In our continuing effort to keep our finger on the pulse of how caregivers feel about their jobs, we surveyed thousands of caregivers (who took one or more of our courses) over the past few months. The survey is still ongoing, but so far has revealed some interesting insights into caregivers’ day-to-day lives on the job.

This part wasn’t too surprising.

We assumed caregivers have had to deal with difficult clients before. And we were right.

  • Nearly 90% of all the caregivers we surveyed said they have had to deal with a difficult client on the job.

To follow up, we asked “How did you handle the difficult client? And also unsurprisingly, we learned that most caregivers knew exactly what to do to handle the situation.

  • More than 60% said, “I kept my cool and stayed calm.”
  • Another 25% said, “I tried to offer food, rest, toilet, pain relief, etc.”

Then we switched things up a little!

We wanted to know if caregivers were equally prepared to deal with a difficult co-worker. We asked, “Have you ever had to deal with a difficult co-worker?

  • A little more than 83% said, “Yes.”

And, again to follow up we asked, “How did you handle the difficult co-worker?” Here’s what they told us:

  • 2% said, “I quit.”
  • 3% asked to be transferred.
  • 4% said, “I asked the person to stop being difficult.”
  • 5% said, “We got into an argument.”
  • 14% said, “I ignored him or her.”
  • 19% asked the person for respect & kindness.
  • 45% said, “I asked my supervisor for help.”

And finally, we asked, “Was the problem with the difficult co-worker resolved?”

  • 14% said, “Yes.”
  • 76% said, “No.”

How would you respond?

Nearly half of the respondents said they asked their supervisor for help. Yet, only 14% were able to have the situation resolved. What would you do if a caregiver came to you with this type of problem? Here are a few tips:

1. DON’T IGNORE THE PROBLEM.

Ignoring the problem may seem like the easiest thing to do – but it’s not the most productive! The problem is not likely to resolve itself.

2. KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL.

These types of issues annoy every supervisor. You’re not alone. You may feel tempted to point out to your employees that you are not their parent, babysitter, or referee. But, that’s not helpful. Maintain a professional tone and attitude.

3. LISTEN.

Listen carefully to what the person says about the difficult co-worker. Let your employee know you hear her and take the problem seriously.

4. PINPOINT THE PROBLEM.

More often than not, difficulties between co-workers can be traced to problems with “soft skills.”

What are soft skills?

“Soft skills” are also known as people skills or interpersonal skills. These terms refer to all the personal attitudes and behaviors people use to relate to others professionally and productively.

Having good “People Skills” means your caregivers have empathy, self-awareness, flexibility, problems solving skills, time management skills, excellent communication, and strong work ethics.

Can soft skills be taught?

You bet they can! Experts believe soft skills are best taught through a combination of formal training and one-on-one coaching.

How do you do it?

Download INSPIRE YOUR ORDINARY TEAM TO DELIVER EXTRAORDINARY CARE. In it, you’ll find the People Skills Inventory. This is a brief questionnaire any supervisor can use to pinpoint their team’s strengths and weaknesses. Results offer plenty of suggestions on how to address your team’s weaknesses with targeted training topics.

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