How to Improve Caregiver Onboarding

How to Improve Caregiver Onboarding (According to Agency Execs)

Recruiting and retaining caregivers is one of the biggest challenges for home healthcare agencies. Turnover is high in the caregiving profession, especially during the first 90 days on the job, but a thorough caregiver onboarding program can help retain talent.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 69% of employees that experience a great onboarding experience are likely to stay at that company for three years and are also 58% more likely to stay longer than three years. For agency admins, those statistics highlight the importance of developing a top-tier onboarding process.

In this post, we’ll share some tips for effective onboarding. Then we’ll reveal what 21 agency leaders said they’re doing to improve onboarding.   

Recruit the Right People

Successful caregiver onboarding and retention depends to some degree on finding someone with the right mix of “soft” skills and professional experience. For example, an employee who will be working exclusively with dementia clients in a long-term care facility will need a high level of patience and sensitivity. Someone who lacks specialized training in dementia care but has the right personality could grow into their role with on-the-job training

Make a Checklist

An onboarding checklist ensures you don’t miss any critical steps in acclimating your new hires, and it also shows new hires what to expect. It defines the cadence of caregiver orientation and training, specific expectations of the job, and details about any equipment or processes they’ll need for their role. 

Be Welcoming

Show your new hire that you’re happy they’ve joined your team. For example, mention them on your company LinkedIn page, send them a welcome-aboard gift, or even just a handwritten card. Gestures like these can have a big impact on your new hire’s excitement about the job. 

Go Digital

A digital onboarding portal can help new hires easily upload required employment documents, access a digital employee handbook, and complete their initial training. Keep in mind that you don’t need to digitize the entire process — just look for ways to streamline the basic onboarding steps.   

Provide a Mentor

If you’re hiring a home health aide, pairing them with a mentor in the field can help them feel more confident in their role. Plus, new hires may feel more comfortable asking another employee (instead of their boss) about your clients, pros and cons of the job, or your company culture.

21 Execs Share Their Top Onboarding Strategies

We asked agency leaders from around the United States to share their onboarding strategies and how they’ve improved caregiver retention. Let’s take a look at what they said.

Renee Smith

At Comfort Caregivers, we are always looking for ways to improve the onboarding process for new caregivers. Ideally, we want to provide our caregivers with a single site where they can access all the information and resources they need. To make this possible, we have streamlined our onboarding process and adopted a paperless approach, using a digital business card to provide easy access to necessary documents. This not only makes things more efficient and straightforward for our caregivers, but it also helps us to reduce costs and the number of inbound calls from caregivers requesting information that is now available on their phones.The site is a work in progress and we’re continually finding ways to improve our caregiver page. We use the Linq business card because it allows document uploading and other features that make it more user-friendly. We are always looking for feedback to ensure we are providing the best experience for our caregivers. Curious to know what other agencies are doing. Best of luck.

Lucas Nyangori

Amazing Souls Homecare | Managing Director
In today’s competitive healthcare industry, hiring and retaining productive staff is key to the success of any home care business. One of the strategies utilized by Amazing Souls Homecare is the E-Hire system and text messaging through which applicants are screened and assessed for their skills in providing home care services. Our E-hire system for instance enables our recruitment team to send all application packets to applicants through text. This makes it easier and faster for prospective applicants to respond and stay on track during the onboarding process. Upon receipt of all required documents, the recruitment coordinator then schedules an interview through the E-Hire system after which an orientation date is set up.

Liz Schmidt

Comfort Keepers | Client Care Coordinator/Scheduling Administrator
We have transitioned to using an AI to allow new employees to complete all onboarding documents prior to orientation, which has been a positive, time-saving addition to the onboarding process; and we have used CareAcademy's recommended modules to create a customized training program that is specific to our company's expectations and policies.

Ali Dean

New Horizons In Home Care | Chief Care Officer
At New Horizons, we take a caregiver-centered approach to everything we do. From the interview to onboarding, training, mentoring, and ongoing support, we want to make sure our caregivers are set up for success. We strive to make every experience easy to navigate and enjoyable. Our onboarding process is the same. We easily onboard caregivers before moving them into training and mentoring, ensuring every step in their journey prepares them for a meaningful job in caregiving.

Tolan Wade

Griswold Home Care | Recruiter
We have created a digital process through Hireology, that guides the caregivers through our onboarding and training. It has streamlined the paperwork process while creating more time for our nursing and soft skills portion of the training. Over the past 12 months, we have maintained a 94% satisfaction rate in regard to our onboarding and training process based on our own Caregiver feedback.

Kelleen Corfield

In this day and age, finding the right caregiver can be very challenging. In addition to the overwhelming competition amongst agencies, there is a lot of thought that goes into figuring out the best for the agency, for the client, and for the caregiver themselves. We all know this is difficult. This is why we embrace the onboarding process to stress the importance of making our caregivers feel a part of the family. CareAcademy has given us that opportunity the opportunity to connect with our new hires and bring them on board in a way in which they also feel confident in their skills and knowledge and set them up for success.We at Comfort Keepers of South Orange County like to focus on our agency's culture and set clear expectations about the agency's processes and caregiver's role and how they can make a difference in other people's lives, making this job very rewarding. We have embraced the culture of our caregivers as well, their personal preferences, their lives, and their everyday activities all to reinforce how much we care about them and are committed to supporting their wellbeing from the first step in the hiring process and every step moving forward. We wouldn't exist without our amazing caregivers and focusing on that has been the best strategy.

