Updated: Feb 10
Being a caregiver is challenging work, and good caregivers are not easy to find. As it turns out, they are even more difficult to keep. A Home Care Benchmarking Study from 2021 has shed light on a shocking truth: the turnover rate for caregivers is 65.2%.
If you run an adult family home or an assisted living facility, chances are you have already witnessed this statistic in real life. It can be costly and time-consuming to keep training and onboarding new caregivers, only to have them leave after a few months or weeks.
Here are some of the most common reasons why caregivers quit their jobs, and what you, as an employer, can do to keep them.
Help Your Caregivers Learn and Grow
Caregiving is a very hands-on profession. There is, of course, theoretical knowledge a candidate may gain before they ever start working, but experience and continued education are indispensable if they want to become a truly skilled and efficient caregiver.
If it can be helped, try not to throw your inexperienced caregivers into hot water by sending them on the job alone and unprepared. Make sure there is a more experienced colleague who can show them the ropes.
If possible, offer to pay or reimburse them for their training costs. After all, you are investing in your business. Skilled workers are your biggest asset. Having solid support for the learning process will help a lot.
Streamline the Onboarding Process
The first few days on the job can be overwhelming for a new hire. The job itself is demanding, there’s no way around that. However, what kind of onboarding experience you provide for your new employees might determine whether they stay or quit.
What does that mean in practical terms?
Try to brief them as precisely as possible about their duties and what their working day will entail. Another common source of discontent are unpredictable schedules. If possible, try to work it out at least a little bit ahead of time, so that your employees know for instance when their shifts are and when they have training.
Finally, make sure that there is a person that will show them the ropes the first few days – whether that’s you, a supervisor, or a more experienced colleague doing the same job as them.
Make Sure Your Caregivers Feel Heard and Supported
As in any other job healthy and open communication is key. Nothing makes employee dissatisfaction grow like poor management.
A recent survey of 3000 American workers across ten industries has found that an overwhelming 82% of workers would quit their job because of bad management. Healthcare workers are most likely to quit for this reason – as many as 88% would leave over management concerns.
But what exactly constitutes good communication and good management?
First of all, communication with your caregivers should be regular. In addition to face to face conversations, consider phone calls and messages. Always communicate your expectations as clearly and specifically as possible very early in the process.
Apart from that, if your business has a large number of employees, you can also set up some sort of form for anonymous feedback to gauge the general job satisfaction of your employees. Sometimes people are more open about the things they are not happy about when they are certain they won’t get in trouble for their honesty.
Feedback goes both ways. Give your employees regular evaluations, perhaps monthly rather than yearly. That way they can feel proud and satisfied about the things they are doing well, and will have a clear indication of where they need to improve.
Or you can simply check in with them regularly to see how they are doing with the work. If they are having difficulty managing some tasks, you can work with them to find solutions or understand priorities so they understand how to structure their time.
It’s especially important that caregivers have someone skilled and more experienced than them whom they can talk to if they have questions about the job, about the tasks they are expected to perform, and especially about any problems they may face on the job.
Caregivers gain experience with difficult situations over time after helping a variety of clients. Brand new caregivers can benefit greatly with guidance from more experienced caregivers.
Bring Your Hiring Standards up to Par
One of the most common reasons why caregivers might be leaving their job is because they weren’t a good match for the job in the first place.
From an employer’s perspective, this can not only pose a huge financial problem but also negatively affect the reputation of your facility. Many employers pay for their employees’ caregiver training, on top of their regular salary.
If your caregivers leave as soon as their training is done, you lose both the money and the employee. In simple terms, you then have to find a new caregiver and go through the same thing again, hoping that they stay.
The solution to this particular problem is simple. Your hiring process needs to be stricter.
This might sound counterintuitive when you think about the statstics. There is a growing demand for caregivers in the US due to the aging population. By 2028, this field is projected to grow by another 1.3 million jobs, which means that it’s only going to get harder to find good caregivers.
When you are hiring, make sure you are completely open and honest.
In such a starved hiring market, when you have a willing applicant in front of you, it might be tempting to gloss over the duties that come with the position and make it sound less challenging than it is. But by being entirely honest about what the job entails, you are lowering the chances that your new employee will be dissatisfied and leave as soon as they discover the reality.
Be Flexible with Scheduling
Scheduling is one of the most common gripes that caregivers have when it comes to their job. It’s a difficult thing to balance. Overworking an employee with long hours or, for instance, always assigning them the night shift or weekend shifts is very likely to make them unhappy.
On the other hand, many caregivers are not satisfied with very short shifts because fewer hours comes with a lower salary.
Some employees might have special requests in terms of schedule due to family reasons, or because of conflicting schedules with their training.
The best way to navigate all of this is to talk openly with your employee and let them have a say in their own schedule. Try to work around their personal needs whenever possible, while prioritizing the needs of the clients they will serve.
It might be difficult to balance, but approaching it this way will help your caregivers feel supported. If a caregiver isn’t able to meet their own needs because of their work schedule, they will have a harder time caring for the needs of their clients and end up looking for different work.
Another way to help them is to suggest they complete their mandatory training fully online. This saves time and money when they don’t have to commute to classes, and gives them the freedom to study in their own time.
Cornerstone’s training programs are 100% online and can work with any schedule. Almost all of our classes are self-paced, so caregivers can start or stop classes at any hour of the day.
We also have a great team to help solve technical or learning difficulties, so you can focus on managing the day-to-day operations of your business, knowing that their education is in good hands.