When you own a home care agency, the most important people who work for you are the caregivers. But you may have trouble keeping caregivers on staff. In this episode of A Drink With the Hurricane, guest host Kevin discusses the importance of keeping caregivers on your staff, plus simple, cost-effective ways to achieve this.

These days, the home care agency community isn’t buzzing about some new time-saving gadget or a trendy caregiving philosophy. People everywhere – at conferences, in news articles, around the office – always seem to be talking about the caregiver shortage and what they can do to retain the caregivers that they have on staff. It’s the number-one priority of every home care agency today.

The reason why many caregivers move from job to job is because of money. There’s a lot of turnover among low-income employees in all fields, and caregivers aren’t excluded from that, unfortunately. Most businesses have tight margins, and although they may be able to offer their caregivers a raise of a dollar or two, that small boost won’t bring the workers above the poverty line, so they look for another position that will hopefully pay a little bit better.

To retain your employees, you have to think beyond raises, because caregivers receive comparable pay at most agencies in your area. An extra dollar somewhere else may not be as attractive to your caregivers as what you can offer employees with hopes of retaining them. To keep caregivers at your agency, you must appeal to their emotions.

Reward your staff
Offer incentives, rewards or small prizes to caregivers who do good things for your agency. Maybe they keep up with their education. Maybe they sign up for extra shifts when you’ve got empty spots on the schedule. Maybe they were commended by a patient’s family member for their personal touch. Whatever the reason, find a way to make your caregivers feel like they’re a part of something bigger when they’re working for your agency. The incentives that you offer don’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, you might simply offer a simple certificate, a smile and a handshake. But the recognition will go a long way toward caregiver retention.

Be grateful
Thank your caregivers for the work that they do… and don’t just save your words of thanks for the Christmas party once a year. If you can make your caregivers feel appreciated on a regular basis, that can really help with retention. People like to feel accepted and appreciated. In many home care agencies where there are 50 or 100 caregivers, it’s easy for employees to feel invisible. It’s hard for agency owners to give each worker the personal touch. But if you begin or end all of your interactions with your caregivers with words of thanks or appreciation, it can do wonders for your retention levels.

Not only that, your positive attitude may help you recruit new caregivers. With all of the upheaval in the industry, your employees are likely to have friends who are seeking new jobs. When they hear that your agency has high morale levels and the caregivers are frequently recognized for a job well done, they may choose to sign on.

Free ideas
There are any number of things that you can offer your caregivers for free to make them feel good about working for your agency. I’ll be giving a presentation about a number of low-cost or no-cost ways to retain your caregivers at the Denver Boot Camp. At the conclusion of my presentation, you’ll have several new ideas to make your caregivers stay in-house. Be sure to sign up for the Denver Boot Camp if you haven’t done so already.

Retaining caregivers is the key to any successful home care agency. You can have the best marketing in the world or the most clever knickknacks to promote your business, but if you don’t have caregivers to cover your shifts, you’ve got a problem.

Instead of losing your caregivers to your competitors, take inexpensive steps to reward, thank and appreciate your staff. You’ll retain your caregivers and Blow Away The Competition!