Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Retain Your Best Caregivers: Top Techniques to Make Employees Feel Valued and Appreciated

By Stephen Tweed

What does it cost you when a caregiver quits?  How much easier would your life be if you could reduce your turnover and keep your best caregivers?
Data from the 2013 Private Duty Benchmarking Study from Home Care Pulse shows that the median caregiver turnover rate last year was 52.6%.  That’s up from 49.8% from the 2012 study, and we’ll have the 2014 study numbers shortly.

Research conducted by Leading Home Care and Caregiver Quality Assurance® in developing our “Cost of a Bad Hire Calculator” shows that it costs you $1,576.24 when you take into account hiring costs, on-boarding costs, and lost opportunity costs.  That doesn’t include the loss of reputation and customer satisfaction. 
It’s clear that one element of growing a highly successful home care company is to have in place processes to retain your very best caregivers.  Data from the 2013 Private Duty Benchmarking Study show that the number one way to retain caregivers is through consistently showing appreciation and recognition, and the number one  way that caregivers prefer to be recognized is “verbal recognition by Supervisor.”

In this interactive web conference, Stephen Tweed, the CEO of Leading Home Care and Founder of Caregiver Quality Assurance® will describe in detail what you need to know about caregiver appreciation and recognition, and give you some concrete ways you can make your caregivers feel more valued and appreciated. 
The numbers show that if you if you can save just one caregiver from quitting, you’ll pay for this web conference 15 times over.  Where else can you get a 15:1 return on your investment of time and money.

Join us on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm eastern time for “Retainthe Best Caregivers: Top Techniques to make your caregivers feel valued andappreciated”, with Stephen Tweed and Diane West.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's Your Social Media Policy for Employees

We recently had a great question on the Private Duty Marketing discussion group on Linked In that asked:

"How do other home care services deal with Social Media and there employees?"

This generated some great discussion and caused us to explore this issue more closely.  What is your policy regarding employees use of social media?  How will you handle it if an employee posts something on a blog, Facebook, or Linked In that has a negative impact on your company?

In exploring this issue, we came across a number of samples of company policies regarding use of social media.  Here is a compilation of points that various companies use in their policy.  Take a look.  Then let us know what you think.  You can also join in this conversation in the Private Duty Marketing discussion group.
  • When posting your point of view, you should neither claim nor imply you are speaking on Cisco’s behalf, unless you are authorized in writing by your manager to do so. If you identify yourself as a Cisco employee on any Internet posting, refer to the work done by Cisco or provide a link on a Cisco website, you are required to include the following disclaimer in a reasonably prominent place: “the views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cisco.”
  • Use a disclaimer. When Apple wishes to communicate publicly as a company it has well established means to do so. Only those individuals officially designated by Apple have the authority to speak on behalf of the company. If you identify yourself as an Apple employee, however, people may confuse your opinions with those of the company. In order to avoid this problem you must make clear that you are writing for yourself and on your own behalf, and not for Apple. At a minimum, we strongly recommend that you include a disclaimer similar to the following: “the postings on this site are my own and do not represent Apple’s opinions or positions.”
  • Basically, if you find yourself wondering if you can talk about something you learned at work -- don’t. Follow Best Buy’s policies and live the company’s values and philosophies. They’re there for a reason.
Just in case you are forgetful or ignore the guidelines above, here’s what could happen. You could:
• Get fired (and it’s embarrassing to lose your job for something that’s so easily avoided)
• Get Best Buy in legal trouble with customers or investors
• Cost us the ability to get and keep customers

Social Media lets you communicate incredibly fast and have your message go viral in seconds. This makes it difficult to fix an inaccurate message once you've shared it. The best thing to do is double check all content before you share it, both for accuracy and to make sure it fits into Dell's overall Social Media strategy, our Code of Conduct and any restrictions that may apply to your content based on local law (such as the FTC Endorsement Guidelines in the US) and the platform you are using (such as terms of service for the site upon which you are sharing). One of Dell's core values is winning with integrity, and that applies to Social Media as well. Dell employees hold ourselves to high ethical standards, as our Code of Conduct spells out, and that applies to Social Media just like everything else you do as a Dell employee.
Here's a link to the full texts of these and other company social media policies. 

