Caregivers are the cornerstone of Qualicare’s commitment to holistic home care, and satisfying client experience. Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, Home Health Aids, Personal Support Workers, and nursing students are all caregivers whose expertise and whole-hearted support for clients reflects Qualicare’s 360-degree model of care.
According to a home care benchmarking survey from 2017, over 70% of home care providers stated that one of the top three threats to their home care agency is caregiver shortages.
In an ever-shifting employment climate due to the pandemic, which has led to more shortages, it’s crucial for home healthcare and senior care franchise partners to find the best ways to recruit and retain caregivers.
Qualicare franchise partners have developed some of the industry’s most effective tools to maintain caregivers. Here’s 4 recruitment & retention tips that have proven successful for Qualicare:
Make recruitment and hiring a part of company culture
Linda Larson, who is a Nurse Manager at Qualicare San Diego and Qualicare’s home office said that she makes sure everyone knows that it’s their job to recruit other caregivers. This is because caregivers often know other people who need work and would be a great addition to the team.
“It’s everyone’s job to recruit - all the time, every day, everywhere you go,” Larson said. “We talk to people at church, at the grocery store, anywhere we go.”
Julia Somers, Director of Care with Qualicare North York and Qualicare’s Home Office, has a similar philosophy. “Always be hiring. And be available for your staff so they feel supported,” said Somers.
Larson and Somers both noted that it’s important to incentivize and empower recruiting as a part of the culture. For example, Somers said her company gives referral bonuses, and Larson said she encourages caregivers to just tell the truth to prospective caregivers. Larson said it was important to share that Qualicare cares about our team members and “you have 24/7 support from a team of people who have been there.” Larson emphasized the importance of Qualicare’s team mentality, and that caregivers will always have a nurse “in your corner who will back you up.”
Maintain great communication & show appreciation
Showing caregivers that their lives are important is a recipe for success. According to Larson, prioritizing listening, and taking interest in caregiver’s lives is how her branch retains great employees. “We call, text and email them a lot,” Larson said. “We do our very best to flex to fit their needs.”
Praising caregivers in front of others, and going “above and beyond,” like giving out gift cards, shows caregivers they are valued by Qualicare. Larson’s team celebrates “caregiver of the week, month and year” and shares how the caregiver received the award based upon exemplifying Qualicare’s values. Somers stated that her branch also regularly celebrates caregivers by acknowledging their work by having “employee of the quarter” and “employee of the year.”
Larson said that since everyone working for her Qualicare branch have been caregivers themselves, the shared experience aids greatly in fostering a supportive community.
“We get what caregivers are going through so we can give them ideas and support based on that shared experience,” Larson said.
Optimize scheduling & flexibility
One of the challenges of home health care is the ever-changing client needs. It’s important for caregivers to have a good balance of working enough hours, and not too many hours, which can lead to burnout. To address this challenge, and the current caregiver shortage, Somers said that her branch “ensures our staff are not working too much, and give them time off when they ask for it.”
Larson said that her team keeps track of the amount of shifts, saying her “Care Coordinators are masterful at their ‘juggling’ of the schedule so their team members don’t burn out.” Her team also gives caregivers the choice of taking shifts, or not.
As the pandemic has led to staffing shortages across the board, caregivers suddenly became high-demand. To recruit the best in the area, Somers said “We promote the flexibility of working in home care vs. working in a facility.” More and more, workers are requesting flexible employment, and home caregiving certainly provides this perk.
Hire to retain great caregivers
Asking the right interview questions to prospective caregivers is a must. Larson said her favorite question is “why do you want to be, (or like to be) a caregiver?” She said that this question is important, because “it gets to the heart of the person, not just their skills or experience.”
During interviews, Larson said that her team runs skills testing about what could happen with a client to be sure the caregiver can think on their feet. Larson said that her team runs scenarios like “Lets say your client wants to sleep in their recliner but the care plan says they shouldn’t because they get pressure ulcers. What do you do?” The goal is to be sure that the caretaker is both compassionate and kind, but shrewd enough to think the scenario through.
Finally, an important way to know if a caretaker will be able to work with your company for the long haul is to make sure that everyone is clear about availability. Larson said she wants prospective employers to “be clear that certain hours are ‘ours’ and certain ones are off-limits, so we know that we can count on them.”