Do a Google search on “keeping employees happy” and it will pull up a long list of recent articles in top business publications, even a three-point list by Virgin CEO Richard Branson on how to keep employees happy so they don’t start rival companies.
In the high turnover world of homecare, both in terms of clients and paid caregivers, keeping employees happy remains critical to your success. Over the years, here’s what I’ve learned matters most in retaining the best employees:
- Valuing their input: The direct care staff is the front line representative for the agency. Their role as a critical component of the care team needs to be taken seriously. They need to be heard and, if they make a request, action needs to come about, plus communication about that action. Then thanks and praise for being such a valuable part of the team.
- Feedback: Knowing that what they are doing matters isn’t enough. Your employees need to hear specifically how they are doing on a regular basis. We can get so caught up in the daily management of our business that we forget to share our insights about a caregiver with them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking our employees know how much they mean to us and to their caregiving clients. If a client praises one of your employees, make sure to turn right around and share it with them. Provide ways for clients to share praise (and constructive criticism) for their paid caregivers and office staff. This could be in the form of general client surveys about your organization as a whole, or more specific, such as a “how are we doing” note on each client bill where they can add their comments about care.
- Validation: Very similar to “valuing their input”, your employees, from office staff and especially to those in the field, doing the day-to-day work of caregiving, need to know that what they are doing matters. Share with your employees information about the importance of caregiving, the studies that find family caregivers feel stressed and tapped out, and how their job as paid caregivers helps relieve the family’s burden. Involve them in webinars and seminars focused on the future of caregiving and why it matters (corecubed participates in many of these every year). Find specific ways to stress to them the invaluable and important job they are doing.
- Acknowledgement: Akin to validation and feedback, employees need acknowledgement of their concerns about both the business and their clients. This actually works a little off one of Richard Branson’s points: Give your employees the freedom to be creative, to come up with solutions to problems that they face on a daily basis with specific clients, but also with the business of caregiving. Caregivers are on the frontlines to both problems and solutions. Treating them as a valuable part of your caregiving army, and not just someone who takes orders, goes a long way to making employees feel capable and connected to the organization and its mission.
- Training: Caregiving shouldn’t be seen as a job that anyone can do, and we all know not everyone can do it. It takes special and dedicated people to do what caregivers do, for someone who isn’t a family member. Every homecare business engages in initial training of employees, but it shouldn’t stop there. Ongoing training is necessary not only to keep up with the changes in the marketplace, technology, and elder care, but also to keep your employees improving and expanding their skill sets. Providing additional training for employees will help them in their own current jobs and in life.At corecubed, we offer numerous webinars and training programs for attracting and retaining qualified and quality and committed employees. Visit our www.MarketHomeCare.com shop or contact us today to find out more.