CareAcademy is continually looking for ways to help your agency excel in recruiting and retaining caregivers. Having more than just a content and compliance company if very important. As we face a future where home care for older adults grows in complexity and regulatory standards increase, training becomes an essential part of the home care agency workflow. At CareAcademy, we recently introduced the R-O-R framework to our lexicon:
- The first R stands for Recruitment
- The O stands for Onboarding
- The second R stands for Retention
CareAcademy Development Cycle
Let’s Start with RecruitmentAs they navigate the growing caregiver shortage, agencies can use training as a mechanism to attract new caregivers to the industry! Use your training offerings to help identify caregiver skills gaps and how to address them. Whether a caregiver is brand new or a veteran, they can always be better trained and learn more to meet the needs of clients. Agencies can go one step further and use training to match caregivers to client needs. An agency can effectively use training to demonstrate to a client that a caregiver is prepared to meet the needs of a family member or loved one. For instance, we work with a large home care company that uses training to serve the needs of its clients with dementia—roughly 50% of the company’s client base. Our dementia training keeps the company’s caregivers up to date on the best practices of managing, communicating, and helping clients with dementia. Using training to align with client needs differentiates agencies for both acquiring clients and recruiting caregivers. Most importantly, agencies need to invest in their caregivers at the very beginning of their careers. Training can be used as a form of career pathing. Putting it into action doesn’t have to be complex. Career pathing can be as simple as an administrator at your agency talking about the future career interests of each caregiver and creating a line between where they are now and how to get there. According to the 2018 Home Care Pulse Survey, the average turnover rate was higher than the previous year a whopping 66.7%. In an industry plagued by an average of 62% turnover, using training as a way to show caregivers a means to create and sustain a career in in-home care is a very powerful tool!
The Challenge of OnboardingAgencies in certain states have a new challenge and hurdle which is meeting state-mandated onboarding requirements. For instance, caregivers in California agencies must complete 5 hours of training to be compliant. If an agency’s caregivers do not meet this mandate, the agency risks a penalty or fine from the state. We recommend that agencies keep up to date with their respective state’s compliance standards, and ensure that they have policies in place to ensure caregivers are getting the correct training—and that it’s being recorded correctly. When onboarding training works well, agencies are able to get caregivers out of the door and into a client’s home faster. One of the agencies that we work with was able to reduce the number of hours spent on onboarding from 5 to 2 hours per week. Over the course of a year, that can equal more than 100+ hours of work. We’ve also found that inadequate training may result in caregiver attrition within the first 90 days. We suspect one of the reasons this occurs is that caregivers are going into the field and not having a sense of what it means to be a caregiver. In order for agencies to reduce the amount of turnover within those first critical 90 days, agencies must invest in proper onboarding to ensure caregivers are well prepared and set up to succeed on the job.
Retaining CaregiversThe past component of the ROR framework focuses on how training can foster retention. According to Home Care Pulse, caregivers that received more training had greater loyalty and satisfaction with their agency. There are several ways in which agencies can invest in training to retain caregivers:
- Invest in ongoing training to retain veteran caregivers looking for more challenging and rewarding work.
- If you haven’t already, think of ways to help caregivers learn while they earn. Learning while earning, enables caregivers to learn new skills on the job. Programs such as these keep caregivers engaged continuously which helps to retain them.
- Drive caregiver satisfaction. When caregivers feel their agency is invested in them, they’re more likely to stay. You can ensure higher caregiver satisfaction by beginning to think of training as a way to invest in your caregivers long term.
- Use training as a way to drive caregiver engagement. In our work, we often speak with large agencies who aren’t able to assign and schedule all of their caregivers. We recommend that you use training as a way for caregivers to brush up on skills while they wait to take on a new client. By doing so, a caregiver can often differentiate themselves from other caregivers. Likewise, clients will appreciate that their caregiver has been specially trained to meet their needs.
As we continue to learn more about the needs of agencies, we believe our ROR framework will change quite a bit. We’ve spent hundreds of hours interviewing agency owners, nurses, administrators, and caregivers and we’ll be updating our as we gain new insights. Did we miss anything that you would add to this framework? Leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear your feedback!