Lacey Bean

FirstLight Home Care | Human Resources Director
We have moved to the process of having our caregivers come into the office after hands-on orientation. They come to work on CareAcademy before they ever go on a shift. This not only ensures their courses are completed, but gives the office staff a chance to interact with them, get to know them, and help open those lines of communication that are so necessary. We know once they have left the office and completed their CareAcademy courses that they have a more solid relationship with us in the office, and their state compliance is complete!

John Iver

Premium Home Health Care | Chief Operating Officer
One effective strategy that we have been utilizing to improve the caregiver onboarding experience is ensuring that our approach is highly personalized and caregiver-focused. Meaning, we don't make the caregiver feel like "just another employee." The most important part of our caregiver onboarding is, in fact, creating that solid relationship with the caregiver right off the bat by highlighting the value that the caregiver brings to the table. Our long-term goal is to set up the caregiver to continuously succeed and grow by providing all the needed support, tools, and resources.

Trica Gosling

Total Care Service Network LLC | Care Coordinator
In-person orientation: The caregivers are trained specifically on the BSP and ISP for each client to promote person-centered care. In addition, the caregivers are provided with in-person training where the overall requirements of DHS and the company policies are explained. Follow-ups are done to ensure that these are implemented, after which, they are added to the CareAcademy platform.

Theresa Esterhazy

One aspect of CareAcademy training we are using for new hires is the First Aide training. This is part of our state requirements for staff. Having this training available to new hires saves them the added expense of paying for certification elsewhere and shows us in the onboarding process who is compliant with getting the training completed in a timely manner. It has helped to get new staff hired sooner.

Cristian Rodriguez

One onboarding strategy we have implemented is our mentorship program which tackles two crucial issues at once: caregiver retention and client satisfaction. Pairing new caregivers with experienced ones provides the opportunity for new recruits to receive guidance and ask questions on navigating the intricacies surrounding client care. This approach not only improves the quality of care provided, but also promotes a sense of community within the agency. By leveraging the knowledge and expertise of experienced caregivers, we can ensure that our new hires are well-trained, feel supported, and are equipped to provide the best possible care to our clients.

Brittany Chavez

Choice Home Care | Human Resources Director
We have improved on the timely matter of the onboarding process, making it easier for our clients and employees to on-board within 24 hours of receiving their information.

Marie Olsen

Visiting Angels | Director
The way CareAcademy integrates seamlessly with our scheduling and caregiver portal allows our caregivers to access their training and schedules in one place, rather than having multiple portals for them to manage. The office staff can easily manage reports, and the dashboard at a glance allows us to see where caregivers are at in compliance with training. The PCA program is a big plus in recruiting and training new caregivers, especially now with the challenges in recruitment and retaining employees. The employee feels a greater sense of becoming a part of our team. We couple the online PCA courses with our clinical hands-on training by our registered nurses for a complete educational experience. The automation and integration of CareAcademy has made our onboarding go much smoother and take less time for all. We were able to create different training modules for our required annual in-services, in addition to our onboarding required training, which makes assigning courses much easier.

April Goodin

One of our newest strategies we’ve implemented is our mentorship program. Our mentors have tenure and have been recognized as exceptional aides and employees.

Mariela Rogers

Lifestar Home Care | Owner / Employee Care Manager
We decided to try the Engyj (pronounced Engage) software and platform. Engyj is an automated talent acquisition service, and it has made our onboarding process a lot easier and trackable. Applicants can schedule their own phone call and in-person interviews, it is all linked to our Employee Care Manager Google Schedule. It also sends out text and email reminders and provides the option to reschedule if needed. The platform is very user-friendly. One of the best features is an applicant count by source (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Corporate site); that way, we can reroute our recruiting dollars to the best source for qualified applicants.

Carrie Bianco

Always Best Care South Bay/West LA | Executive Director/Owner
We go to them! In the event traveling to the office is inconvenient, we provide all activities associated with on-boarding online or meet them in person at a location near their homes.

Rebecca Smith

A huge time saver in the onboarding process for my agency has been to implement remote review and signing of all hiring documents. This has greatly decreased our onboarding time frame.

Magan Record

Bios Corporation | Training Manager
One strategy that our agency uses, is by utilizing our person-centered care to all new hires by completing new hire phone calls. We welcome them to the Bios family and allow them to know we are here for them with whatever they may need along their journey. We want all new hires and tenured staff to be successful in all they do, as we cheer them on through the way!

Stephanie Hulbert

A Place at Home | Customer Experience Coordinator
We have implemented 8 hours of online training through CareAcademy. This ensures that all our caregivers start off on the same baseline.

Aaron Stapleton

I believe the biggest thing Trinity In Home Care has done to improve onboarding is speeding up the process of the in-office education and increasing the in-field onboarding with pay. This has allowed us the opportunity to get our caregivers out working quicker and has allowed us to have higher numbers for onboarding and higher retention rates in the first 30 days.

Eleanor Winston

ABP Best Home Care Agency | HR Coordinator
The initial training CareAcademy provides makes onboarding a much easier process! Alongside this, we include an information packet on the dos and don'ts of working in homecare. It can be hard working in a client's personal space, and we want to make sure all employees are prepared to handle any situation they come across.

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