Career Paths for Caregivers: How Upskilling Drives Recruitment and Retention

The health care staffing crisis has destabilized home-based care providers both clinically and financially, sparking a search for innovative ways to weather the crunch.

While provider organizations are exploring a number of areas, the push for new caregiver staff is a top priority largely based on driving a greater number of applicants. In addition, providers are focused on taking a more calculated approach to caregiver retention. And for many organizations succeeding in this area both prior to the pandemic and today, this approach begins with training.

For one provider, Quincy, Massachusetts-based Best of Care Inc., this has long been a cornerstone of staffing, with a focus on training, education and upskilling. By utilizing the online training platform from CareAcademy, Best of Care is successfully providing the tools and resources needed to improve recruiting, retention and provide achievable career growth for its caregivers — particularly at a time when staffing is the leading pain point.

Flexible Growth Opportunities

Education and training are attractive to new entrants to the industry, not only from an administrative and regulatory stance, but also for caregivers working to specialize and build long-term careers. Given the circumstances, however, the limited in-person onboarding and continued education resulting from the pandemic led to alternative forms of training that continue to offer much greater flexibility, including the opportunity to be geographically agnostic, in a competitive job market.

Best of Care has leveraged CareAcademy’s platform in order to offer flexible growth opportunities upfront during the hiring process — a benefit for which many caregivers have expressed value. In fact, 94% of 1,500 caregivers surveyed by CareAcademy in late 2021 said access to further education is an important consideration in accepting a job offer.

In the near-term, short-form upskilling opportunities enable Best of Care’s staff to make an immediate impact on all stakeholders by upskilling existing staff to become certified home health aides. In addition to the HHA program, which is one specific offering, new team members have a chance to pursue continuing education and specialize in areas where they will make the greatest impact, such as dementia, fall prevention and diabetes care.

The scope of these opportunities also encompasses many types of employees — not just care workers — offering new pathways to workers outside of traditional care roles, and extending flexibility to the highest levels of the organization.

“We hand-selected a group of employees with no formal credentials who had been working for our company in housekeeping, cleaning, errands and companionship capacities, and we put them through a training program with CareAcademy. Through a combination of online and in-person classroom sessions, they all graduated as home health aides and a number of those aides are actually still employed with us today, making more money and serving a much different population than they would have otherwise.”

Kevin Smith, CEO, Best of Care, Inc.

Providing Education Pathways through College Partnerships

Best of Care has had success in developing its workforce not only through structured career pathing within the organization, but also by recruiting brand new direct care workers through partnerships with higher education institutions. These partnerships have helped Best of Care drive exposure and brand awareness among prospective employees before they hit the job market while giving them opportunities to gain experience in the field prior to their first day.

Further, CareAcademy’s CAREer Path Initiative allows direct care workers to receive college credit for training completed through its platform, at no additional charge. This higher-education partnership offers opportunities for direct care workers to continue to grow their skills and improve their earning potential, while supporting employee retention.

Long-Term Career Pathing

In the long term, comprehensive upskilling curricula and ongoing education opportunities are key differentiators on both the recruiting and retention fronts. Seventy-five percent of caregivers surveyed by CareAcademy said their employer has never talked with them about ongoing education or training, while in contrast, nearly 70% said they are interested in it.

Not only does an online training platform impact a prospect’s decision to commit to an organization, but it also affects his or her decision to stay with the organization. Eighty-five percent of caregivers said they’re more likely to stay with their current employer if offered resources to further their education, and 88% said they would feel more satisfied at their job if given opportunities to improve their skills through further education and training.

“CareAcademy looks to reimagine caregiver vocational training as a pathway of opportunity to educate oneself in any direction, enabling them to shape a career narrative that best suits their life.”

Erika Sessions, Director of Compliance and Policy Development, CareAcademy

Upward mobility is a top priority for employees in home care, and CareAcademy’s platform creates opportunities for any team member to equip themselves with the tools and resources they need to start on an upward trajectory. Best of Care’s organization is built on that foundation, and it has made a direct impact on their quality of care and bottom line.

“[Roughly] half of our administrative and leadership team members started out in a much different capacity, whether that was a homemaker, home health aide or field supervisor, among other positions. We are very much in the business of promoting, career-pathing and upskilling staff because ultimately, the best leaders have been on the frontlines in some way, shape or form. We are always trying new things to offer those opportunities to our existing staff, and we’ve had some success achieving that with CareAcademy.”

Kevin Smith, CEO, Best of Care, Inc.

Best of Care is just one example of the impact online training and education can have on recruiting and retention in today’s job market. To learn more about how home care providers are using training technology to mitigate staffing challenges and drive growth in recovery, book a demo today.

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