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To boost caregiver retention, look beyond hard costs and reconsider the causes.

Date: 25th Apr 2019

My engineers and analysts may disagree, but numbers never tell the whole story. The turnover costs that agencies usually measure include recruitment and on-boarding; but beyond the hard costs, and arguably more important, are the indirect costs of lost productivity, quality-assurance issues, and lower morale. That last one really gets to the heart of the matter. Morale has a huge impact on employee satisfaction but is difficult to measure.

 

The importance of this intangible was reinforced to me recently when I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of providers about caregiver retention and recruitment for a webinar with the Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF). If you’re not familiar, HCAF represents, advocates, and provides for home care providers. Savii is proud to work with them because both of our organizations understand the importance of the work that caregivers do and the challenges they face. As Kristen Wheeler, Director of Private Duty Services at HCAF, told me after the event, “it becomes the default for a retention strategy to focus on the numbers and costs, but we all need to remember that it’s really about people.”

 

So if you want to minimize the costs of turnover, you must understand the causes. Only then can you implement meaningful and cost-effective solutions. Out of seven areas of caregiver satisfaction measured annually by the Home Care Benchmarking Study, the industry’s lowest score is in caregiver recognition. Saying “thank you” is not only polite, it’s good business.

 

It is human nature to want to feel valued and inspired. As business leaders, it is our responsibility to go deeper than an “employee of the month” plaque. For example, how often do you hear someone in our industry refer to caregivers as skilled versus unskilled? How would you feel if people called you unskilled? Non-clinical positions fulfill vital roles that require different skills, but changing how we describe them is a small but powerful step in the right direction. Changing your agency culture is hard, but worth it. A good place to start is implementing a caregiver recognition program these five tips can help.

 

Another concrete step that delivers proven results is to provide more training.  According to the 2018 Home Care Benchmarking Study, home care agencies that provide just over eight hours of ongoing training annually have a 7% lower caregiver turnover rate. On-boarding and orientation are important, but ongoing training and continuing education are commonly overlooked. Caregivers benefit from the personal fulfillment of training and growing as a professional. And your agency benefits with the ability to more easily place workers with greater skills. It’s a win-win. One cost-effective solution we recommend is Nevvon, a mobile training platform that makes compliance and ongoing education for caregivers easy. Such training is not only convenient, but it also increases caregiver satisfaction.

 

Of course, you can also increase caregiver satisfaction by making their job easier. With the Savii Connect app, caregivers can manage shift details and the care plan, document tasks and deviation of care, and securely communicate with your agency. It’s also easy to access driving directions and clock in/out with GPS visit verification. Plus, it’s the only integrated app that allows your staff to document care in the field even if they lose connectivity.

 

Looking at retention from the caregiver’s point of view may require a shift in thinking, but it is sure to shift your numbers as well.

 

For a deeper dive on the reasons that caregivers quit and what you can do about it, read our comprehensive guide on reducing caregiver turnover and boosting retention. It’s full of easy-to-implement tactics and helpful tips.

Dedicated to your success,

Kristen Kristen Duell is the CEO of Savii, Inc. With a background in healthcare information technology, she is focused on bringing innovation to the needs of post-acute care agencies. 

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