Many organizations wonder why it is so difficult to hire and retain non-medical caregivers. Not only is the labor market very tight, but these organizations often are competing for workers with other home care and home health agencies, as well as with other companies outside of healthcare, like Uber, Lyft, and Amazon. Organizations in this area are often seen, sometimes incorrectly, as putting little into their staff. A typical drawback reflecting non-investment is the limited training provided, which is often less substantial than in other areas in healthcare. When we provide substandard training to direct care workers, we send a message that we aren’t invested in their success. Another problem relates to career pathing. Many organizations in this sector are perceived as only hiring someone for a specific opening, with an eye focused solely on the present. If you're not hiring someone on the basis of opportunity beyond now and for the future, why would they stay for very long?
Myths About Direct Caregivers and Training
Several common myths have been perpetuated about training in the direct caregiver environment. They damage the reputation of the caregiver industry and hamper its ability to attract quality people and achieve better outcomes. Our goal here is to debunk these myths and get to the truth, which is often the opposite of what people have accepted as conventional wisdom.
Myth #1: Caregivers are not interested in learning beyond compliance training.
Some organizations believe their employees don't want any training beyond their required compliance assignments. CareAcademy surveyed 800 care workers about this issue, 52% of whom said that, given the opportunity, they would welcome the opportunity to attain more education. Many of them are already getting continuing education credits and looking for other ways to develop their careers. If organizations in this sector identify the right opportunities and focus on the ability to create a future, people are definitely going to be excited and willing to engage in training that leads them to more advanced work.
Myth #2: The technology involved in training is going to be hard to understand.
Many organizations have doubts about their capacity to incorporate new technology for training and worry about their caregivers’ ability to use it competently. However, automated learning platforms are largely user-friendly, even on the administrator level. And, there are very few members of any caregiving employee team who aren't online and using their smartphones constantly, especially after leaving work. They're on Facebook, using all kinds of social media platforms, and even using digital technology as part of their jobs. Now and into the future, if you make the technology and training as useful and as engaging as possible, people are going to figure out how to use it.
Myth #3: Training people will encourage them to leave and move on to better jobs.
This unwanted outcome is what happens when there’s not a strategic link between education and keeping staff. Non-medical caregiving organizations need to be training people in ways that also will help to retain them. One of the ways to achieve this is by creating pathways to a future of salary growth and career advancement. That’s the reason CareAcademy training focuses on non-medical and medical caregivers. Organizations strengthen their relationship with workers when they provide continuing education focused on helping employees to thrive. Providers can facilitate efforts at career advancement, so that employees become medical assistants or registered nurses. Every larger health system really needs to be thinking about opportunities to help caregivers grow. You want to keep people in an organization over multiple years and not just for a limited time. It is necessary to think creatively about assisting people up a career ladder within our organizations. The bottom line is that upscaling employees allows us to train, retain, and increase the value of employees within the organization.
This blog post is the second in a series based on the HealthStream webinar, “Building a Pipeline of Home Health Talent: It Starts with Training,” presented by Helen Adeosun, CEO and co-founder of HealthStream’s partner, CareAcademy. This webinar focuses on the value of training the direct care workforce to increase their value and stature as part of the care continuum, especially for learning’s impact on retention and outcomes. With experience in training and in caregiving, Adeosun has focused her career on driving outcomes for adult learners, and especially in finding meaningful ways for them to engage in learning.
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