5 Agency Growth Tips from Top Home Care Agency CEOs

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a long overdue spotlight on the field of home care, with the designation of direct care providers as part of the essential healthcare workforce. While the popularity of home care has been growing for many years, agency leaders need to put plans in place to scale quickly to meet rapidly rising demand for services.

For this edition of "Views from the C-Suite," we spoke to three leaders in the home care industry to understand how they are positioning their agencies for growth in this unique moment. Here are their tips:

1. Build virtual processes that endure beyond the pandemic

While home care isn’t virtual, home care agencies still need to develop effective virtual practices to support the efficient operations of their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

 “[The COVID-19 pandemic] meant that we needed to learn to hire in a virtual environment, train in a virtual environment, and perform minimum care assessments in a virtual environment, and then deploy care in a manner that is as safe as possible”

-   Emma Dickinson, CEO & President, Home Helpers Home Care

These virtual processes are likely here to stay: in an industry growing as rapidly as the direct and home care field, efficient virtual processes not only reduce disease transmission, they can help grow your business.

2. Connect regularly with franchisees and local markets

Many home care agencies operate under a franchise model, enabling them to meet the specialized needs of local communities and markets. While franchises operate as independent businesses, keeping your entire team connected and in communication is critical, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Especially during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, guidance was changing weekly, and it really felt like controlled chaos. We established a weekly call with our entire franchise network to help us all stay connected and on the same page, and it has resulted in record growth.”

-   Jake Brown, CEO & President, Always and Best Care

Whether your home care agency operates under a franchise model or not, establishing regular check-ins across locations and markets is critical during COVID-19 and beyond to ensure best practices are followed, and uphold your standard of care.

3. Look for soft skills rather than experience to meet the rising demand for caregivers

It is no secret to home care agencies that even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for caregivers exceeds the number of qualified direct care workers. With expected industry growth and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, experts recommend adjusting your hiring criteria from direct experience, to personal characteristics that make a great caregiver.

“We hire for soft skill characteristics like compassion, work ethic, and wanting to be part of a mission, and we can train for skill. When you find the right applicant, who has the heart to be a caregiver, we can teach the skillset one needs to successfully provide care in the home.”

-   Emma Dickinson, CEO & President, Home Helpers Home Care

“We’re all fighting for caregivers, and now the COVID-19 pandemic has created a situation where millions of people are unemployed, and many will not be going back to work where they came from. So we now have people interested in working in our field, and with zero unemployment in the industry and a need to hire 1.3 million caregivers, we need to look outside of previous experience.”

-   Peter Ross, CEO & Co-Founder, Senior Helpers

Additionally, to meet the labor needs of this unique moment, in many cases local unemployment offices are able to work directly with home care agencies. Exploring this kind of a partnership can help agencies build a pipeline of individuals looking for work, to opportunities for them to train and join the direct care and home care field.

4. Improve efficiency at each step of your hiring and onboarding process

Expanding your candidate pool addresses one aspect of the labor crisis for home care agencies, but you're hiring and onboarding processes should also be optimized to improve caregiver recruitment and retention efforts. So how can home care agencies ensure quality candidates make it through the hiring and onboarding process? Take a holistic approach:

“There is no silver bullet to get more and higher quality caregivers. You have to be good at recruiting, writing effective ads, and targeting the right sources. You also need to be excellent at scheduling meetings, interviews, and offering a seamless onboarding and training process.”

-   Jake Brown, CEO & President, Always and Best Care

Ultimately, finding the right recruitment sources as well as interview and onboarding processes can help your home care agency rapidly transition strong candidates to effective caregivers.

5. Think big when you imagine the future of home care

Home care agencies fill a critical need as the aging in place movement gains momentum, even outside of the context of COVID-19. As national attention turns to home care as essential healthcare during the pandemic, now is the time to imagine how home care fits into the future health and aging support. Savvy home care leaders envision the industry as a connection hub for community resources:

“We’ve been looking at ‘home care 2.0’ at Senior Helpers. You have to look at the entire healthcare continuum, from home care, home health, hospice, home maintenance, technology, meals--it all plays a role in what we are trying to do in the home. We’re not just looking out for your home care needs, we’re integrated with these organizations to deliver value-based bundles. We’re really looking at how we connect the dots.”

-   Peter Ross, CEO & Co-Founder, Senior Helpers

As you hire new caregivers and position your home care agency for success in coming years, ensure you broaden your view to include the effective integration of healthcare services.

Positioning your home care agency for success

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented monumental challenges for our society and the home care industry, it also has offered an opportunity to imagine how we can better care for each other, and those among us who are most vulnerable.

Hear more from Emma Dickinson, Peter Ross, and Jake Brown on how their agencies are addressing these challenges and opportunities in our full webinar, Views From The C Suite 2: Home Helpers, Always Best Care, Senior Helpers.

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