Anybody who is running and trying to grow a home care business knows that this is a challenging but ultimately rewarding venture.
There are many complexities to deal with, especially since you’re working with vulnerable people who require utmost care and attention.
On the other hand, you should bear in mind that the home care workforce faces a unique set of risks and challenges that have been additionally aggravated by the COVID pandemic. We’re talking about those who provide help and assistance to people with chronic diseases, ill health, and the elderly in performing regular day-to-day activities such as taking a bath, toileting, getting dressed, or housekeeping. It’s not an overstatement to say their work is essential for the well-being of upwards of 7.5 million people in need of long-term care.
Coordinating all these demands, requirements, and peculiarities is essential in order to grow a home care business.
Here are some management strategies you can use to spur your home care agency growth while keeping your patients and employees happy.
Your employees are the single most important factor that contributes to the success or failure of your agency. Hence, if you want to grow your home care business and build it on a firm foundation, you need to be very careful to identify and recruit only those who will prove to be the best fit for your agency in the long run.
But this can be a difficult task, given that according to the latest projections, home health workers and personal care aides will be in high demand. Namely, the employment of these professionals is expected to grow 33% between 2020 and 2030.
It’s obvious that you’ll have to plan well in advance unless you want to scrape the barrel and settle for less.
Here are some of the best strategies for hiring top talent and growing your home care business.
Encourage employee referrals
Your existing employees are your best source of new hires. If they’re happy working for you, they will spread the word across their professional and personal circles, and provide you with a stream of reliable, high-quality workers.
To additionally amplify this strategy, you can introduce incentives and employee referral programs that will motivate your staff to help you recruit new employees.
Target passive candidates
Did you know that 70% of the global workforce consists of passive candidates? Those are people who aren’t actively looking for a new job.
But, they’re open for new opportunities, and it’s your chance to attract top talent and offer them a position.
You won’t find them on the job boards and websites. Instead, you should target them on social media and through the already mentioned referrals, and by showcasing your company culture on your website and relevant industry channels.
Make your agency a place where people want to work
Paying your employees properly should be high on your priority list, but a big fat paycheck isn’t the only reason why caregivers will decide to work for your agency. Fostering a positive work environment is the best way to attract and retain top talent, particularly in such a challenging niche.
If your employees are required to drive their own vehicles for work, it is advisable to have a employee mileage reimbursement policy in place.
Since you’re managing a remote workforce, it’s crucial to provide them with a sense of belonging to the organization and team. Keep the lines of communication open and check in on your caregivers regularly to see whether they’re struggling with some professional or personal issues.
Ensure Accountability Systems Right Away
Since most of your employees are remote, it’s only logical that you should establish some accountability systems that will ensure their productivity and the quality of their performance and keep your overhead costs in check.
You won’t be able to grow your home care business if you don’t know where exactly each employee is at any given moment of their work time, as well as if your company vehicles are used for running personal errands.
Luckily, with the help of home health software, you can monitor your employees, stay EVV compliant, and track your team’s mileage. Useful features that will allow you to stay on top of things include:
Time tracking. This feature gives you real-time insights into hours worked, attendance, and costs. Besides that, you can see when each employee clocks in or out, and ensure they always show up for appointments with patients on time, which is essential for maintaining an exceptional customer experience. Being late for work is something that caregivers can’t afford to do because it will shatter the patients’ trust and sense of stability. With Timeero, managers will also be notified about suspicious behavior such as exceeding overtime. Finally, it integrates smoothly with popular payroll and accounting solutions, meaning that you can approve timesheets, lock them to prevent subsequent changes, and export them to the payroll software of your choice.
Mileage tracking. If you’re worried that your employees might take longer routes or make detours on their way to an appointment, don’t be. Timeero prevents inaccurate reporting by capturing mileage in real-time and showing you the exact breadcrumb trail path of your employees’ movements while they’re at work.
GPS tracking. It’s virtually impossible to grow your home care business if you’re not compliant with federal and state regulations. Electronic visit verification has been introduced to make sure patients aren’t neglected and prevent fraud when it comes to documenting home visits. In other words, you need to be able to prove that your employees visited the patients assigned to them, that they stayed as long as it was necessary, and that each patient was correctly billed for the services they received. Also, you have to make these records accessible to authorities. Timeero’s combination of GPS and time tracking allows you to stay EVV compliant, obtain electronic proof of every visit, and protect your agency and reputation from potential legal disputes. In addition to that, you’ll have evidence of whether each member of your team is where they claim to be at any given moment.
