Recruiting caregivers in the home care space has ALWAYS been difficult. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic (and all its associated challenges), things are even tougher.
What makes recruiting (and retaining) caregivers so challenging?
It’s tempting to blame the low pay, no benefits, lack of advancement opportunities, and unpredictable schedules. Those are all valid roadblocks that make entering and staying in the industry so difficult.
But now, COVID has added a few more barriers. Parents with kids who are learning remotely have limited ability to work outside of the home. People with underlying health conditions or those living with family members at risk must weigh the potential dangers of taking a job during the pandemic.
These combined factors have all decreased the pool of available caregiver applicants to dangerously low numbers.
It’s time to think outside the box!
The record-high job losses in retail, foodservice, and hospitality may be a windfall to the home care industry. This group of hardworking individuals has many of the same qualities employers look for in an excellent caregiver. They are service-minded, empathetic, and organized. They have great communication and time management skills.
How do you recruit, hire, and retain caregivers from another industry?
During the recruitment process:
- Mention other industries in your ad. Speak to out-of-work individuals directly by saying something like, “COVID-19 changed the way we experience retail and dining services. Once the pandemic is over, it’s unclear if things will ever go back to normal. Online shopping and on-demand food delivery services may decrease or even eliminate many of the jobs you used to do. Are you ready for a job with more stability? Working as a caregiver is recession-proof and pandemic-proof. There will always be a need for caregivers, and we have a job waiting for you right now!”
- Talk about having a career where they can “make a difference.” Remind applicants that this is an opportunity to do more than just “earn a paycheck.” Let them know that being a caregiver is a way to make a difference in the world, one person (or one family) at a time.
- Describe how the skills overlap. Let your applicants from other industries know they likely already possess some of the most important skills needed for the job. Tell them that just like retail or foodservice workers, caregivers must have excellent customer service skills, patience, kindness, empathy, organizational skills, and time management skills.
During the interview and hiring process:
- Acknowledge the elephant in the room. Some applicants may have an unfavorable view of the work. Be as transparent as possible. Let them know that while the work is rewarding, it’s not glamorous or easy. Ensure they understand there will be a certain level of commitment necessary to learn and apply some important new skills.
- Match new caregivers with a mentor. Allow new caregivers to speak to their peers and shadow a mentor before deciding to take the job. This will help clear up any misconceptions about the role and give new hires a realistic expectation of the job.
- Offer a strong training program. Remember, these potential caregivers are coming to you with little to no experience in caregiving. Set them on the right track by offering a comprehensive training program to fill any knowledge and skills gaps they may have.
- Follow-up regularly with new caregivers. As the new employee begins to take on cases, make a regular schedule to follow up with a phone call or video chat to determine how things are going. Be sure to ask what’s working and what’s not! Then, take steps to head off any frustrations or other issues before they become a reason for the caregiver to quit.
Take the next step!
If you don’t already have a caregiver training solution in place, consider getting one up and running right now! Reach out to a Caregiver Training Advisor today to request a demo of our platform and find out how easy it is to fit a comprehensive eLearning program into your caregiver training budget.