Positions in homecare can be equal parts challenging and rewarding. The often grueling nature of the work can be offset by the feeling of making a tangible difference in someone’s life. But in many cases, the inevitable hardships of the job outweigh the benefits, and good workers leave their positions.
As with any industry, most homecare employees work because they must. But working for the pay alone usually isn’t enough, especially in positions that can come with significant stress and isolation. To make the difficulties of the job worth it, you have to find ways to stay competitive and provide desirable benefits for current and future employees. Making the wrong hire can cost you a lot of money, which is why thoughtful consideration should be given to how to best attract and retain talent.
Here are four ways to help overcome these challenges.
1. Adapt to workforce needs.
The silver tsunami is already rolling in and projections from the United States Census Bureau point to 2030 as a milestone year that will expand the size of the older population—by then, one in every five Americans is projected to be retirement age. The normal retirement age is between the ages of 65 and 67. Today, 17% of the population is 65 years and older; in 2030, that number will increase to 21%.
That means it is imperative for organizations to begin preparing now, if they haven’t already, for this continued demographic shift. With more people aging, employers will need to find inventive ways to entice working individuals to consider homecare as a career option.
2. Prioritize authenticity & transparency from the top down.
By its nature, homecare can be isolating, so regular communication from management is critical. Understanding and buying into the culture helps employees feel included in the organization’s mission. When every role is emphasized as important, each employee will feel individually valued and be less likely to leave the organization.
“Home health is about compassion,” said Amanda McCollum, human capital management consultant at Adams Keegan. “Workers are encouraged to show compassion and empathy to patients and care recipients, but if that same level of care isn’t extended to the workforce, it can be detrimental to culture.”
3. Go the extra mile to support your employees.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable and can be challenging in ways we could never anticipate. As a business owner, you might not be in the position to show your employees you care through monetary benefits or rewards, but an inexpensive way to show empathy to your workforce is by providing resources to support team members through employee assistance programs. Giving people the resources to feel supported in their role at work, as well as in their personal lives, will build both loyal and resilient employees. Encourage staff to use paid time off to take vacations or personal days. Providing ample time off will help give them a more positive outlook on the workplace.
4. Provide competitive benefits & incentives.
When considering employee benefits, operators should weigh the expense of turnover, as competitive benefits can help keep team members around.
“If you don’t know what benefits are important to your workforce, it may be worth utilizing surveys to find out—but if you go this route, be prepared to take action,” McCollum said.
In many cases, the cost prevents homecare employees from actually signing up for health-related benefits. However, operators have opportunities to provide benefits and perks that aren’t necessarily costly to the employer or employee. Options may include:
- Increased paid time off at earlier levels of service
- Tenure-based bonuses
- Anniversary milestone gifts
- Referral bonuses
- Childcare stipends
- Flexible schedules
While dreaded, turnover is often inevitable. When and if you continue to see valuable workers leave, use an exit interview process to determine where you are missing the mark and be prepared to take action.
Brand reputation is built on caregivers consistently providing optimal care to their patients. Running a successful and viable homecare business cannot be accomplished without reliable, committed employees.
*This article originally appeared in HomeCare Magazine and was written by Brian Evans, Senior Care Practice Leader at Adams Keegan.