As turnover is an ongoing challenge in home health and home care, agency leaders will need to continue seeking creative ways to reward and retain the best members of their teams. Demand for staff is high, and competition is fierce.
In the current market, salaries aren’t your go-to option for attracting and retaining home health nurses and caregivers. Although many states have increased their minimum wage, reimbursements aren’t keeping pace, which is causing financial challenges for some agencies, as Home Health Care News reported this month.
Keep hope alive, however. Agencies do have other options for attracting and retaining nurses and caregivers.
A survey by Glassdoor found that 79% of employees participating would rather have new or additional benefits than pay increases. Professional development was one area valued by the employees surveyed.
A Positive Work Environment Helps Retain Home Care Providers
In a 2018 LinkedIn study, employees said support for healthy work-life balance was important to their commitment to a company. Allowing home health nurses and personal home care aides to work part time or full time with schedules that suit their personal commitments can help promote that feeling of balance.
Promoting wellness education and fitness programs can help your staff handle the stresses that come with caring for others in their homes. Recognizing burnout risks and actively working to counterbalance them will help your team stay healthy while they help clients with health needs.
Another deciding factor for staying with a job is the organization’s culture, according to the LinkedIn study. A feeling of belonging is an important part of that intangible benefit, and that can be an extra challenge to cultivate when your workforce is mobile. Be sure to communicate frequently and connect with your team members on a personal level.
The study found that employees also value engaging in a job that has a positive impact on society. You can remind your staff that they are making a difference in clients’ lives by helping older adults improve or maintain their health and retain as much independence as possible.
Involved Managers Make a Difference for Home Health
Employees are more likely to stay with your home health or home care agency if they feel engaged and appreciated. As a leader, you play a vital part in achieving that goal. “Professionals today prioritize a sense of belonging, supportive leadership and social impact in their day-to-day work lives,” LinkedIn researchers note.
The right manager can influence employees to stay with your agency longer; the wrong one can drive them away. Even though home-based care requires a mobile workforce, you still have the power to help your nurses and caregivers feel part of a team.
Connecting with employees from the start is one way to ensure a long-lasting, collaborative work relationship. Find out their personal and professional motivations, and meet with them regularly, in person or virtually, to cultivate a positive manager-employee relationship.
Communication lays the groundwork for building a climate of trust and respect. Ask for and give regular feedback to ensure that each staff member feels included and heard. Coach them when improvement is needed, and praise them for a job well done.
Note that nurses and caregivers want to feel they are making a difference with the work they do, and as their manager you can help nurture that feeling by sharing success stories among the whole team.
Support Learning at the Start and Along the Way
Clearly, providing education that will enhance job skills can bring advantages to home health and home care agencies as well as their employees.
Having personalized onboarding with role-based training plans can streamline the orientation process and ensure that new hires get consistent information about expectations and company culture.
For compliance-based training and professional development after they have settled in, consider tools that help you assess competency and identify gaps. That way, managers can ensure that the time invested in learning pays off with better care for clients.
A 2019 study by LinkedIn notes that leadership plays a strong role in encouraging professional development, as 75% of participating employees said they would take a course their manager assigned.
Using a learning management system (LMS) that automates assignments and allows group announcements can relieve manager stress, especially when you have high turnover. When regulations or policies change, you can ensure that everyone receives the notification and relevant information.
One Relias client, Accurate Home Care, has found that being able to provide competency assessments, learning, and tracking of online education on one LMS is ideal. Starting new hires off with training on required knowledge and skills is a top priority, notes Nicoleen Meyer, RN, Home Nursing Manager for Accurate Home Care. “That core education when a new employee comes aboard with us is the only way to ensure their success and the safety of our patients.” (Watch her full interview below.)
For dispersed nurses and caregivers providing home-based care, mobile learning options make it even more convenient to enhance their education and achieve professional development goals.
If education and skills training opportunities are available when and where employees need them, you can build a better and brighter team and combat turnover, as Relias client American Health Partners notes. If nurses or caregivers are interested in gaining additional certifications, you can support their career growth via online and mobile learning.
Step Up Your Home Care Agency’s Leadership Skills
To ensure good support for those you supervise, consider enhancing your own skills with education in communication, management and leadership, quality improvement, cultural competence, and more. And encourage team members to explore stretch activities and education as well.
When leaders and learning opportunities support nurses and caregivers in being competent and confident professionals, they are so much more likely to stick around in their jobs. The related payoff is that with an experienced and dedicated team, your level of care and client satisfaction is bound to improve measurably.