It’s a great time to be in home care – the industry is booming and demand continues to grow.
But this also poses a problem for agencies, who are facing a huge caregiver shortage. You can’t take on more clients if you don’t have the caregivers to staff shifts! But in order to grow your business, you’re going to need to grow both your client and your caregiver base, and stop losing the caregivers and clients you already have.
More and more home care agencies are turning to caregiver training as a way to tackle multiple problems at once:
- Recruiting and retaining caregivers
- Marketing to attract new clients
Why Caregivers are Leaving
In order to recruit good caregivers, you’re going to need to beat out restaurants, retailers, and the Uber/Lyft’s of the world. Everyone is hiring, and the rise of the gig economy has created plenty of opportunity for part-time workers to generate income.
What this means is that you’re going to need to make your position/job posting more attractive than all the rest. Ask yourself, what does your agency offer that a job in retail or driving with Uber/Lyft does not?
One big differentiator for home care agencies is a great training program that provides opportunities for growth.
These are the six big questions you should use to assess your training program and why caregivers are leaving:
1. Will your training program equip people who have zero experience in caregiving?
The reality is that there are plenty of people out there who could potentially be great caregivers, but have no experience in caregiving and don’t know where to start. And, you’ve probably already hired caregivers who had the right heart, but none of the skills needed to do the job. And, at least 20% of them quit before 1 week on the job. One way to recruit these people (which you’re going to need to do given the caregiver shortage) is to provide them with a training program that properly introduces them to what caregiving is and gives them the necessary skills to land their first client. If you have this “caregiver school”, use it as a selling point in your job posts.
2. If a caregiver already has prior experience, will your training program account for that and allow them to gain new skills?
Many caregivers today work at multiple agencies, but are forced to do their initial training requirements multiple times for each agency. This means it will take you longer to onboard a new-hire, and the repeated training is a waste of time for both you and the caregiver.
For caregivers who have prior experience, it’s a selling point if you don’t need them to repeat initial training AND if you have a training program that better fits their experience. For example, you can assign these more experienced caregivers higher level training, give them a raise if they complete it, and then assign them to higher acuity clients! This upskilling process is not only attractive when recruiting caregivers, but will also help you retain caregivers.
3. Is it easy for caregivers to access the training? Will they need to spend a lot of time traveling to a location to take the training?
Caregivers have hectic schedules, and it’s not always easy for them to come in-person to your office, especially if they live further away. While a combination of both in-person and online training is ideal, that’s not always possible. If your state requirements can be done online, it’s great to be able to provide the option for caregivers to complete their requirements online.
However, not all online training is created equal. Many caregivers don’t own computers, but do own smartphones. If your online training can’t be easily completed on a smartphone, it means that the caregiver may still need to travel to a library to access a computer to complete their training.
4. Does your training program actually help them feel prepared for their jobs?
Training your caregivers should not be something to just “cross off the list”. Properly training caregivers will prepare them for situations they may encounter with clients and reduce burnout, which will help you reduce turnover.
In addition, better prepared caregivers are able to provide better care to clients, which can increase client satisfaction and ultimately, referrals.
5. Do you have training that is client-specific?
Client-specific skills training is another way you can provide an upskilling pathway for your caregivers. Once caregivers have mastered the basics of caregiving, you can begin training them to be specialists in different areas. For example, you could have Dementia Specialists, Heart Disease Specialists, and etc. That way, caregivers have more opportunities to grow their skillset and grow within your agency.
6. Do you have a lot of trouble getting caregivers to complete their training?
If caregivers aren’t completing their training, it’s time to take a hard look at the training you’re providing. Is the training engaging? Will caregivers actually learn about scenarios they will see on the job? If it is a routine problem that managers need to spend hours and hours each week reminding caregivers to complete their training, you may need a new training solution.
Attract More Clients
The other side of growing your business is attracting more clients. Your training program can play double duty here! Here are three ways you can use your training program to market your agency and attract more clients.
1. Showcase your training program on your website
Your clients also want to know that your caregivers are well trained by a reputable program, because it gives them confidence that they will provide their loved ones with better care.
If you use a reputable training program, showcase it on your website with a logo and a short description on what the training entails.
If you have training certificates after caregivers complete their classes, you can also print these out and use them to add credibility and “proof”.
2. Highlight your caregiver specializations
If you’re providing training for your caregivers to become specialists for different conditions, this is also a huge selling point for clients. Be sure to highlight the different specialists you have: Dementia Specialists, Diabetes and Nutrition Specialists, Heart Disease Specialists, and more.
3. Have your reviews speak for themselves
More likely than not, potential clients are going to look up your agency online and read reviews to see what other people have to say about your company and your caregivers. When they do a quick Google search, they are bound to see your company’s Glassdoor and Indeed reviews.
Not only will potential clients take into account what other clients say, but also what caregivers have to say about your company. If your caregivers are happy with your company and training you’re providing, encourage them to leave positive reviews on your job sites!
In order to have your caregiver training program work for you and not against you, make sure you’re addressing things like class completion rates, accessibility of the training, and upskilling pathways. If you see gaps in your current program, it’s time to think about how you can fill them; it will benefit you from two angles: attracting/retaining better caregivers and attracting more clients.
A great time-saving option is outsourcing your training program to reputable home care experts who have already thought about things like providing you with condition-specific classes, certificates to showcase to your clients, and etc. This will allow you to provide high quality training for your caregivers, instill confidence in potential clients, and give you the time you need to focus on growing your business!