Do you have a difficult time keeping your caregivers? You’re not alone. After all the difficulties recruiting caregivers, retention is one of the top challenges homecare organizations face. With caregiver turnover at a whopping 62.5%, according to the Home Care Association of America, it’s no surprise that retention is at the forefront of the industry. At Caribou, we work with homecare agencies across the country to help solve their recruitment, retention, and performance challenges. While there is no silver bullet for caregiver retention, we can give you the next best thing: simple, powerful, and proven tactics that you can implement today to make a difference with your staff.

Tactic 1: Focus on employee referrals 

Employee referrals are a secret weapon. The data speaks for itself – employee referrals are:

  1. The top source for high-quality candidates (88% of employers rated employee referrals above all other sources for generated quality of new hires)
  2. More likely to translate into hires (employee referrals are 4x more likely to be hired than non-referrals).
  3. Retained longer: Employee referrals have been proven to stay 70% longer than hires from other methods

Every employee once started as a candidate. So, if you want to improve the quality of your caregivers, start by improving the quality of your candidates. One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on employee referrals. If you don’t have an employee referral program, we suggest rolling one out. If you have an employee referral program, ensure your caregivers are aware. A great way to do this is to email or text your caregivers every two weeks asking for referrals and reminding them of the referral bonus you are offering. 

Bonus tip: The first 90 days after a candidate is hired are critical for retention. These three tips will help you retain new hires past those 90 days: 

  • Get them scheduled as quickly as possible
  • Pair them up with a colleague who can act as a mentor when they have questions
  • Check in frequently to see how they’re doing and be generous with recognition and appreciation

Tactic 2: Create a culture of recognition by empowering your coordinators

Lack of recognition and feeling unappreciated is one of the leading drivers of caregiver turnover. We get it – recognition is easier said than done. Every one of your coordinators and supervisors is swamped with work. Finding the time needed to recognize your employees quickly falls off the priority list when urgent client needs are constantly coming up. 

So how do you create a culture of recognition when everyone is busy? The best organizations keep recognition simple: they focus on the ‘who’ and the ‘how.’ They identify who is expected to recognize others regularly and how they can do this effectively without adding to their busy workload.

Let’s start with the ‘who.’ A culture of recognition hinges on the most influential employees at your agency: coordinators and supervisors. Your coordinators and supervisors are the direct lines to your caregivers. They hold a lot of power. Putting them in a position to recognize others makes their work more fulfilling and increases the job satisfaction of caregivers. Focusing on this group is critical to creating a culture of recognition.

Now let’s dive into the ‘how.’ Here’s a free, no-cost tactic that we’ve seen work well: 

Step 1: Provide your coordinators and supervisors with a simple rubric of behaviors they should recognize. For example: When a caregiver goes out of their way to help a colleague, picks up a difficult shift, or receives positive feedback from a client. A rubric will simplify the recognition process by clearly stating the most valued behaviors.

Step 2: Give your coordinators and supervisors a target of sending one message of appreciation per day. If you rely on email for communications, encourage your coordinators and supervisors to CC the agency owner or the caregiver’s manager. This email (or text) is an excellent way for coordinators and supervisors to get visibility to senior leadership and foster a sense of community. In doing so, it recognizes both the coordinator and the caregiver.

Tactic 3: Reward loyalty

At Caribou, we specialize in creating behavior change through the right incentives. For example, one of the most powerful ways to drive retention is to create meaningful incentives for caregivers to stay with your organization. 

The best rewards — those that foster loyalty and superstar performance — are offered promptly and consistently, according to a study from Cornell University. Researchers found that immediate rewards for tasks successfully completed lead to higher engagement and motivation. 

This research means the most powerful way to change behavior is by promptly giving out rewards and recognition after an action is complete. For loyalty, this could mean offering rewards when a caregiver reaches their first 200 hours worked or a yearly birthday bonus. 

Caregivers are less likely to leave when a bonus is right around the corner. Rewarding loyalty and good behavior is a powerful way of driving retention because caregivers know that the longer they stay, the more they will be rewarded. 

Tying it all together

The key to retention, recruitment, and performance is incentivizing the right behaviors. Following these three tactics will have an immediate and lasting impact on your caregiver retention. 

To recap:

Tactic 1: Focus on employee referrals 

  • With a strong employee referral program, you attract higher quality candidates that perform better and stay longer while also increasing the likelihood that the employee making the referral stays longer. 

Tactic 2: Empower your coordinators and supervisors to create a culture of recognition

  • Creating a culture of recognition is a powerful way to retain top talent and attract caregivers from other employers. It starts with empowering your most influential employees: coordinators and supervisors.

Tactic 3: Reward Loyalty

  • Creating incentives, such as work anniversaries and milestones for hours worked, is a proven way to drive retention because it gives caregivers a clear reason to stay.

How Caribou and HHAeXchange Make Caregiver Retention Easy

We have spent years working with homecare agencies to develop simple and powerful technology that consistently improves recruitment, retention, and caregiver performance. We automate these proven tactics, so your agency doesn’t have to worry about manual tracking and new processes. The proof is in the data: 90% of surveyed caregivers stated they felt more appreciated since the rollout of Caribou Rewards. Furthermore, most agencies grow their staff by 10% by using Caribou Rewards to automate the employee referral process. 

Contact us if you want to learn more about improving your retention, recruitment, and staff performance with an automated rewards program.