Inside Care To Stay Home’s Person-Focused Retention Strategy

The COVID-19 emergency has further compounded the difficulties home-based care providers face when it comes to retention.

Still, many organizations have used this time to solidify their efforts around company culture. Care To Stay Home is one example.

The company recently topped Fortune’s annual Best Workplaces in Aging Services list for the second year in a row.

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Headquartered in Orange County, California, Care To Stay Home is a private-pay home care company that provides personal care services throughout Southern California, Utah, Washington and Idaho. The company also has an affiliate office in Arizona.

Parker Wells — Care To Stay Home’s vice president — believes that the key to the company’s success has been building a company culture that is people-focused, above all.

“We are only as good as the people that we have,” Wells told Home Health Care News. “I think that’s really evident in the way we built Care To Stay Home from the ground up. We built it on a company culture that’s focused on supporting our clients and our employees. Our mission statement kind of goes into that — we really focus on enhancing the dignity, independence and quality of life of those two populations.”

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To this end, Care To Stay Home has continually sought creative ways to retain its workers.

When it comes to interacting with caregivers, Care To Stay Home has found that taking a personalized approach, especially in regards to celebrating or thanking them, has been effective, according to Care To Stay Home President Kraig Nakano.

“We still send handwritten personalized thank you cards and notes out to our caregivers,” Nakano told HHCN. “Our staff is just amazed when they get a handwritten note. Those kinds of interactions really speak to what we do. We’re in a very personalized business.”

Another way Care To Stay Home has bolstered its retention efforts throughout the years is with employee raffles and giveaways.

However, the company’s annual employee appreciation week is typically the main event.

“We’ve designed a week-long event where we open up our office to our clients and employees,” Nakano said. “We have lunch that’s catered for everyone. Each year has different themes.”

This year the company was unable to host the event in-person, but Nakano views this time as an opportunity to switch roles with Care To Stay Home’s caregivers.

“I think that so often caregivers carry such a heavy burden of caring for somebody else, and we forget about caring for the caregiver,” he said.

For Care To Stay Home, it’s also been important to stay ahead of the industry and be a “wage leader,” even if it’s been challenging at times, according to Nakano.

“We have continued to push forward things such as a 401(k) with company match,” he said. “Oftentimes, you hear about companies having a 401(k), but you don’t hear the important part, which is that the company matches — and that’s something we really take pride in.”

Employees are eligible for this benefit 30 days after their start date. Care To Stay Home provides a 4% match if caregivers do a 5% contribution. It’s the company’s way of helping employees keep an eye toward the future, Nakano noted.

Thanks to these and similar initiatives, the company has seen a significant improvement in its employee turnover over the course of four years. Care To Stay Home went from a turnover rate of 78% to 40%.

It has roughly 500 employees in total.

“If we look at some of the things we’ve implemented over the last three or four years, they’ve all been focused on the employee, not only recognition but also the retention element,” Wells said. “I think that those fundamental changes we’ve made have really led to that significant drop across the board.

Ultimately, one area Nakano believes home care leaders often struggle with — and Care To Stay Home has really honed in on — is taking employee needs into consideration.

“Caregivers in the field will say companies didn’t tell me about that information,” he said. “They didn’t give me a call. They just put me into an assignment. I think one of the things that we’ve always been conscientious of has been to engage our team, as to what’s important to them and not just what we’re offering.”

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