It’s hard to imagine that with the valuable work that caregivers do everyday, the average caregiver salary is only around $23,000 a year. That’s according to the most recent update in Glassdoor as of September 2020. It’s not surprising that with such a low salary, jobseekers might prefer to take a job at Walmart.
You might also be surprised to learn that more than 1 in 6 Americans who are working full-time or part-time report that they’re also assisting with the care of an elderly or disabled family member. It’s a harsh reality that makes the caregiver job even more difficult.
Caregiving has been labeled a national health crisis by the National Alliance for Caregiving.
A recent study conducted by MyCna jobs showed that 57% of home care agencies struggled with recruiting caregivers in 2020. 71% of home care agencies turned down a case because they didn’t have caregivers available.
According to the same study, COVID has also had a major impact on caregiver recruitment. In fact, 72% of the respondents said that the pandemic has made caregiver retention more difficult, and 87% said COVID made caregiver recruitment more challenging.
Listen to “1/27/21: Karina Tama-Rutigliano from Senior Care Clicks | THE CHALLENGE OF RECRUITING CAREGIVERS | Aging in Portland with Mark Turnbull from” on Spreaker.
What are the challenges that senior care businesses face when recruiting caregivers?
There are many challenges that senior care businesses such as home care agencies face.
The most common ones are:
It’s tough to find qualified candidates:
Every individual that applies won’t necessarily be qualified to be a caregiver. Either they don’t have the appropriate experience or they’re not licensed in the state they want to work in.
Finding local caregivers:
Chances are good that caregivers live in your community, but the challenge is finding them. The method of recruiting caregivers has changed in recent years. You’re not likely to get a good response from newspaper ads or forums like Craigslist. Caregiver recruiting today requires home care agency owners to be more active and involved in the process.
To be effective, they need to create strategies that will help them to locate and retain the best workers. For example, it helps to develop a profile of the best caregivers.
What qualities do your best caregivers have? Look for similarities as you search for new caregivers.
List the qualities of your best workers and look for similarities in their characteristics.
Note how they became acquainted with your agency. Ask them what motivates them to continue working for you.
Once you have a profile of the ideal caregiver, it should be fairly easy to create a recruiting strategy that attracts caregivers that match your ideal caregiver profile.
Turnover is a big issue for home care agencies. Once you have a solid team of quality caregivers, you want to incentivize them to stay on long term. Caregivers may have many options of other places to work in your community and it’s important to motivate your top caregivers to remain in your employment.
Quality caregivers enjoy their work, so money will only motivate them so much.
Actually, Here’s what the Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Survey had to say about the top reasons caregivers chose to work for an agency:
- Good working environment and benefits
- A work schedule that meets their lifestyle
- A company that has a good reputation
- A company that someone else recommended to them
What steps can home care agencies take to resolve the problem?
As we know, the challenges that home care agencies face to recruit and retain caregivers are pretty steep, but they’re not too difficult to overcome.
Based on my experience, I suggest tackling the problem by using the internet to reach more potential caregiver applicants.
There are many strategies and channels that work really well to recruit caregivers.
Facebook and Google ads. Why? Because they deliver fast results. Facebook has 190 millions users in the US and it offers a huge demographic to target your ads for recruiting caregivers.
Email and Text Message marketing – They’re both great because they allow you to follow up with every applicant. Let’s say you run ads, and in one month, you received 100 applicants. From these 100 leads, 50 were qualified. From these 50, you were able to hire 30 new caregivers and put them to work on your caseload right away.
I also suggest engaging with the other 20 qualified caregivers via email and text messaging so that you have applicants in the pipeline for when you need additional caregivers to take on new cases. In this way, you’re not wasting any of the resources that you already paid for.
I’ve seen that many home care agencies don’t use email or text messages to engage with caregivers at all. In my experience, they can be very effective.
Referral Program: I love referral programs because they’re a great and affordable way to get more caregiver applicants. I’ve done many referral programs for clients and they have really worked. The key is to define how much it costs to hire a new caregiver, and that can vary depending on the location.
Inclusive workplace policy: Do you know that 9% of caregivers self-identify as LGBTQ? It doesn’t sound like much but in an industry where there’s such a huge shortage of caregivers, it counts for a lot.
