Most home care agency owners can attest to the fact that the business of caregiving is incredibly fast paced and demanding. This reality often leads to a specialization in employee duties per the economic principles of division of labor and comparative advantage. While specialization is great for increasing operational efficiency, it is still important to have a well-rounded staff that can wear multiple hats when necessary.
Here are 5 critical reasons every home care agency should cross-train their staff:
– Effective teamwork lies in professionalism, positive attitude and general courtesy. However, empathy is also a major contributor. It’s hard for employees with vastly different tasks to appreciate the plights of their colleagues without hands-on perspective.
Can a home care sales representative understand the challenges of niche staffing? That may be difficult if she’s never actually had to spend hours on end calling-out to hundreds of caregivers in search of a “magical unicorn?” She is far more likely to over-promise and under-deliver when meeting with perspective clients. But, representatives who’ve cross-trained will balance the “sales” aspect of their work with the staffing realities of colleagues.
Improves Client Satisfaction
– It’s understandable that most home care clients don’t appreciate the intricacies of a caregiver agency operation. They’re simply concerned about the end result. Clients want reliable, quality care at a competitive rate.
Unfortunately, agency employees who work in a limited capacity often lack the general knowledge to address a myriad of possible client concerns. What if a new client calls the office with questions about his recently-signed contract? Does the worker who answers the phone know the basic terms?
If a home care office employee can’t answer a variety of client questions, then customer service is greatly compromised. A worker who must defer to her account manager risks a much-delayed response. What if the account manager is out of the office or on vacation?
– Many home care agency owners understand the benefits of employee flexibility and the ability to shift human resources around as needed. However, this utility is particularly important for newer caregiver companies with limited staff. Employees who can wear multiple hats often prove a fail-safe that prevents catastrophe.
Suppose an office manager calls-in sick on “billing and payroll day.” An agency that has cross-trained other workers can still execute the necessary duties without skipping a beat. However, those that haven’t require an owner to drop everything to complete the task herself. Worse yet, they run the risk of late paychecks, delayed invoicing, angry caregivers and potential legal violations.
Encourages Employee Development & Retention
– Experts say the generality of college undergraduate classes often help students identify areas of interest for more specialized education later down the road. The same holds true for home care agency staff. Employees often develop a passion for a specific career focus within the caregiver operation.
Home care companies that fail to expose their staff to multiple job roles won’t properly identify their particular strengths and passions. It’s not uncommon for someone to start his career as a “staffer” and later learn that he’s more passionate about sales and marketing. Providing exposure to various career paths ultimately benefits the agency while also ensuring job satisfaction.
Agency owners must remember that passionate employees not only perform better, but they’re also more loyal. A natural-born salesperson trapped in the role of a staffer is a waste of talent. But worse yet, he also may be inclined to leave and work for a competitor.
Enables Business Growth
– A home care agency may only start with one location, but many quickly grow into small empires. Most companies find that their future leaders come from within. So, existing employees often fill the new roles required for expansion offices.
Cross-trained employees are critical for growth, as these new leaders must be able to run the satellite locations from top-to-bottom. An owner can only be one place at a time. Therefore, a lack of trusted staff with strong operational knowledge greatly inhibits expansion goals.
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with having employees focus on specific tasks for purposes of operational efficiency. But, wise home care agency leaders also understand the importance of cross-training staff. Companies that do work on comprehensive employee development mitigate risks associated with daily operations.
Cross-training also positions staff for career growth that benefits everyone and allows for company growth. While time is limited for most caregiver agencies, it’s still important to prioritize employee development. In the end, most home care leaders will find that it’s a small investment with a huge return.
Is your home care agency looking to grow? You should also consider the expertise of an industry-focused marketing agency. Providentia Marketing is a leader in senior care marketing and helps clients expand their reach!