Finding enough workers has been a longstanding pain point for in-home care providers. With the launch of a new national recruitment campaign, Interim HealthCare wants to take a proactive approach to address those persistent challenges.
Interim is a Sunrise, Florida-based in-home care franchise with more than 530 locations across the U.S.
The company recently launched “Made for This,” a recruitment campaign that focuses on placing job candidates in careers in the home-based care industry.
“We are innovating again,” Jennifer Sheets, president and CEO of Interim, told Home Health Care News. “We’re at the table realizing that the health care industry is facing critical shortages. We’re all focused on recruiting — and we always have been.”
In part, in-home care providers have struggled with recruiting enough workers simply because consumer demand is so high. The overall employment of home health and personal care aides, in fact, is projected to grow 34% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all other occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
But being an in-home care worker is also a difficult job, one that’s sometimes overshadowed by similar caregiver roles in other settings.
As part of its new recruiting efforts, Interim’s campaign includes opportunities for professional expansion, professional development and specialized training, Sheets said. All of those points are critical for cultivating a new candidate pool.
“What we’re trying to do here is create a new pool of candidates who are different from anybody we’ve recruited in the past,” Sheets added.
In some ways, the current climate has laid out the groundwork for Interim’s recruiting campaign.
For starters, the COVID-19 emergency has resulted in a surge in unemployment. About 25% of adults in the U.S. report that they or someone in their household have lost their job, according to the Pew Research Center.
Job loss was especially prevalent among individuals working in service industries in the months following the onset of the pandemic.
Roughly 1.9 million store-based retail workers were unemployed as of June, according to BLS. The leisure and hospitality industry had lost 7.7 million jobs as of May.
Additionally, 5.5 million food service workers experienced job loss.
People working in these service-oriented industries often already possess the qualities that providers are looking for when it comes to job candidates, home care experts believe.
This creates the opportunity for a career change for these workers and gives the in-home care industry a recruitment boon, according to Sheets.
“We really wanted to highlight the open door for a professional career change,” she said. “There are a lot of people out of work. There are a lot of people who are already in a customer service-facing industry. These people already have a heart for servant leadership and may not even realize that they’re actually perfect for — or made for — health care. That was the idea behind it.”
Aside from trying to reach individuals who have a background in other service-related industries, Made for This also targets individuals who are looking for “purpose-driven” work. A desire to transition into a mission-driven job is a common goal for individuals following economic recessions.
Interim’s campaign is also setting its sights on individuals who are already working in health care and interested in transitioning into the home-based care side.
“If somebody wants to go from a restaurant employee to a CNA, or from a CNA to an LPN or therapist, we can support them along the way,” Sheets said. “It’s about pathways to help them go from that setting to a health care setting, or to go from a hospital setting to a home care setting.”
In order to help someone transition into home-based care, the campaign tailors training and education based on an individual’s background and experience.
“You can’t just go from one setting to the other, so this program is about helping people fill those gaps through education, through mentoring, through a very defined onboarding and orientation process,” Sheets said. The biggest thing to keep in mind, from my perspective, is what Interim brings to the table.”
Sheets is referencing Interim’s 54-year history of training people to be successful in the health care space.
Carolina Lobo, the company’s chief people & brand officer, calls this ability the organization’s “lifeline.”
Amid the public health emergency, Sheets points out that there are a number of reasons the home setting may have a new appeal for those currently working in hospitals.
“We find that nurses and therapists are getting burned out in the hospital setting — especially in the midst of the pandemic,” she said. “They want more control in their lives. They’re looking for flexibility. A lot of them are also heads of household. They’re looking for ways to work around their kids’ virtual learning environment, and they want autonomy to make a long-term impact.”
For Sheets, helping clinicians who want to switch lanes career-wise comes from personal experience. She is a former ICU nurse who would go on to hold a leadership position running several hospitals, before ultimately landing in her current position.
“I realized I wanted to be a part of home care after I had my own story,” she said. “I had my father and my grandmother on home care, home health and hospice services at the same time, and I wanted to be a part of that setting. I realized that [this setting] was driving the real quality of life that people want and deserve.”
Although it’s still early in the new year, looking ahead, Sheets believes the industry will continue to see critical shortages as it relates to the 2021 labor landscape.
“Hopefully, a lot of health care workers will get the vaccine, but we’re still going to deal with people who are out because of an exposure,” she said. “This environment is extremely hard for the health care worker, … so we’re going to see a higher burnout — even more than we are seeing now.”