Unlike traditional publishing, blogging is more of a conversational means of communication and we've had the privilege of reading and learning from other people's blogs. In our efforts to encourage the home care social media conversation, we share blog content from others and today we have the guest blogger Alex Chamberlain. Alex is Executive Director at EasyLiving, Inc., a fully licensed, private duty home health care company serving individuals and families in Pinellas and Pasco counties in Florida. EasyLiving was named a 2011 “Top Small Business in the South” by Business Leader Magazine and the 4th fastest growing company in Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “Fast 50” of 2010.
Creative Solutions to Top Home Care Challenges: Recruitment & Retention
by Alex Chamberlain
If you work in the home care industry, you know that human resources are not only your most challenging but also your most valuable resources. Simply in order to keep pace, home care companies need a steady stream of workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of home health aides is projected to grow by 50 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than general employment.
Home care companies provide care that is very personal, is most often carried out away from a “controlled environment” and brings a lot of challenges for our workforce. In order to succeed, we not only need enough workers but they need to be sufficiently able to handle the work in a quality manner.
How does a home care company develop a quality staff? Each variable within your human resources process impacts the overall quality of your staff. At its simplest, you need:
1. A big enough pipeline of potential employees
2. A selective process to determine which of those prospects is a fit
3. Sufficient training and support to enable their success
4. Rewards, feedback, and ongoing training and engagement to retain employees and help them improve and grow
Like most successful home care companies, EasyLiving Home Health focuses our efforts on human resources. But, we believe it is incumbent on us to foster positive behavior and growth, rather than focus primarily on discipline. Our philosophy is that when you reward good behavior, you get more of it…if you just punish negative behavior you simple get less negative behavior—not the way to thrive.
Last year, we launched an employee program called iCaRewards™. Here’s a brief overview of the program components:
- Primarily a rewards program, where caregivers earn points for doing things like referring a friend, answering a trivia question in a newsletter or on Facebook, or getting a “great job” sticker from a client
- Points can be redeemed for prizes (such as refurbished computers from the office, grocery store or gas gift certificates)
- Comprehensive communications to employees
This program aims to address several of the human resource variables/challenges. One of its primary goals is employee engagement. In the home care industry, we all understand the challenges of a mobile workforce, who often work multiple places at the same time or move frequently from employer to employer, based on small pay differences/ incentives or who can provide the most hours.
Our iCaRewards™ program includes regular communications to employees (including rewards to those who engage with us further through social media), including fun and personal communications to engage staff and make them feel part of the team. Additionally, the program includes periodic events, to bring employees in to the office, help them get to know (and feel comfortable with) office/management staff and to provide something fun and different in terms of rewards. We have had breakfast events, pizza lunches and holiday get-togethers. In a couple instances, caregivers have brought their client along to the events. Management staff, caregiver and client were able to interact in a fun way. This has made the caregiver and client both more engaged.
The program also addresses the first human resources dilemma, getting a sufficient pipeline of prospective employees. One of the primary rewards mechanisms in iCaRewards™ is gaining points for “referring a friend” (and proportional rewards based on them taking various steps and actually becoming/staying employed).
We also feature caregivers on our website and in various communications-you may be interested in seeing one of the ways we do this on our Florida Home Caregiver Profiles.
How are you getting creative with your human resources challenges?
Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital. Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota