Finding Caregivers in a COVID World

February 22, 2022

Recruitment has always been one of the biggest challenges in the home care industry—even before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The demand for in-home care is constantly increasing—and the competition for caregivers is fiercer than ever. The home health care sector is projected to grow by 33 percent within the next decade, making it one of the fastest-growing occupations. At the same time, countless agencies are fighting the war for talent to attract skilled candidates, stand out from the competition, and retain their current employees.

So, how can you keep up with the growing demand in such a tight labor market?

There’s no denying that attracting and retaining talent can be tough, especially with so many agencies competing for the same candidates. That’s why you need to start rethinking your company’s recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process.

Caregivers are the most valuable asset of your agency, and you need to build a pipeline of qualified caregivers to keep your agency running smoothly. To differentiate yourself from other home care agencies, you need to get creative to recruit and retain the talent needed to provide quality care in your community.

Is your recruitment strategy up for the challenge? Here’s how to tap into your recruitment toolkit to meet your company’s hiring goals.



Craft an Active Recruitment Strategy

With a record-breaking number of open positions and a rapidly growing home care industry, competition for senior care providers is tighter than ever. To win at recruitment, you need to meet your employees where they are, differentiate yourself from the competition, and captivate them with an offer they can’t refuse.

The first step? Streamline your recruitment process. Here’s how to level up your recruitment strategy so you can start sending skilled caregivers down the pipeline.


1. Adopt a Multichannel Strategy

Let’s face it: The old-school “post and pray” strategy isn’t going to cut it anymore. Instead of passively recruiting on job boards and hoping for the best, it’s time to adopt a proactive multichannel strategy. To attract the best senior care providers, you need to meet them where they already are: online.

This might mean advertising job openings on Facebook, contacting candidates on LinkedIn, or retargeting previous candidates with email marketing to keep them in your talent pipeline. Even if your ideal candidates apply right away, a multichannel omni-recruiting strategy is key to building brand awareness and keeping your brand top of mind.


2. Hire a Full-Time Recruiter

The ever-increasing demand to recruit qualified candidates can become overwhelming. Recruiting top talent is a long-term, sustained effort—and you need to work to dedicate time to recruitment every day to find the best people for the job. If you don’t have someone fully devoting themselves to your recruitment efforts, it’s time for a change. 

A full-time recruiter not only focuses on filling open positions, but they’ll also implement proactive recruitment strategies. Your recruitment expert can streamline the hiring process across your company to improve interview response times, fill open positions more quickly, and create more consistency in your hiring process.

If you’re trying to scale your home care agency, a contract recruiter might be your best option. When you’re ready to get strategic about the recruitment process, a full-time recruiter can make all the difference on your bottom line.


3. Incentivize Word-of-Mouth Referrals

When we’re making decisions, we rely on the opinions of friends, family, and even strangers to guide our choices. When deciding between competitors while shopping online, 89 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision.

The same applies to the job market. When potential candidates are searching for a new job, more than half of job seekers apply to companies that were recommended by other people. So, what does that mean for your recruitment strategy? To find qualified caregivers and outpace the competition, you need word-of-mouth recruitment.

The secret to successful word-of-mouth recruitment? Employee satisfaction. When your current employees are happy, they’re more likely to recommend your job openings. You need to value, respect, and listen to your current employees before you start asking them to spread the word about your business. Once you’ve built an employee-oriented company culture, it’s time to work on your referral program.

Referral programs are a triple-win for you, your employees, and candidates. Think about it: You get more applications from qualified candidates. At the same time, your employees get incentivized by a referral fee, and your referred candidates have an advantage over other applicants. 

Whether you incentivize employees with a cash bonus, extra time off, or other perks, they’re more likely to go out of their way to recommend your company to their network.



Build an Employee-Oriented Company Culture

The new year offers employers the opportunity to reflect on their company’s recent challenges. It’s also the perfect time to renew your company culture.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly draining for blue-collar workers—and caregivers are tired of feeling overwhelmed. They’re sick of dealing with inflexible schedules, workplace discrimination, lack of benefits, and low pay. To set yourself apart from the competition and win the war for top talent, you need to create a better work environment for your employees.

