Fortune’s first-ever list of the top 50 workplaces in the aging services sector officially dropped on Thursday, giving several home-based care providers a chance to shine and flaunt their company culture.
Care Indeed, Cherished Companions Home Care and 24Hr HomeCare are among the non-medical home care companies to make 2018’s top workplaces list, compiled by Activated Insights, a Great Place to Work subsidiary focused on senior care. Great Lakes Caring — now a part of the recently formed home health, personal care and hospice powerhouse Elara Caring — headlined the group of majority Medicare-certified home health and hospice providers that made the cut.
To put together the inaugural Best Workplaces in Aging Services list, broken down into senior housing and at-home care categories, Great Place to Work analyzed survey results from more than 162,000 employees across nearly all 50 states. Top workplaces were evaluated based on a variety of factors, including respect, fairness and leadership competence.
One of the most surprising takeaways from this year’s list: Home- and community-based care workers generally like their workplaces more than their senior housing and skilled nursing facility peers.
“As a category of home- and community-based services, the average score was higher than the senior housing and care category,” Activated Insights CEO Jacquelyn Kung told Home Health Care News. “The overall employee Trust Index score was higher, which I found surprising.”
Broadly, the Great Place to Work’s Trust Index gauges employee experience and perception of their workplaces. The positive feedback from home- and community-based care workers was striking, Kung said, because employees are so often disconnected from office support and colleagues while they’re out in the field.
“A lot of people, including myself, had the ingoing hypothesis that they would be at least equally — if not less — happy,” Kung said. “No. It turns out, on average, employees who work on the home- and community-based care side are happier.”
Closer relationships with seniors is one possible explanation for the higher satisfaction levels, she said.
Reviewing the results
Throughout its research, Great Place to Work has found that great workplaces consistently see higher revenue growth and lower turnover rates than their less-than-spectacular competitors.
That’s a point likely to get the attention of the several thousand home care and home health agencies operating across the country, especially as they juggle with the looming wave of retiring baby boomers and an inevitable caregiver shortage, Kung said.
Menlo Park, California-based Care Indeed checked in at No. 2 in the at-home category. More than 90% of Care Indeed’s surveyed employees reported that their workplaces have great atmospheres, rewards, communication and bosses.
Care Indeed provides non-medical home care — hourly or live-in — throughout parts of central California and in Seattle.
“Care Indeed takes great pride in creating a culture of kindness, compassion and authenticity,” Care Indeed COO Vanessa Valerio told Home Health Care News in a statement. “While we want Care Indeed to remain profitable and continue to grow, we will not do anything that will harm or negatively affect the things that have made our company successful. Efficiency and profitability are great, but if they threaten our company’s core value in any way, we will not go that route.”
To create a successful workplace culture, Care Indeed has taken steps to recognize caregivers through a monthly appreciation day. The company also provides food and other perks to employees, while organizing social events, sports tournaments and quarterly support groups.
“We serve two sides of the home care equation: care recipients and care providers,” Valerio said. “I strongly feel that using this achievement helps improve our market positioning in this industry. The quality of service that our caregivers provide is greatly influenced by the quality of service they receive from the company.”
In addition to Care Indeed, Cherished Companions Home Care (No. 3) and 24Hr HomeCare (No.4), Care to Stay Home (No. 6) and CompassCare, LLC (No. 9) also made Fortune’s list of best workplaces in aging services on the non-medical front.
In terms of Medicare home health companies, Great Lakes Caring earned the highest spot on the list, coming in at No. 5. Backed by private equity firms Blue Wolf Capital Parters and Kelso & Company, Michigan-based Great Lakes Caring merged with Texas-based Jordan Health Services and Connecticut-based National Home Health Care earlier this year. The three companies combined into Addison, Texas-based Elara Caring.
“We look forward to introducing these engagement attributes from the Great Lakes Caring culture throughout Elara Caring,” Scott Herman, Elara Caring CEO, told HHCN in an email. “Great Lakes Caring’s dedication to high quality patient care is representative of our mission, to provide patients with the right care, at the right time, and in the right place.”
Elara Caring serves more than 65,000 patients daily across 16 states, employing about 32,500 caregivers in total.
“Home health and Hospice workers are faced with challenging work day in and day out — taking care of the sick and aging,” Marcy Miller, chief nursing officer at Elara Caring, told HHCN in an email. “We must provide them with a support system, provide them with the tools they need to succeed, and remind them daily how important their contributions are to our patients.”
Other majority Medicare certified home health and hospice providers on the list include Constellation Health Services (No. 7), Grandcare Health Services (No. 8) and Alacare Home Health and Hospice (No. 10).
The No. 1 spot in the at-home care category went to Dallas-based Eagle Creek Therapy Services.
For consideration, companies in the 50 Best Workplaces for Aging Services list had to first achieve Great Place to Work certification. The certification process involves submitting an application and having at least 55% of employees fill out a survey, which is administered over a two-week period.
Standalone hospices and other observations
Compared to similar Great Place to Work lists looking at other industries, the vast majority of surveyed workers were hourly employees, as opposed to salaried, Kung said. Likewise, there was a noticeable trend of more female employees, which lines up with what’s known about home-based caregiver demographics.
On a high level, aging services employees rated their workplaces more highly than in other industries in purpose and job meaning, according to Kung.
“People really feel a sense of purpose working in aging services,” she said. “That’s in terms of pride, in terms of ‘this is more than just a job.'”
Besides her role as Activated Insights CEO, Kung was one of the co-founders of ClearCare, a company that provides cloud-based software solutions to private duty home care agencies.
“When I was day-to-day looking at the data at ClearCare, you could see a huge variability in the thousands of agencies,” Kung said. “One the culture side and the people side, that’s what you see as well. The overall point is that good people practices translate into better operations.”
No standalone hospices made the inaugural list, though that’s possibly tied to the fact there are relatively few standalone hospices remaining, according to Kung.
In 2019, Activated Insights plans on further digging into best workplaces in aging serves by more closely investigating why employees feel the way they do, she said.
Written by Robert Holly