When Fortune magazine publishes the first-ever “Best Workplaces in Aging Services” list, don’t be surprised if the at-home care sector has a good showing.
To be considered for inclusion, home health and other senior care providers—such as assisted living and skilled nursing companies—had to complete an initial process by June 18, to become “certified.” With that deadline now past and the industry data being analyzed, some surprising results are emerging related to employee engagement.
“In terms of the at-home space, the surprise was how well they did,” Jacquelyn Kung, CEO of Activated Insights, told Home Health Care News.
Activated Insights is based out of the Great Place to Work corporate campus in San Francisco and is spearheading the creation of the aging services list. Kung brings industry knowledge from her time with organizations such as senior housing provider Erickson Living and home care software giant ClearCare.
To vie for a place on the “Best Workplaces in Aging Services” list, employers had to earn certification by submitting an application and having at least 55% of their workers complete a survey. It was this process that had to be completed by June 18, and since that time some home care providers have been publicizing that they achieved certification. Care Indeed, a non-medical home care provider in the Bay Area, is among these organizations.
“We strive to create an environment that recognizes employees as human beings, not resources,” CEO Dee Bustos stated in a June 27 press release. “We allow for autonomy by extending a certain amount of flexibility to help employees strengthen family ties at home. We want our employees to trust us, be proud of what they do, and see their coworkers as family. The challenge is to sustain the great workplace culture that we have achieved.”
Overall, participation in the “Great Place to Work” process has exceeded expectations.
“We expected for 100,000 employees to be surveyed this first year, and we had just under 150,000,” Kung said.
Typically, to be certified as a Great Place to Work, an organization has to achieve a score of at least 70 out of 100, based on employee survey results. For the first year of the aging services list, that threshold was lowered to 50. It will go up to 60 next year, and then to 70 the following year. However, many providers across the senior care spectrum got certified this year based on the usual standard of 70, which Kung described as “pleasantly surprising.”
That holds true in particular for companies that provide at-home services of all types.
“Medicare A reimbursed, Medicare B therapy, and private pay and Medicaid non-medical home care all did very well,” Kung said.
Some selection bias might be coming into play, she theorized. That is, providers might have been more likely to apply if they were confident in becoming certified. But some highly regarded organizations did not apply this year, Kung noted, and others applied even if they were uncertain of their chances.
“We got applicants who were not sure of their odds, or they said, ‘We’re probably not going to win, but what’s more important is knowing what our score is so we can improve,'” she said. “That was my favorite category.”
Some of those providers did in fact earn certification and were “ebullient” upon learning the news, she added.
Next, the Great Place to Work data team will take the results of all the certified providers and crunch the numbers using the same algorithm that generates the other Fortune “Best Workplaces” lists. The algorithm takes into account factors such as company size, complexity and consistency—for instance, to ensure that it is a great workplace for a diverse cross-section of people, not just a particular worker profile. This data analysis will then determine the final list, to be published in September.
Activated Insights is also starting to analyze how employee engagement scores correlate with performance metrics such as turnover, and is finding that the correlation is close. In other words, higher engagement equates to lower turnover.
This might seem to be common sense, but the ultimate goal is to actually be able to make predictions—being able to say, if a company’s engagement score goes up by X, its turnover will go down by Y.
“I think we’re going to get pretty predictive, because the correlations are pretty tight,” Kung said.
Written by Tim Mullaney