When CEO Brandi Kurtyka of myCNAjobs looks at the staffing challenges facing home care today, she sees a landscape that demands new solutions.
“The challenge is we’re operating in a market with historically low unemployment — it’s the lowest it’s been since 1969,” Kurtyka said recently in a webinar about how technology can solve staffing problems in home care. “We don’t have caregivers sitting at home … waiting for a job. We have people out there that are working, oftentimes working for multiple companies [including those] outside of our industry.”
Lori Cabbage, VP of professional services at ContinuLink, sees the same problem from an agency perspective — and knows that, in large part, it is technological. In a world where technology is vital for efficiency, 50% of home care agencies are still using paper to manage staff and scheduling.
Home care is inherently a high-touch industry, she said during the webinar, adding that, “We do a lot of dirty, difficult work.”
50% of agencies are using paper for scheduling
That is just one of six stunning statistics that reveal the depth of the staffing and scheduling challenges that home care agencies face. Here is a look at how recruitment technology can help solve them.
Home care is a human industry, so it might feel natural for schedulers to keep a pen and paper approach. However, scheduling can be incredibly complex and going low-tech actually exacerbates the staffing problem in home care, making the process less efficient with an over-reliance on the same caregivers, leading to an increase in overtime pay and a decrease in overall caregiver satisfaction.
In fact, many of the scheduling problems that home care faces can be addressed by implementing or changing the approach to technology.
79% of home care agencies are paying unwanted overtime due to lack of staff — consuming 11% of payroll
When home care agencies stick with the manual approach for scheduling, they actually harm the human touch that is so critical for strong in-home care. This is especially true when presented with a last-minute or hard-to-staff case.
“When [there’s an open shift], what goes on in the scheduler’s head? They’re thinking, I’ve got 30 minutes to fill this case — who’s my go-to [staff]?” Cabbage says.
The “go-to” caregiver often ends up with overtime each week because the scheduler will call staff they are familiar with, making the process highly subjective. But this means all the other staff that agencies keep on their rosters isn’t being utilized.
As a result, a staggering 35% of caregivers are working overtime, with overtime pay consisting of 11% of payroll. This imbalance of staff utilization increases cost and decreases caregiver satisfaction, contributing to a downward cycle of production, with 79% of agencies are paying unwanted overtime due to lack of staff.
19% of caregivers say they plan to leave the profession
Where do these caregivers go? For many, the answer is that they leave caregiving completely.
Low paychecks and lack of hours are contributing to caregivers leaving the industry, as they consider positions with companies like Amazon or Starbucks and ride-sharing platforms. Nineteen percent of caregivers say that they can’t earn enough money and plan to leave the profession, with Amazon as the leading alternative — 12% of caregivers have worked or interviewed there.
73% of agencies are “extremely concerned” about recruitment — and 61% of agencies decline cases because they lack the staff
As the staffing challenge grows, agencies meet another major blow to their business: they’ve got the clients, but not the caregivers. The myCNAjobs study on caregiver trends showed that in the past 60 days prior, respondents answered that 61% of agencies were forced to turn down a case because they didn’t have a caregiver to staff the open shift.
It’s no wonder then that 73% of agencies said they were “extremely concerned” about recruitment.
One major step to thwarting that concern is to embrace technology and implement a software solution for recruitment and scheduling – something that grants caregivers greater autonomy over when and where they work and something that helps streamline the scheduling process through automation.
“Offer your employees the easy button,” Cabbage says. “Think about being able to put the shifts out there and let your employees grab them when they want them.”
Technology can help home care providers fill out their rosters, keep their caregivers satisfied and create longstanding relationships for clients. Click here to watch the webinar about how ContinuLink can help to optimize your scheduling.