As unprecedented turnover persists in most industries, resilient home care agencies are adapting their business practices to meet the challenge of caregiver retention.
We polled agency owners to learn which tactics and strategies have been most successful for improving retention and which pain points continue to challenge them.
Hundreds of home care insiders responded to the poll, sharing their experiences, bringing clarity to some common assumptions, and revealing surprising trends in the process.
Learn how these home care agencies are retaining caregivers. (Access full poll results and tips to combat turnover here.)
Ongoing Caregiver Retention Challenges
To discuss the solutions, it’s first necessary to understand the main challenges facing individual agencies. Respondents were asked to select the top 3-4 pain points that impact caregiver retention at their agency.
After calculating the results, the top 5 pain points that continue to be most impactful for agency owners are:
Rising Wages in Competing Sectors
Lack of Quality Shifts/Lack of Consistent Shifts
Too Much Travel for Shifts
Not surprisingly, the majority of home care providers included a vote for the challenges of pay increases and the ongoing effects of COVID-19. The number one challenge by far, as ranked by agency owners, was rising wages in competing sectors, with 66% of respondents replying that it was one of their top challenges, followed by 47% of respondents agreeing that COVID-19 remained a top challenge. (Access average wages in some competing sectors by downloading the Full Survey Results below.)
With 38% of respondents voting for caregiver burnout as one of their top challenges, this answer came in as the third most common pain point. The subsequent answers provided context and revealed some of the reasons for caregiver burnout: lack of quality shifts/lack of consistent shifts, and too much travel for shifts as fourth and fifth respectively.
Successful Approaches to Reduce Turnover
With the amount of time and resources required to enact a solid recruiting strategy, followed by the effort to interview, onboard, and train new employees, it’s no wonder home care providers are eager to understand the best strategies to keep caregivers employed.
The most helpful approaches to improve turnover rates, as voted by home care providers are:
Increasing Pay and/or Benefits
Better Communication with Caregivers
Improved Schedule Accommodations
With more than 75% of responding home care providers voting this approach as a top solution, increasing pay and/or benefits was by far the most-cited solution to reduce caregiver turnover. (Learn average starting wages for 2021 by downloading Full Survey Results above.) This comes as no surprise, as it’s the most direct solution to address the number one challenge, rising wages in competing sectors.
The second highest-voted approach, with nearly 62% of respondents voting this tactic as successful, was better communication with caregivers, followed by caregiver recognition at 42%.
The fourth and fifth most successful approaches to reducing turnover were improved schedule accommodations at 39% and improved recruitment, with 26% voting this as a top tactic.
Caregiver Retention Insights Revealed
While neither better communication with caregivers nor caregiver recognition was voted as the number one solution when the votes were tallied, these two tactics garnered the most insightful comments and passionate responses from agency owners in the written comments. Their enthusiastic insights expressed the need to communicate with and support caregivers, offering advice such as, “make your business feel like a family.”
Respondents emphatically shared their best advice regarding caregiver communication, including, “Thank them!! Send random text notes often to show you appreciate and think of them—not just when on shift!” Another respondent advised, “Check in with them about their life.”
Gone are the days when “company culture” was simply an employee of the month campaign and free snacks in a breakroom. As evidenced by the survey responses, caregivers, as well as other employees, respond to respect, thoughtfulness, and being made to feel a part of the team.
Another responding agency has taken communication and teamwork to a new level by shifting toward interdisciplinary teams. Every case has an assigned team consisting of a nurse, a care coordinator, a scheduler, an office manager, and a caregiver. This respondent has seen a huge increase in open communication, resolving issues previously experienced when the office and field staff were disconnected.
Create Incremental Change for Lasting Results
While some retention issues, like the rising wages in competing sectors, cannot be avoided, there are simple methods to reduce turnover proven to make a significant impact. Create change one step at a time by identifying one item from the list above that your agency can implement today.