Ask any home health agency owner about the challenges they face in running their business, and inevitably staffing will come up. Turnover within the home health field is high, often because there are so many challenges to finding great staff in the first place. In fact, according to one survey by Home Care Plus, the turnover rate within home health is hovering somewhere around 60 percent.
While there are some issues that lead to turnover that can’t be fixed by better recruiting, it makes sense that when you focus on getting the right people into your business from the start, they will be more likely to stick around, and be high performers in the process. The simple fact is that if your turnover is close to the average, you’re probably not hiring the right people and need to overhaul your process. By making a few key changes to your approach, you’ll have a better chance at getting the highly qualified candidates to join your team.
Barrier #1: Endless Hiring Processes
Your agency isn’t the only one hiring caregivers. In fact, there’s a reasonably good chance that there are plenty of job openings in home health in your area, and the same candidates will be applying for several positions. The best applicants are going to be scooped up quickly, so you need to look at your hiring processes and streamline wherever you can. If it takes weeks or even months for you to review applications and schedule interviews, you aren’t going to get the best people. Don’t wait until you have a stack of applications to review; look at them on a rolling basis and schedule meetings with viable candidates within a few days. Some industry experts even suggest planning to conduct second interviews with top candidates on the same day as the first interview. However you go about hiring, though, make it quick and don’t leave candidates hanging, since you’re essentially giving them to your competition when you do.
Barrier #2: Vague Requirements
You undoubtedly have an image of who you want to hire for your agency, but have you committed that image to a specific profile? Hiring the right people requires that you know exactly who you are looking for, and the qualities they need in order to be successful with your clientele. Of course you want to hire people with experience, but it needs to be the right experience. Be very specific in what you are looking for in a caregiver, in terms of experience, education, licenses, and other qualifications, in order to weed out inappropriate candidates and get a better applicant pool.
Barrier #3: Ineffective Advertising
Many agencies try to cut corners on advertising, using free classified services like Craigslist, and then wonder why they receive hundreds of applications from unqualified candidates. To find high-quality candidates, you need to use high-quality sources. Reaching out to local colleges and technical schools, using industry specific job boards, and local paid classifieds is often more effective than a more casual approach. Consider attending job fairs as well, so you can screen candidates on the spot. When you invest some resources in recruitment, you will see better results.
It’s also a good idea to test out different advertisements. Try creating two to three different versions of your ad, highlighting different skills or requirements, and see which version results in better candidates.
Barrier #4: Lack of Objective Evaluation
An application and interview can only tell you part of the story about a candidate. Therefore, you need to implement some type of objective measurement as well to get a sense of the applicant’s personality and skills. Many agencies use the Caregiver Quality Assurance Test, an online test for gauging someone’s suitability for a caregiving role. A hands-on skills test is also important. Not only do you want to be sure that your staff can handle the basic tasks of the job, but can also work with your agency software and understand your protocols and policies. While on-the-job training can fill in some of the gaps, when you hire someone who is ready to hit the ground running, there will be less frustration and better performance.
Barrier #5: Inadequate Onboarding and Training
Finally, once you hire a great staff, it’s important to keep them — and that is where onboarding, training, and mentorships come into play. When employees feel like they are valued and have the chance to grow in their jobs, they are more likely to stick around. The new employee orientation process needs to be comprehensive, and help your new hires identify the things that they are good at and where they need to grow — information that can help you develop an effective plan for their first 90 days. Implementing a mentorship program in which your top 10 percent of employees are paired with new hires to help them in their first months is also a great way to help keep new people on board.
Hiring staff is always a challenge for any business. The demands of home health care tend to make it even more difficult. If you focus on defining expectations, streamlining the process, and looking in the right place, though, the process will get easier. You can also improve your business and employee satisfaction with the right software; check out Complia Health’s family of products and start operating more efficiently.