All these features can be used even when your employees are offline and an additional benefit is that you don’t need to install expensive hardware - all you need is regular mobile devices and Timeero.
Create an Effective Schedule for Your Team
As the number of your patients and employees increases, scheduling becomes quite a complex feat.
With conflicting schedules, unattended, disappointed patients, and disgruntled employees unhappy about how their shifts are organized, you’ll be headed for a business disaster.
So, if you want to avoid this worst-case scenario and grow your home care business, it’s crucial to find a way to create a schedule that will ensure that every patient’s needs are met as well as that all your employees are happy with their working arrangements and shifts.
Let’s not forget that home care is a delicate matter since people need to include strangers in their lives and most intimate moments. No wonder that many patients feel much more comfortable, safer, and calmer when they’re always assigned the same caregiver, with whom they forged a strong and deep bond.
This means that you should ditch manual scheduling and implement an automated solution that will make this process, your operations, and overall management tasks infinitely easier. Again, Timeero has been designed with smooth scheduling in mind. This process doesn’t have to be like assembling a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle - you can have your schedule ready with only a couple of clicks. And it allows you to match patients with their favorite caregivers and take caregivers’ preferences into consideration.
In addition to that, even if someone suddenly calls in sick, you can easily reassign another employee to cover their shift using the “Who’s Working” tab.
And finally, coordinating last-minute changes has never been easier as your employees will receive an instant notification about any updates and changes in their schedule.
Build Your Client Base
All your efforts to grow your home care business will be in vain if you don’t build and expand your client base. Fewer clients mean less profit and no room for new business opportunities.
So, how do you get clients for your home care agency?
It’s best to create a comprehensive strategy that will cover all the bases and bring you new clients.
Spread the word
Use all the available channels to expand your reach and get the word out about all the benefits of opting for your home care services.
It’s a good idea to leverage social media platforms and engage the families of your existing patients. Sharing user generated content adds a sense of authenticity to your messaging and resonates with others that are in a similar situation.
You can also take advantage of paid ads - Google, Facebook, and Instagram offer a granular approach to this kind of marketing as you can target your audience with laser-like precision. Don’t hesitate to invest a portion of your budget into paid ads, as they will be displayed to those who have expressed an interest in home care by searching for agencies on the internet.
Referrals are particularly valuable when it comes to home care services. We’ve already mentioned that you can implement this strategy for sourcing new hires and it’s equally powerful for finding new clients.
The reason why referrals are so effective for getting new clients for your agency lies in the fact that people are inclined to trust the recommendations of friends and family. And if we bear in mind that everybody wants a reliable and trustworthy caregiver for their loved ones, it’s obvious why this strategy is so successful.
While it’s true that providing exceptional, compassionate, and tailored care to your patients is your No. 1 source of referrals, there’s nothing wrong in being proactive and asking your clients to put in a good word for you.
Your satisfied clients will be happy to share their positive experiences through word of mouth and promote your agency.
To streamline this process, provide referral forms either on your website or give them to your clients in person. Offering incentives such as a discount or a bonus service are a welcome addition.
Engage in networking
Connecting with people within and outside your industry is an indispensable step that can help you grow your home care business.
Getting in touch with doctors, pharmacists, employees or volunteers from local care or senior facilities. Also, register for and attend local healthcare events, as this is a great way to learn about the latest trends as well as to identify new business opportunities.
You can also apply to speak at such events, as that will allow you to establish yourself as an authority in your field and promote your agency.
Finally, by teaming up with local hospices, rehabilitation facilities, and similar institutions, you can tap into another source of potential clients.
Establish Quality Assurance
Providing exceptional customer service is a surefire way to grow your home care business.
But, in order to get there, you need to have a quality assurance system in place.
Since your employees are working remotely, you can’t always know how each visit went and whether there were some mistakes that should be prevented from happening.
That’s why it’s important to establish channels through which both your clients and employees can communicate their feedback. Some people don’t feel comfortable when they have to complain about something in person. So, giving them an opportunity to have their say in a safe environment will make it easier for them to open up.
Surveys can be a great way of feeling the pulse of your clients and preventing potential mistakes from slipping through the cracks and tarnishing your reputation.
It’s important to understand that new employees will make mistakes and that it’s not the end of the world. What is crucial is to let your staff know they should report these mistakes so that you can address and take steps to fix them.
So, How Do You Grow a Home Care Business?
Although providing top-notch service is a must if you want to grow a home care business, it’s still not enough. You need to plan management strategies that will coordinate all your efforts, implement automation, and build a strong team of dedicated professionals.