your newsletter, you text all of your caregivers that Jenny is the caregiver of the month. That’s a great way of doing it.
Other ways of doing recognition is in a more professional, quiet one-on-one setting. You have a caregiver who’s taken a couple of shifts last minute to help you out, and pulled some overtime. Yes, they’re getting overtime, but show up at that house when they’re working a shift, come by with a gift card for gasoline, a gift card to the supermarket, a gift card to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, or something that you think they will appreciate. And just be like, “Hey, Lisa, I wanna say thank you for taking these shifts last minute. I know you don’t have to do this. I know that you love doing what you do, but I really appreciate you. Here’s a little something from me to you, extra above and beyond, just thanking you and recognizing you for what you’ve done.” That little recognition, $25 gift card, will mean the world to a caregiver, because let’s face it, caregivers don’t make a lot of money. We know this. They’re never gonna be rich, all right? Why are they caregivers? Because they care about other people. You taking the time to show you care about them, that is gonna help to retain your caregivers.
The second thing you can do, and I’m gonna say this is the most important one, is to set your business up where you can give your caregivers a livable work-life schedule. Because I think the biggest issue, the number one issue and complaint that caregivers have is they complain that they have inconsistent hours, meaning we’re trying to piece together 40 hours for this caregiver, so they’re working eight hours from 11 o’clock at night to 7 o’clock in the morning on one day, then they’re working from nine o’clock to five o’clock two other days, then they have Thursday and Friday off, then they gotta work Saturday and Sunday for 10 hours each day, and that gives them 36 hours, which is a full time schedule. And then, next week, it’s a completely different schedule. It sets it up so that it becomes impossible to have a work-life balance. Our caregivers are human beings, just like you and me. Some of our caregivers are married. Some of our caregivers have children. All of our caregivers have other responsibilities besides work. They’re not living so that they can work, they work so that they can live.
So, set up schedules. How do you do schedules? You set it up by having minimums. When you’re selling to your clients, you sell them a 20 hour shift. A 20 hour shift could be eight o’clock in the morning to 12 noon, a one hour break in the middle for lunch and travel time, and then another shift that starts at one o’clock to five o’clock. That is a workable shift. That’s 40 hours Monday through Friday, and that’s easy for you to be able to retain your caregivers, because when one client cancels, you sell another client on the same hours, and you plug and play. It helps you to retain your caregivers, it gives them the work-life balance that they know their schedule week to week, which means they’re more likely to want to stay with you and continue working for you because they have the balance. This is by far the, again, it’s the number one complaint of caregivers, but it’s also the number one way for you to be able to retain your caregivers. Set up manageable schedules when you’re selling to your clients, and give your caregivers a schedule that they can build their life around.
The next thing that you can do, the third thing, is pay your caregivers based on experience. Now, I know a lot of people have a hard time with this because you like to have one flat rate, and you like to pay caregivers the same amount of money. But when you look at any profession, no matter what it is, when somebody is brand new starting out, versus somebody five or more years in that field, the person brand new starting out always and should, rightfully so, make less money than the person who’s been at the same position for five years. Experience is worth paying more money. This also will allow you justification to charge more money for services because you’re paying caregivers more money based on their experience.
This is something that I did regularly with my agency back in the day that I had. I would have a client who was medically complex, who was bed-bound with dementia/Alzheimer’s, and had a whole slew of other conditions that require a very specific type of caregiver. I would talk to that family and say, “Listen, I can’t just send anybody here. I need somebody who’s got three or four years experience to take care of your mother. In order for me to do that, I have to charge you more than our base rate.” And you know what the family said to me? They said to me, “Steve, we understand. That makes sense. Can you take care of my mom? Can you keep her home? If you can do that, whatever it is, we’ll pay for it.” That’s all I need to know. And then, I would send my caregiver in, who had five years, 10 years experience, who was making $4 or $5 an hour more than what my base caregiver was making. But this is how you retain your caregivers.
Now, in order to do that, you need to have an abundance of referrals coming in. That’s the key. I want you to write this down. I say this all the time: referrals equals freedom. The more referrals you have coming into your business, the more freedom you have to do all the things that I’m teaching you on how to run your business. For tips on that, make sure that you are registered to receive my magazine. This is a free publication. You can access the digital version for free: homecareevolution.com\magazine, and you can receive the new issue every quarter, and you can download all of the previous issues. Tips on marketing, tips on operations, tips on recruitment and retention, tips on scaling and growing your business so that you can do things that I’m talking about, like hire experienced caregivers and pay them more money.
The fourth and final thing that you can do to retain your caregivers is to build out a career path for your caregivers. Yes, not every caregiver should be able to advance in your company, because they’re not the right person. Yes, not every caregiver wants advancement. Many people are very happy being a caregiver. However, by having a career path that you are literally talking about from the interview, through orientation, through them onboarding and starting a case, and when you’re going out there and you’re doing your field visits all the way through to the day that they get promoted, this will help you to attract caregivers that are upwardly mobile. This will help you to attract the best of the best caregivers. People with experience will leave a job where they’re not getting promoted to come work for a company that promotes from within. By having a career path, this gives you just another way to recognize top performing success and advancement.
I will tell you right now, many of the members of my Home Care Elite Academy have schedulers and recruiters who, at some point in time in the past, started out as a caregiver. I even have a couple of members who have executive directors and marketing reps who started out as caregivers. So, don’t be afraid to promote a caregiver. What I find when you have caregivers who get promoted eventually to office staff positions, they can get your caregivers to work for you in ways that you never could. And caregivers will want to work for your company because they realize you mean, “I don’t have to be a caregiver for the rest of my life. There’s a chance for me to advance here,” that’s how you attract and retain talent. And caregivers, yes, they are talent.
So, if you need help growing your business, if you like what I’m saying here but you still need more assistance, if you need help in any areas of growing your home care agency, do the right thing. Pick up the phone, give us a call, and let us help you blow away the competition.