That’s how much higher the turnover rate is in home healthcare than in other industries.
Employee retention is one of the biggest industry challenges.
And this is one of the biggest industry questions: Should home healthcare agencies incentivize their aides to stay with them?
“Yes. Incentivize,” says Levi Pavlovsky, co-founder and COO of Medflyt, a digitized staffing platform, “but it’s not that simple.”
The obvious incentive is a pay raise. If an agency incentivized healthcare workers with higher than average salaries, there’s no question that it would attract and retain top talent.
But, as all agency owners know, they’re limited in what they can pay. Insurance companies and Medicare set the prices for home healthcare services. Profit margins are already razor-thin. They wouldn’t survive a pay raise.
NY Wage Parity Law sets a minimum living wage for HHAs who do Medicaid reimbursed work. Agencies can’t go higher than that, even to gain a competitive recruitment advantage.
The good news is, not all incentives have dollar signs. Any reward you give an employee for meeting or exceeding expectations is incentivizing.
Showing appreciation creates goodwill and loyalty. It encourages continued excellence.
“Giving gift cards was the top method of showing appreciation to caregivers in 2017. Over 90% of home care agencies reported that they used this method.”
In every industry, leaders try to find creative ways to reward top workers.
Mega-corporations can afford to go all out. For example, insurance giant AFLAC hosts a six-day Employee Appreciation Week. They treat employees to theme park visits, movie showings, concerts, dinners, and prize giveaways.
Your agency may need to think a bit smaller, but there are still countless incentive options. Some of these do cost money, but the price tag is much lower than company-wide pay raises. (Or Six Flags for all.)
|Creative Employee Incentives|
Incentives for home healthcare providers
Incentives at a posh law firm look very different from incentives at Burger King. The better the fit with your workforce, the more effective the incentives will be.
So, which incentives are the “best fit” for home healthcare providers?
Budget and logistics will inform the choice, of course. After that, consider what need you can fill for your employees.
Levi identifies three areas of frustration for HHAs:
- No career growth
- Feeling disrespected and unappreciated
Within each frustration lies an opportunity for you to fill the void and win their loyalty. Let’s examine these one by one.
1. No career growth
Consider the typical profile of an HHA-
- 88% female
- Median age of 45
- 50% with no formal education beyond high school
- >50% are nonwhite
- 25% immigrants
Many HHAs lacked educational opportunities in the past. But that doesn’t mean they lack ambition. Just the opposite! Levi explains that now they’re looking to “advance, develop, and earn a higher salary.”
FILL THE VOID:
Surveys indicate that aides have a keen interest in professional development and career growth. You can try incentivizing your top healthcare professionals with:
- Live workshops
- Access to online courses.
Upskilling your top aides is a win-win: they get the growth opportunities they want and you get a more qualified workforce.
2. Feeling disrespected and unappreciated
Especially in the early days of COVID, HHAs put their lives on the line to care for those who needed it most. But even in “normal” times, their work is physically and emotionally demanding. At times, aides work overtime without pay so their clients won’t be alone. And their services are just as life-saving to their patients as skilled nursing care.
However, HHAs generally don’t feel appreciated. Their salaries are at minimum wage. They’re considered “just” an aide. The healthcare system punishes failures, but doesn’t necessarily acknowledge success.
FILL THE VOID:
A little recognition goes a long way. HHAs who feel appreciated for their excellent care can continue to work with dedication.
The best part is that most forms of recognition are 100% free:
- Verbal or written thank yous
- Being included on agency committees
Tom Mendoza, former President of NetApp, used to call 10 – 20 employees every day to thank them personally.
Home healthcare aides have a lonely job. Yes, they spend hours as companions to their patients. But since they work off-site from the agency office, they rarely get professional peer interactions or feedback from their employers. As a result, they bear emotional burdens, such as worry for their elderly patients, alone.
FILL THE VOID:
Get-togethers and group activities are highly desirable incentives to HHAs. They’re a chance to compare notes, “talk shop,” and support each other. Aides also crave feedback and recognition from management.
Incentivizing high performers with in-person opportunities helps engage employees and boost company morale:
- Group meetings
- Team building activities
- Chance to spend time with company execs
Every hour and every dollar that goes into employee incentives is an investment. “Empowered and engaged caregivers lead to agency growth,” says Levi.
Agencies with satisfied aides see higher patient satisfaction and quality of care. They spend less time on annoyances like missing documentation.
Most significantly, they see high levels of retention. Levi estimates that the cost of hiring a new aide is $1000 each. That savings alone makes every incentive worth the price.
And while not in the category of incentives, wage parity benefits work alongside rewards to accomplish the same goals. Agencies that choose top benefits and educate employees on maximizing them see retention rates way above the industry average.