How Home-Based Care Providers Are Changing To Meet New Workforce Demands

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Demand for home-based care continues to rise. Thus, more workers are needed.

What sounds like a simple equation to solve theoretically is far more complex in practice – getting “more workers” is easier said than done. Still, in order to satisfy that demand, home care agencies are getting creative.

Whether by leveraging certain training or using unique recruitment practices, home care agencies are figuring out different ways to recruit and retain employees.


“There’s not a one-size fits all strategy to recruit and retain caregivers across personas,” Brandi Kurtyka, CEO of MissionCare Collective, told Home Health Care News in an email. “For instance, a career caregiver is different from someone working a care job on the side and different from a retiree. We’re starting to see agencies adjust their approaches from a one-size-fits-all to meet people where they’re at.”

Understanding what prospective employees want

In order for home care agencies to recruit new talent, leaders have to know what future employees want.

As the leader of MissionCare Collective — the parent company of myCNAjobs and CoachUp Care — it is Kurtyka and her team’s mission to discover solutions that are grounded in what motivates the workforce.


“The more you know about who you’re trying to recruit, the more you can refine your recruitment and retention strategies to scale,” Kurtyka said. “The better you become at leaning into what employees and potential employees care about, the less emphasis they will have solely on wages.”

MissionCare Collective is St. Petersburg, Florida-based group of health care companies that serves as an educational and supportive bridge between providers and employees.

Consistent training, supportive work environments and a good work-life balance are just a few pillars that tend to resonate with all prospective employees, but especially millennial and Generation Z ones.

Knowing who to recruit may be half the battle. The other half is thinking outside of the box on how to recruit them.

As an example, 24 Hour Home Care has found ways to create flexibility in its schedule in order to attract workers and expand its overall workforce.

“To expand our caregiver workforce, we’re focusing on offering schedule flexibility and respecting personal obligations,” Stella Harsono-Peralta, 24 Hour Home Care’s senior director of people operations, said in an email. “Due to the nature of care being an around-the-clock job, we hire caregivers who are available to staff various schedules because that’s what works for them and their families. We’ve become very strategic and creative with our staffing planning to support our caregivers’ preferred work schedules and better serve clients.”

The Los Angeles-based 24 Hour Home Care is a non-medical home care provider with 23 locations across California, Arizona and Texas.

The company has also leveraged technology to make 24 Hour Home Care a more attractive place to work. Onboarding and interviewing is completely virtual. Employees are able to communicate via text with their bosses, and they also use an application to submit their shift hours.

“It has modernized the process and enables them to submit their hours in real-time and get paid faster,” Harsono-Peralta said.

Time and again, home-based care employees have shown they want to learn, and place a lot of weight in their training in their onboarding processes.

Allowing the opportunity for continued education can be one way to show an employer also values that aspect of the hiring process, Helen Adeosun, CareAcademy’s founder and CEO, told HHCN.

“A lot of the examples that we have are customers who are using and leveraging education as a means of not only attracting the workforce, but really upskilling folks,” Adeosun said. “Often, we’re finding that when you see caregiver attrition, it’s because they either weren’t prepared for the position or didn’t feel like they had the support or skills needed to do the work.”

CareAcademy is a Boston-based training platform for caregivers that works with over 1,600 home care locations across the U.S.

Across the industry, Adeosun said she constantly hears reports of direct care workers yearning for communication, guidance and appreciation for the hard work they’re doing.

She has also seen providers use certain CareAcademy tools to boost recruiting and retention efforts.

One example is the Area Agency of Aging of Northwest Arkansas, which doubled its applicants for caregivers by highlighting that it offered training, through CareAcademy, that employees can take anytime, anywhere.

“When it comes to training in this space, I think people make the assumption it’s going to have to be done in person and that already creates a level of friction,” Adeosun said. “Just by stating out front, within an employee’s first few weeks, that they’re going to get access to a resource that’s not going to cause a point of friction, is a great introduction into the home care and home health fields.”

Searching for non-traditional caregivers

Another creative way agencies are recruiting is by looking outside of the normal or typical caregiver, a tactic that has gained significant popularity over the past couple of years.

Before getting into the home care space, Pete Morrissey worked in a number of fields that influenced the way he runs the Right at Home location in Gainesville, Georgia.

He graduated from West Point and was an aviation officer. He’s worked in pharmaceuticals, private equity and is the former vice dean at Columbia Business School. With such a varied background, Morrissey was able to tackle certain issues, like expanding the workforce, with a fresh perspective.

“Coming into this space, I wasn’t beholden to any historical norms or how things are supposed to be done,” Morrissey said. “In terms of talent acquisition, I’m more interested in the requisite skill set that someone brings, and they don’t necessarily have to have demonstrated that in home care.”

Morrissey took the approach of going after workers with retail or similar customer service backgrounds.

Two things that he always looks for – above everything else – is reliability and timeliness.

One specific non-caregiver example was when Morrissey needed a new scheduler at Right at Home. He kept the job description vague and encouraged people to apply even if they didn’t match each requirement.

Morrissey received over 50 resumes, interviewed 14 people and ended up hiring someone with management experience in the fast food industry.

“She was used to working in a high-speed environment with a lot of variability,” Morrissey said. “She had experience with employees who call out, having to manage day-to-day and operating in a pretty demanding environment.”

The results of Morrissey’s out-of-the-box approach have paid off.

“We grew in excess of 60% top-line growth in 2021 and this year we’re in excess of 40% year to date,” Morrissey said. “I only share that from the perspective that we can’t grow at that rate if we’re not hiring at the same rate.”

Incentives can also lead to better recruitment and retention results. Offering retention bonuses — especially to older caregivers who may already be at retirement age or “empty nesters” — can be particularly effective, Kurtyka noted.

Bonuses based on time spent at one company, and offering clear promotion paths, are two other incentive-based retention tools Adeosun has seen work effectively.

On its end, 24 Hour Home Care does a little bit of everything.

“To aid our caregiver retention, we offer sign-on bonuses, employee referral bonuses, flexible working schedules and timely payouts,” Harsono-Peralta said. “We consider our caregivers part of our 24 Hour Home Care family and offer them benefits, paid training and continued education.”

What agencies can do now

Recruiting a future caregiver right out of nursing school should be a different journey than recruiting a lifelong caregiver coming back to the workforce after years away.

As Kurtyka mentioned, a one-size-fits-all strategy is not good enough in today’s hiring climate.

“It’s also important to invest in a multi-prong approach to hiring, while measuring the cost per hire and the cost to retain,” Kurtyka said.

Adeosun echoed that sentiment, saying agencies should consider the ROI on incentive plans versus the high costs of turnover and hiring.

“We believe that employees and direct care workers are the greatest asset of any home care agency, in more ways than one,” Adeosun said. “Building a program with the employee is a really great way in making sure there’s buy-in and that you can entrust folks to be ambassadors alongside you.”

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