Let’s Talk About: The LOOMING CRISIS IN LTC HCSS: Part 2 of 7

CONTINUED, from Part 1:

Now let’s talk about strategies to recruit, select and retain the valuable people, and how to create an environment in which they (and you) can thrive for the long haul.

Let’s Talk About: The Looming Crisis: Care Aide Recruitment and Retention: Part 2

Here is where I will share secrets about to where to find choice applicants, how to get them secured in place, how to create a thriving culture of trust and congeniality, and how to grow your staff into long term company assets – and people you might actually like to work with for a long time.

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The Value of Recruitment

  • Effective recruiting focuses on strong team players.
  • Effective programs sustain employee motivation from
    initial recruitment to long-term retention.
  • Effective recruitment of new employees can be rewarding
    for both employees and the organization.

A necessary component of recruitment if the detailed job description.  Detailed job descriptions can prevent many hiring and retention problems. Having a thorough written description accomplishes many things that are important to protect your business and your employees.

A great job description:

  • Serves as a reference guide for determining comparable industry and competitor salaries.
  • Helps maximize dollars spent on employee compensation for the position by ensuring experience and skills needed for the job are correctly matched to prospective applicants.
  • Functions as a foundation for developing worthwhile interview questions.
  • Details information about the position that can be incorporated into ads which will attract the right people, in response .
  • Discourages employees from later refusing to do ‘something’ because “it is not my job” or they did not know and understand that ‘it’ is part of their job.
  • Provides a reality entrenched basis for employee reviews, salary increases, setting goals, and considering achievable growth paths.


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A good job description is like a good recipe.  It will serve as directions for how to blend your most precious resources- money and time- into a nutritious and delicious, satisfying meal.


Where to find choice applicants?

You have that detailed, complete and accurate job description at your fingertips, now what do you do with it?

  1. Start in-house. Tap that in-house talent!  You have heard the expression, “It’s cheaper to keep her”?  Well, in this context it is also true yet does not have to carry all the ‘other stuff’ implied by the other context.  Why hire from without when you might have some within, right under your nose, who would be great at this position you need filled?  They might even be secretly hoping you will ask them if they would consider applying for it.  Here is your chance to promote or laterally move someone to a job they would rather have, given a chance.  Imagine the excitement that will reverberate through your enterprise if other staff likewise feels they can get ahead right where they stand?  Do you see how this already helps solve some retention problems?
  2. Organize an annual job fair with related (and yes, even competing) HCSS providers in your region. This helps defray the cost of this sort of undertaking and will more easily attract more buzz from media outlets, the general public, and social media chatter boxes.  Worry not about your competitors.  They will get the candidates who are not right for you.  Cast your net wide- do not just focus on your immediate local area, unless you are in a large metropolitan area.  You want lots of people talking about this fair and coming to it, resumes in hand.  Keep a sharp eye open for the picks of the litter.
  3. Establish an employee referral program. This is an ideal way of recruiting applicants. Individuals who share similar worth ethics, practices and employment records and attitudes tend to associate with one another. Ask current employees for recommendations and create an employee referral program that rewards them should the referred applicant eventually become an employee. If your company utilizes a 360 degree performance appraisal system, you can look closely at feedback provided from peers of the employees you want most to retain. The insight you gain from their peers may be more helpful to you than appraisal information you receive from the employee’s manager.
  4. Try Team Recruitment.  Would you like to increase your pool of candidates for selection, add value to your interview process, heighten employee loyalty, build supportive peer relationships, and improve retention rates simultaneously? Of course you would…


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By implementing a team recruitment strategy, you will achieve all this and more.

There are four steps in the team recruitment process:

  1. Defining manpower needs
  2. Finding and enticing quality candidates to respond to those needs
  3. Interviewing and selecting the best applicants
  4. Orienting newly selected employees into the business

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Tips for Recruiting Qualified Applicants

A qualified applicant has the technical skills necessary for a job in personal care.  How can you best determine if a personal care candidate has the skills?

  1. Check the registry at CertifiedCare.org and confirm they have been certified by this #1 ranked organization.
  2. Have them perform routine lifting and transferring tasks in your training room (you have one, right?).
  3. Monitor them for safe, ergonomically correct techniques.
  4. Have candidates watch a staff member role play the toileting of a heavy adult who must be transferred from a bed or chair to a typical residential toilet.
  5. Monitor their communication, hygiene and privacy maintenance skills.

Those are just a few examples of quick pre-hire tests you can do to help ensure you get a fundamentally skilled care aide from the start before you invest more time on interviewing them.  It’s worth spending time and effort on recruiting. When there’s a good match between employees and your organization, retention is less likely to be an issue.

