Effective Caregiver Recruitment Tactics for Home Care Agencies
By Matt Keough
If you are responsible for caregiver recruitment and retaining caregivers for a home care organization, chances are you are experiencing some challenges in hiring. We hear from our partners, almost universally, that fully staffing a home care agency has become a limiting factor to growing their business and serving the needs of seniors and their loved ones in many communities. We can attribute this to many factors.
Some of the factors are directly related to COVID-19, as there may be a hesitancy among some potential caregivers to be in a role that requires human contact. Make no mistake, home care services are administered safely every day and in every part of the world. But there may be misperceptions among people who could be a great hire. The way to resolve this is to give potential caregivers more information to understand these questions and concerns have been addressed and resolved early in the pandemic.
Hiring professional caregivers may also be encumbered by larger market forces not directly related to the pandemic but are related to the labor market and unemployment benefits. While this is a bit of a political debate currently, it is very likely that stimulus funds distribution and extended unemployment benefits are part of the larger market forces that we cannot control.
Whatever the causes, we need to think creatively to address these challenges. Maybe we should think like we are in sales to improve our caregiver recruitment strategies. After all, sales is persuasion, and recruiting is persuading a person you want to hire to work with you!
What Motivates Your Staff?
We know that people usually take a job to earn money. However, in a profession like caregiving, it is not only about the pay. This is a job that requires special people. Try to match what really motivates the person you seek to hire with what you offer. Is it flexibility in hours? The ease of recording their time? Frequency of pay? Consistency in caring for the same seniors?
Talk about the benefits of working at your agency rather than the features or the terms of employment. You need to offer competitive wages, of course, but highlight the things your agency does better than your competitors. Make this obvious in your job listings and when you are speaking to prospective caregivers.
In the not-too-distant past hiring managers had so many applicants that they quickly adopted technology to filter through and manage the number of candidates applying. The overwhelming number of applicants may not be the same these days. Embrace the same principle of using technology, but now use it to find the elements in common among the best new hires. Is it educational factors? Proximity to where they live and where care is given? Were they referred by a partner or affiliate? You will need to identify those factors and focus your time on identifying more people that match them. (It goes without saying, fair labor practices are absolutely to be observed.)
There Is No Time Like the Present
Any successful salesperson knows that a hot lead will get colder every minute they do not act on it. This is absolutely true in recruiting. You are probably competing for the same jobseeker with every home care agency in your city. Not only that, but you are also competing with other potential employers that are in different fields. This means you need to follow up with someone quickly when they express interest in working with you. You have many competing priorities and things that need to get done. Make sure there is time left on your calendar every day to follow up with your candidates! Use tools like public calendars or appointment booking software to make it easier for that prospect to schedule an interview at the nearest time they will be free.
If you have someone giving you an indefinite answer or saying they will get back to you do not settle for that answer. Use that time you have reserved on your calendar to check in with them after a reasonable time has passed. Have more than one way to contact them and use their preferred method. Make them know you really want them on your team.
Adopting these suggestions may require you to change how you conduct caregiver recruitment, but that is necessary when we face challenges like the current hiring environment presents. Even if you do not like to think of yourself as a “salesperson” the best practices that salespeople use are sure to improve your agency by finding the right people to help your team while also helping the people you serve.