November is National Home Care & Hospice Month, and CareAcademy honors the contributions of direct care workers (DCWs) and the value they bring to their clients and families. These heroic caregivers play a central role in our healthcare system and in homes across the nation.
As of 2020, the direct care workforce is now larger than any single occupation in the U.S. And, of that 4.6 million-strong workforce, over half are home care workers, providing services directly in the home. This groundswell in the demand for home care workers means that if home care agencies can play their cards right, there is serious potential to scale their businesses as the demand for home care workers continues to grow exponentially.
One of the cards home care agencies rarely realize they are holding, is their relationship to training and certifications.
Home care certifications: recognition provided by an accrediting body that confirms a caregiver has completed necessary training requirements to provide competent care in the home. Accrediting bodies can be national, regional, state departments, or associations. Certifications are sometimes mandated by state requirements but not necessarily.
As demand for home care workers grows, so will competition among agencies racing to meet that need. Guaranteeing the skill and professionalism of care providers within your organization will become a critical way to set your agency apart from the competition. Savvy home care agencies can leverage the training and certifications their providers carry to communicate this skill and professionalism to potential clients to win new business.
Using Training to Win New Business
Direct care work, and particularly home care work, is intimate: When someone considers hiring direct care workers to support themselves or a loved one, they are bringing a stranger into their home and lives to provide often life-sustaining care. For this reason, a home care agency’s ability to demonstrate competency and empathy are critical deciding factors for winning and retaining the trust (and business) of their clients.
A client’s decision to entrust your agency with the care of a loved one becomes easier when they are confident their loved one is receiving care from professionals with the necessary skills & competencies to provide empathetic and quality care. However, most direct care workers are performing this critical service with little or no formal training.
Home care agencies who provide training and additional certification stand to capitalize on a huge differentiating factor for the market. Imagine being able to tell prospective clients that the care they can expect from your staff is provided by caregivers who have more training in hard and soft skills than your competition. Home care agencies can set themselves apart by infusing the ethos of training and certification across their businesses, from operations to sales and marketing.
Leverage Training to Attract and Retain Caregivers
Scaling your home care business isn’t just about attracting new clients. The success of your home care agency hinges just as much (if not more) on your ability to recruit and retain caregivers in an industry with a median turn over rate of 64.3%.
As the demand for direct care workers grows, home care agencies need to address the needs of the caregivers within their organizations--and those caregivers recognize the importance of training opportunities. In fact, recent research shows that “little or no training” is a top reason caregivers decided to leave their place of employment.
Home care agencies can position themselves for growth by going above and beyond what is required for state certification, and providing caregivers access to training that keeps them, and patients safer. Additionally, training and certification opportunities can help caregivers see an attractive path to growth within your agency, helping you retain the most motivated and career oriented caregivers.
Communicating the Strength of Your Program
Training and certification are powerful tools to differentiate your home care agency in the eyes of both clients and caregivers. Once these opportunities are in place, agencies must also be able to communicate these strengths effectively to multiple audiences. In other words, don’t stop at providing training and certifications to your caregivers, emphasize these opportunities in your marketing to both clients and potential employees.
Try these ideas to infusing training and certification into your marketing throughout the funnel:
- Highlight trainings on your website and social media platforms
- Include training statistics and certifications held by caregivers in your sales decks
- Create testimonial graphics that feature caregivers and note their specialized training and experience
- Center the training and growth opportunities your agency offers in specialized materials for hiring events
Build email campaigns that spotlight the COVID-19 specific training your caregivers receive
Training and certifications don’t just improve the quality of care your clients receive, they provide a powerful vehicle for your agency’s growth. Your home care agency’s training and certification offerings can help you attract and retain both clients and caregivers to effectively scale your business.