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Defining the Crisis in Caregiver Recruiting and Retention

By Stephen Tweed  19142054_s

The crisis is only getting worse!

Early this year, we at Leading Home Care officially declared the  Caregiver Recruiting and Retention Crisis.  All of the research we have done, and our conversations with hundreds of home care company owners and CEOs shows clearly that our industry is in the midst of a major crisis in caregiver recruiting.

According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for new paid caregivers – personal care aides, home health aides, and Certified Nursing Assistants – will grow by 1.3 million workers between 2012 and 2022.  Well, we’re halfway there, and the data show we’re not making a dent in meeting the need.  A February 2014 article in the New York Times on “A Shortage of Caregivers” further defined the crisis.  Three of the top ten fastest growing occupations are:

  • Personal Care Aides – number 1 – 580,800 new positions
  • Home Health Aides – number 4 – 424,200 new jobs
  • Nursing Assistants – number 6 – 312,200 new CNAs needed

That’s 1.3 million new paid caregivers needed in the next six years.

According to PHI (formerly the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute), by 2020 the direct care workforce will be over 5 million,  the largest occupation in the US, surpassing the number of retail sales people.

What Does this Mean for Home Care

What this means for you as the CEO of a growing home care company is that you will no longer be able to sit back and have your recruiter and your scheduler run ads on Craigslist or and have the caregivers you need come to  you.  No longer will  you be able to find experienced caregivers out their answering ads for jobs.

It means that you, as a leader, will need to be actively involved in developing a strategy to find and keep top talent.  It means you will need to create a culture of attraction in your agency that makes you a great place to work.

And it means that you will need to change your mindset about your role in this process.  Conquering the Caregiver Recruiting and Retention Crisis will be at the top of your list of major challenges facing your company. You and your team will need to focus on this crisis, dedicate time, talent, and treasure to solving the crisis.

Five Things You Can Do Right Now

At Leading Home Care, we are continuing to research this issue, conduct industry surveys, interview CEOs of leading companies, and talk with our expert colleagues outside of home care.  We’re working on solutions.  This will be an ongoing challenge that will be with us for decades to come.  Based on our early research results, here are five things you can do right now to get started conquering the crisis.

  1. Get to know your very best caregivers.  Who are they? What makes them the best? How did they come to you? What is important to get them to stay?
  2. Attract the Best. Use innovation and creativity to refocus your recruiting efforts.  Tell your own story about what makes your agency a great place to work.
  3. Select the Best. While attraction is important, selection will be the key.  Those companies that have the most effective selection system will win.
  4. On-Board the Best. The first contact your new caregivers have with your company is your new employee orientation. What message are you sending with your on-boarding process? How does this affect caregiver retention?
  5. Measure Results.  What is your caregiver turnover?  What can you learn from your best caregivers to improve retention? How can you find other caregivers who resemble your best?

Where to start?

Right now, you can get started by selecting the best using the Caregiver Quality Assessment from Leading Home Care.  This proven online pre-employment assessment tool will help you identify candidates with the right attitude, with a behavior style that fits the job, and with the cognitive ability to think and solve problems quickly.  This year we celebrate ten years of the Caregiver Quality Assurance Program, and the hundreds of home care companies who have used this powerful selection system.

Resources to Conquer the Crisis

We are committed to continuing the search for solutions to help you grow your company.  We have the resources to help you Conquer the Caregiver Recruiting and Retention Crisis in home health, hospice, and private pay in-home care.

For assistance in overcoming the crisis of caregiver attraction,

give us a call at 502-339-0653


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