Therefore, it’s important to have an inclusive workplace policy and promote these values.
Education: Many caregivers want to learn more about caregiving in order to get better pay. Here are some ways to attract caregivers looking to improve their craft.
Create educational programs: Whether you’re deciding how much of your budget to allocate to caregiver training programs or trying to convince your boss to allocate more budget to caregiver training programs, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Providing options for online caregiver training allows caregivers to learn at their own pace, which makes a world of difference in keeping them engaged and helping them retain what they learn.
- Good caregiver training programs boost recruitment. They help you build a career ladder that can be a major draw for good caregivers in the area, if you use them properly.
- Providing paths for caregivers to upskill helps them to stay engaged in their work and they’re likely to see a long-term future within your agency.
Well-trained caregivers provide better care to clients, who in turn become more likely to stay with your agency longer, and they’ll probably refer their friends to your agency as well.
Honor your best caregivers: Create a caregiver of the month recognition program and honor the best caregivers by giving them something special. It could be a gift card or something similar. Or, you could offer a certificate and take a photo of the honoree that you can post on your blog and social media platforms.
You’ll find that your best care workers are motivated by recognition, rather than money.
How can digital marketing help to recruit caregivers?
Digital marketing is a key component for hiring caregivers because it offers the benefit of greater visibility through implementing different channels and strategies to reach new applicants, engage with previous ones, and ask for referrals.
Benefits of Digital Marketing: It’s low cost, gives measurable results, offers a global reach, and helps you keep up with the competition.
Another benefit of digital marketing is that it can be measured in real-time and it can be optimized accordingly. Let’s say a home care agency is running Facebook and Google ads to recruit caregivers. After a week, the data shows that Facebook is delivering more caregivers at a lower cost. The agency could then decide to pause the Google ads or increase the budget for Facebook ads.
Can you provide examples of successful recruitment campaigns?
Of course, I have many. I’d like to focus on a few that yielded great results.
We offer Facebook ads and advertisements on job boards where we know that caregivers are looking for jobs. Everyone is looking for jobs! So, the conversion rate for jobs is good–at right about 30% from job ads.
One client that invested $3000 a month in Facebook ads to recruit caregivers got around 4500 unique clicks to online job applications. Around 1350 caregivers applied for the job.
Let’s assume that 30% of this number are qualified caregivers, which would give you around 400 new caregivers. I dont have the exact number of how many caregivers my client hired but 30% is a decent assumption.
Another of my clients that has a lower budget invested $20 a day in advertising in a job board and obtained about 50 applicants. About half of the 50 applicants were qualified caregivers. They hired 25 of the applicants after spending only $550 which amounts to about $22 per new employee.
As another example, one of my clients has a home care agency in a small county in California where recruiting is really tough. They invested about $500 in advertising and in an email marketing referral program. They acquired about 20 applicants and 8 of them were qualified. They also got 8 more caregiver leads through referrals from the same campaign. The cost per new hire was about $31.
As you can see, the cost of acquiring caregivers varies a bit depending on the location. Digital marketing makes recruiting more affordable regardless of your location.
Why might a senior care business consider outsourcing the recruitment process?
Recruiting caregivers can be very expensive.
MyCNa jobs reports that the cost of recruiting a caregiver in 2017 was $469 per hire.
To get the best results, it’s best to assign one or more people that are dedicated solely to the task of recruitment. Agencies also need the appropriate software to be able to advertise job positions.
Outsourcing this task to a digital marketing agency can lower costs. Digital marketing can deliver caregiver applicants directly to your inbox by using strategies and channels that demonstrate proven results.
Karina has spent most of her career working in the senior care industry, mostly as a digital marketing manager for home care and nursing home facilities. With 8+ years of hands-on experience in digital marketing to her credit, Karina also worked as a consultant for senior care businesses. As someone who cares deeply for seniors and has expert skills in digital marketing, Karina founded SeniorCareClicks to fulfill her passion for her permanent career.
Karina and SeniorCareClicks have been featured in Home Health Care News, HomeCare Magazine, Forbes, The Nursing Home Podcast, and other media. Karina is “the premier expert in senior care marketing”!