NOW—The natural flow of the hiring process requires that this is the time to discuss interviewing. Interviewing is its own book length discussion, and this is a long article about recruiting and retaining staff.  So, we are going to skip that interviewing topic, (I hear your appreciative sigh of relief) and flow right on to the topic of how to get those recruits, who have made it past your stealthy interviewing process, to choose your agency and how to get them to stay after you let them in.

 So, now… Let’s Talk About

Financial Incentives for Attracting and Retaining the best Employees


Me,me,meeeee,…oh, please,… pick me!


There are ways to incentivize potential applicants to choose your agency rather than the competitor agency down the street.

CASH incentives is probably one of the most effective, yet trickiest, strategy upon which any business can rely because of the type of strategy required in attracting and retaining employees who you believe add value to your organization who won’t then leave after the flush of a cash windfall has receded. Developing an attraction and retention strategy requires special skills in determining which employees are likely to seek opportunities elsewhere and which of them are most valuable to your business, and likely to stay with you. I assure you, it can be done.

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In times when there are shortages in the work force or in particular occupations, employers will offer sign-on bonuses to highly desirable candidates. The typical sign-on bonus carries with it a commitment to stay with the company for a minimum amount of time–you don’t want your investment in a new employee to go down the drain after only six months of employment. Consider an amount of money that is meaningful or a cash equivalent incentive, like paying for certification(s).  Think carefully about this recruitment strategy and only extend it applicants you think you can’t do without.

You might think sign on bonuses are only for high level executives and that personal care staff would be spoiled beyond all recognition if they began to associate cash with their historically low paid work.  That is not likely to happen.  Do not take an extremist attitude about this idea. I am not suggesting that you underwrite a mortgage, pay for private school for their kid, or roll out a BMW.

CertifiedCare.org …where all types of caregivers benefit from accredited complete elder care education…and lots more!

Keep in mind, people who are not accustomed to much money are grateful for ANY extra money that might come their way, even if only once.  In these times of decent candidate shortages, you might consider $500 (close your jaw!) as money well spent for this purpose. Remember, that good candidate can be worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to your business in more ways than one.

Salary increases are another retention strategy, although it’s a difficult case to make when employee compensation is modified in ways that cannot be justified in case questions arise. Raising the salaries of employees you want to retain–simply because you want them to remain in your employ–can backfire and is not the ideal method of retention.

Retention incentives can range from monetary bonuses to professional development or flex time opportunities.  

A word about cash deals for retaining employees…WARNING Depending on the employees you intend to retain through salary increases, your business may be unfairly accused of discriminatory employment practices. Consult the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for information about the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Weigh the costs of spending money to retain certain employees against the cost to hire replacements. For employees whom you’re unsure about retaining, it may be a better decision to let them go, and recruit a replacement, and just eat the cost.

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Keep in mind that a sign-on bonus does not have to involve money (though ‘moolah’ is the hands down winner).  A thoughtful sign on bonus might also take the form of additional time off, flex time, geographically convenient work locations as exclusive service territory, no weekend assignments, no late night assignments, no holiday assignments, and similar types of non-cash goodies.

©Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved

Keep reading

To continue on to Part 3 where you can read more about Recruitment Strategies and Solutions, and I talk about how to OnBoard these valuable people for the greater good of all, click here

Let’s Talk About (beware of imitators) is a CertifiedCare.org sponsored series of full length articles about cutting edge topics and trends impacting the Long Term Care industry service providers and the people that industry is meant to serve.  The articles are authored by Rev. Dr. Cathleen V. Carr JD MA MscD,  a down to earth ordained minister, a dozen times over experienced caregiver, Executive Director of CertifiedCare.org, and author of the CertifiedCare multiple award winning Personal Care education and certification programs, and “Grand Poobah” of the CertifiedCare Professional Care Aide membership organization.

CertifiedCare.org …where all types of caregivers benefit from accredited complete elder care education…and lots more!


About Elder Care Advice blog

Get professional elder care giving advice, advocacy, education and tips for those who care for and about the frail elderly at the ElderCareAdvice blog. We are generously sponsored by CertifiedCare.org. Most posts are written by Cathleen V. Carr, unless attributed otherwise. We welcome relevant submissions. Submit your article and by-line for publishing consideration (no promises!) to Havi at zvardit@yahoo.com, our own editor who will ensure submissions are given the best possible treatment and polish before publication, ensuring a professional level of publication. There is a nominal service fee involved ($45). Allow up to 30 days for publishing.
This entry was posted in Advocacy, Certified Care.org, Certified Caregiver, Certified Caregiving, Elder Care Goods and Services, Home and Health Care Agency, Sweet Relief CAP, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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