Last year, an AARP report found that the caregiving market will grow by 13% poised to disrupt the market to the tune of $279 billion dollars by 2020. To put that in easy to digest numbers, that means that 117 million people will need care yet only 45 million caregivers will be in the market. While that number includes total Americans that will need some type of care, the number is still staggering when you consider that 90 million people will be over the age of 65 by the year 2060. How will agencies focused on eldercare or otherwise fill the gap?
Given that this field is fast becoming ripe with opportunity in terms of clients, agencies have the potential to grow their businesses exponentially in a matter of a few short years. But to do so, agencies will have to innovate to survive. We’re not talking about technological innovation as this is not a field that benefits greatly from automation to perform the primary service. You still need people to care for clients and with a deficit of fifty-two million people, attracting new caregivers could be your biggest challenge yet. Coupled with the fact that caregivers tend to be transient in nature, agencies will need to be creative in recruiting caregiver talent and reducing caregiver turnover. So what’s the solution?
#1- Focus on caregiver retention.
It’s easier to keep your current caregivers, then to find new ones. Ask yourself how you will make your agency more attractive than the next one. Quite frankly, caregiving hasn’t traditionally been a high-paying role so you’ll need more than just a pay increase to keep caregivers happy.
Consider their personal circumstances and try to cater to those needs by understanding their motivations for taking on the role. Do they need flexible or steady hours? Do they prefer a client that is close to their home? What kinds of client personalities gel better with theirs? Answering these questions will go long way in providing a positive experience at your agency.
#2 - Chart a career path for new and current caregivers.
This is where motivation comes in handy. Some caregivers are content in their current station, but some aspire to go further. When recruiting or reaffirming a caregiver’s commitment to your agency, ascertain their long-term goals and present them with options for growth.
The typical next step in a caregiver’s career path is to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) which enables caregivers to work outside of the home and venture into medical facilities. It also comes with a pay increase and steadier hours depending on where they work. Again, some people remain career CNAs, but others go on to become LPNs, RNs, hospital administrators, care managers, educators or trainers. Help caregivers understand that there are several career tracks available to them that not only increase their earning potential, but also provides additional opportunities to make a meaningful difference in patient’s lives.
To help you illustrate how rewarding a career in caregiving can be, we’ve created an infographic that charts one possible path. Share this with your caregivers to start the discussion and use this as a recruitment tool to demonstrate how your agency views the role of the caregiver over the next forty years.
#3 - Provide relevant caregiver training.
One you help you caregivers chart a career path, provide a mechanism to help them reach their goal. Caregivers should know that their agency cares about them and in doing so, promotes the spirit of becoming lifelong learners who want to deliver the best care. To do so, provide them with access to the proper training and tools to do their best work. Each state may have specific mandates, but consider adding online training to your training toolkit. Given the current climate, you’ll need to speed up caregiver time to market and therefore, can’t afford to wait for in-person training sessions to get them in the field. With online caregiver training, you can onboard a caregiver in a matter of hours, not weeks.
Furthermore, caregivers are natural self-starters so with ready access to the tools that empower them to deliver optimum care and meet their career goals, they will better represent your brand to clients and actively refer other caregivers to your agency. And with increased retention rates, you will spend less time recruiting and reduce the costly effect of high turnover.
#4 - Seize on untapped caregiver recruitment opportunities
44 million Millennials in the United States are now caring for aging parents, grandparents, and other loved ones all while juggling their job and finances – yet it is not a task they willingly took on. State programs are now in effect to pay family caregivers for their time and effort, but this is a unique opportunity for home care agencies to present career opportunities to Millennials who “fell into” the field and need to juggle home care for their loved one with the need to pay their bills. By demonstrating the available long-term career opportunities, home care agencies may be able to fill the talent gap in the next few years by offering a more comprehensive job option.