When your potential candidates can see and feel the positive energy that comes with your company, they’ll be that much more motivated to apply. A positive company culture will also boost productivity and promote employee retention, helping you build long-term relationships with your current employees.

Here’s how to build an employee-centric culture that respects and values your caregivers.


1. Take Care of Your Employees

Your people are the building blocks of your organization. If you’re not taking care of your current employees, your lack of empathy and respect is going to reflect on your company culture.

Support your employees and listen to their concerns. Let them know what’s going on within the company, and take steps to build a positive work environment for your caregivers. According to research by CultureIQ, 86 percent of employees who work in a strong company culture feel their senior leadership listens to employees. When you value your employees and help them grow, you’ll build a loyal team that can accomplish anything.


2. Foster Employee Connection

Workplace relationships play an important role in company culture. When employees barely know their coworkers and rarely interact, there’s no way to build a positive work environment.

Even if your caregivers spend most of their time in the field, it’s essential to provide opportunities for social interactions. Consider hosting weekly team meals, happy hour excursions, or even weekly team Skype calls to encourage employee connection and build a positive company culture.


3. Create Flexible Workplace Policies

To retain your current employees and build an employee-centric culture, you need to understand their personal challenges. Unfortunately, for most employers, this perspective rarely comes into play when creating workplace policies. In fact, 55 percent of blue-collar workers believe that their employer does not understand the personal challenges they face—and common challenges for high-income earners can represent major issues for hourly caregivers.

That’s where shift flexibility programs, flexible attendance policies, and paid time off programs can transform your company culture. Some of your caregivers might prefer working longer days and shorter workweeks. Some might strive for extra pay through overtime, while others prefer spending time with their families. As much as your workload allows, try offering flexibility to keep your employees motivated and productive.



Improve the Hiring Process

Contrary to popular belief, hiring is much more complicated than just reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. Even seemingly small mistakes—from a lack of communication to poorly written job descriptions—can send your ideal candidates straight to the competition.

Smart home care agencies understand that seamless, strategic, and fast-paced hiring processes are essential to maintain a network of talented caregivers and deliver the best care for their patients. Here’s how to upgrade your hiring process so you can recruit the best candidates.


1. Offer a Mobile-Friendly Application

According to Pew Research, 94 percent of smartphone job seekers have used their phone to research jobs online, while 50 percent have used their jobs to fill out a mobile application. Your ideal candidates expect to apply for jobs from their phones. Why not make the application process as easy as possible?

When prospective candidates are navigating the job search, they want applications that are accessible, timely, and easy to comprehend. A mobile-friendly application process makes it easy for applicants to apply on the go—and it’s non-negotiable if you want to attract top talent.


2. Re-evaluate Your Screening Criteria

You’re sourcing candidates who match your job description, fit the company’s values, and nail the interview. But before you can extend a job offer, your candidate changes their mind about the position.

If your ideal candidates are constantly dropping out of the hiring process, it’s time to take a step back. Consider whether your screening process is too rigid or discourages applicants from moving forward. For example, a candidate with a great work history and interest in helping other people might be the perfect match for your home health aide position—even if they don’t have CPR training.

Instead of checking all the boxes, focus on hiring people with the right soft skills who are willing to learn. This way, you’ll train loyal, long-term employees instead of people with the right qualifications who aren’t genuinely invested in the job.


3. Respond to Applicants Quickly

To dominate the competition, you need to build an interviewing and hiring process that’s as smooth and fast as possible. Chances are, for every candidate you’re considering, someone else—a recruiter, another agency—is considering them as well. 

By the time you finally get around to scheduling an interview, the ink could be drying on their new contract with the competition. Speed matters—and you need to perfect your response times to hire the best caregivers.

So, how do you speed up the interview process? Start by investing in quality applicant tracking software to streamline your entire hiring process. This way, you’ll be able to effectively sort through applicants, follow up with qualified candidates, and move them through the talent pipeline as quickly as possible.



Tap Into Your Recruitment Toolkit

There’s no question that the pandemic has given workers a key advantage over employers. The need to reinvent your recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process is greater than ever—and you need to start selling your home care agency to your ideal candidates if you want to gain the upper hand.

Ready to win the war for talent? Schedule a discovery call with our team to level up your recruitment strategy and scale your home care agency with skilled caregivers.

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