It Starts At The Top: C-Suite Leaders Need To Address Home-Based Care Staffing Woes

For home-based care provider leaders, the biggest long-term issues are sometimes pushed off to deal with short-term issues.

Recruitment and retention efforts, for instance, consistently fall down the priority totem pole.

“For years, we’ve heard organizations saying workforce is our biggest challenge,” Eric Scharber, managing principal at SimiTree, said during a webinar Thursday. “Yet the new shiny penny, whether it be a regulatory issue or a reimbursement issue, those things push down the workforce initiatives that a company might have around recruiting and retention. Too often we see top-level managers make this an HR problem. Top executives have to be engaged and involved in the process of workforce management.”


A recent survey conducted by SimiTree and Home Health Care News collected responses from 152 C-suite leaders and directors at home-based care.

Based on the results, Scharber believes the industry has more of a retention problem than a recruitment one.

One statistic that caught his eye was that 34% of respondents did not know the cost of losing an employee and onboarding a replacement.


“There’s real money and cost associated with retaining your staff,” he said. “How you justify spending time, money, effort and resources to retain your talent comes from understanding what it costs to lose that talent. Those out there that say they don’t know — you should know. It’s not real money that you can withdraw from the ATM machine, but it’s hitting your bottom line.”

Focusing on retention strategies is an investment back into the business that can hopefully balance out the losses that will inevitably come when employees move on.

Recruitment will be a constant issue based purely on the supply and demand gaps in the home-based care space. However, if providers spend more time concentrating on keeping the staff that they do have, hiring new ones will become less of a burden.

Although it’s more difficult to define and quantify, culture plays a big role in recruiting and retaining staff.

A good rule of thumb when thinking about company culture is that if a provider can’t define their culture, they probably don’t have an established one, Scharber said.

“If you can’t define what your culture is and you don’t know that you have a really positive, good company culture, then you probably don’t,” he said. “You should do some work on it and bring in a third party to help.”

Becoming an employer of choice doesn’t happen overnight, Scharber said. It takes time and specific investment in key areas. The priority should always be staff.

“We’re a people business taking care of people,” he said. “It’s the most important asset we have. Without our staff, we can’t grow, we can’t function, we can’t build and we can’t be profitable. Workforce, especially in the age we’re in, has to be the top priority and that focus has to come from the top.”

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