Employee Engagement - How Are You Doing?

Do you ever wonder if your employees (caregivers and office staff) are engaged and equipped to do the best job possible?  Well, ask them!

Another article in the special "Build" supplement section of last month's Inc. magazine, discussed Gallup's recent report on employee engagement and offers a quick "tool" that may help you find out how you are doing.  The article points out that accurately measuring engagement will not only allow you to assess how happy your employees are on the job, but also determine whether that overflows into the employees' job performance.

Here are the 12 True/False questions that Gallup asked more than 25 million employees across 189 countries:
  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the past seven days, I have received recognition or praise for good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinion seems to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the past six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. In the past year, I have have opportunities at work to learn and grow.
The first two criteria are critical; they address employees' primary needs.  The others address three stages: how workers contribute to the whole and are valued; organizational fit; and development.
This is a quick and interesting way that you could poll your caregiver and employees to get a feel for how you are doing with engaging and equipping your caregivers for success, which translates to the success of your company.  Looking at the data as a whole will give you a good indication of what you are doing right and also areas where you could improve in terms of caregiver training and retention strategies.

You can read more about this topic and many others at and

What are some ways that you assess employee engagement at your company?

What Are You Doing to Recognize and Reward Caregivers?

By Jill Scott, Manager of Member Services for The Academy for Private Duty Home Care

This week I've been reading the last issue of Inc. Magazine and came across a couple short, but great, articles in the "Build" section at the end of the magazine.  Interestingly, the Build section focuses on "Management insights for leaders of high-growth companies" and specifically how to recruit, reward and retain top talent. Fits right in with Leading Home Care and Caregiver Quality Assurance, huh!?

The first article that caught my eye was "What motivates employees to perform at their best? Rewards, yes, but perhaps not the kind you'd expect."  From our research and also the results of the 2013 Private Duty Benchmarking Study by Home Care Pulse, appreciation and recognition are the top ways to retain caregivers.  This article indicates that companies are moving away from cash rewards and are offering travel incentives; however, they offer this caveat:
"Recent studies show that employees respond better to noncash rewards and other incentives than they do to an extra injection of moolah. It is, however, a fine line. According to the Journal of Economic Psychology, employees do choose cash over noncash rewards when given the choice in the abstract. But they change their minds when presented with a specific noncash reward. More important, other research suggests that noncash incentives produce a greater measurable boost in productivity than cash does."
Not only is it interesting to see that companies are offering different methods of reward and recognition to employees who earn it, but the research is showing that the employees that do earn these rewards in turn are more loyal to their employer and are more productive on the job.

Now, we understand that travel incentives and time off may not be realistic for your company at this point, especially considering cost alone, but there are ways that you could offer specific non-cash rewards that fit your budget that will still have a positive effect on your turnover rate and employee loyalty.  For example, you could offer gift cards to a local upscale restaurant so a caregiver can have a nice evening out on the town (and maybe even arrange for childcare, if they have children at home).  Or, if you have caregivers that travel long distances, offer gift cards to gas stations.  There are lots of ways you can offer non-cash rewards and recognition to employees that don't have to cost as much as a vacation to the Bahamas. Just make sure you carefully define how and why a caregiver can earn such rewards, so you aren't necessarily handing them out to everyone or alternatively, no one is able to earn them.

What are some ways that you reward and recognize your caregivers and office staff?

Do you find that it encourages loyalty and increases productivity?

I'll pass along interesting articles and information that I find in Inc. and on The Build Network, but I encourage you to take a look at the information they have available, too.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tennies for Teenz - making a difference this Christmas

Dear Friends of Leading Home Care, Caregiver Quality Assurance®, and The Academy for Private Duty Home Care®,

December is a time of celebration, family, gift giving, and making a difference.  I'm sure you have a number of charities and worthy causes that you support and we applaud you for that.  If you have a few minutes and a few dollars left in your charitable giving account, I'd like to ask you to take a look at a very special program that we have started this year at Leading Home Care.

Here's the story.  

My wife and business partner, Elizabeth Jeffries, and I actively support a social service agency here in Louisville called MaryhurstMaryhurst is a not-for-profit social service organization that provides housing, education, and support to children who have been removed from their homes in crisis because they have been abused or neglected.  For many of these young people, Maryhurst is the only answer.  Recognized as one of the few agencies in the country that is capable of caring for teenage girls who are among the most traumatized victims, Maryhurst helps those who have no where else to turn for healing and hope.

The short story is that when these girls arrive at Maryhurst, they often have all of the possessions in a garbage bag.  They have few clothes and no tennis shoes.  The facility has a new gym and activities center, and the CEO, Judy Lambert, asked us to help stock a closet of tennis shoes and gym clothes for the new kids coming in.   Read ...

We'll Match Your Gift 

If you are willing to dig in and give us $10, $25, $50, or $100, we'll match it.  Click on the link below and read the full story.  Then make a donation.  Our goal is to raise $3,000 for the "Tennies for Teenz" program for 2014.  Every little bit helps, so if you would like to support us, we'd really appreciate it.

Best wishes for a joyous Christmas and a prosperous New Year!


Stephen Tweed, CSP
Leading Home Care ... a Tweed Jeffries company 
Past President, National Speakers Association
Past President, NSA Kentucky
Immediate Past Chair, NSA Foundation

What Owners Want in an Applicant Tracking System Diane West

One of the things that many of the members of Caregiver Quality Assurance® ask about  is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This is an online system where applicants can answer some qualifying questions and complete an application.  Then you can track their progress through the selection and hiring process.

We've been exploring available applicant tracking systems to see if we can find one that we can integrate with the CQA pre-employment assessment system to make it easier for you to take applications, do an initial screening, administer the CQA assessment, and document  your face-to-face interview.

In our last issue, we asked you to take a few minutes to complete a short survey about applicant tracking systems to find out what features are most important to you.

Here's What You Told Us.

We had twenty four home care business owners respond to our survey and tell us the most important features they would look for in an ATS.  Here are the top five requests:
  1. Easy to Implement - 87.5%
  2. Ease of use for applicants - 79.1%
  3. Ability to send automatic responses to unqualified applicants - 66.6%
  4. Integrates with scheduling software and /or CQA assessment - 66.6%
  5. Ability to personalize the application process - 58.3%
You also asked that it include a database of all applicants including those not selected so you'll know who has applied previously, and why. You want a system that is easy to search for candidates to fit a specific client need.

We've been talking with several providers of applicant tracking systems, and with our scheduling software Resource Partners Home Trak, AppointMate, and Stratis, about integrating applicant tracking with the CQA system and scheduling software.

If you are currently using, or have found, an applicant tracking system that you think fits those requirements, please let us know so what we can check it out.  You can call me at 502-339-2132 or send an email.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Safety and Security for Caregivers in the Home past week, Stephen Tweed, CEO of Leading Home Care and Founder of Caregiver Quality Assurance® was interviewed by Heather Caspi, a writer for EMS World, a publication for Emergency Medical Services.  Heather was doing research on a article about safety issues for emergency responders.

In the article, Heather wrote about the types of precautions that home care and hospice companies take to assure the safety of their in-home care workers.  There are some clear parallels between the safety precautions of Emergency Medical Service responders and home care workers. 

Here are some excerpts from her article:

Home-health agencies have long dealt with this aspect of care delivery, facing questions of security for lone, usually female, care providers. Another way in which the home-health care industry mirrors EMS is that it encompasses numerous business models and forms of care delivery, and has no single lead organization or set of standards.

"Much of the variation in safety policies occurs by geography and business type," Tweed says.
While issues like assault can occur anywhere, the concern is typically highest in high-crime areas.
"Training, including that for safety, is also commonly tied to the level of skill provided by an agency, plus factors of time, pay rate and levels of education," Tweed says.
He notes there are five distinct types of home health agencies that can all have their own approaches: skilled intermittent care; hospice; home medical equipment providers; home infusion therapy; and private duty home care, which ranges from non-medical personal care to companionship.

(Read the Full Article)

How Do You Assure the Safety of your Caregivers?

Every owner and administrator is concerned about the safety and security of their home care workers. Yet there are many different approaches. 

What are your policies and procedures for assuring the safety and security of your in-home care workers?

What kinds of incidents have you had in the past that we can learn from?

What recommendations would you make to other readers on safety precautions and training?