9 Good Reasons Why Home Care Workers Are Choosing To Work For Your Competitors Instead.

How do you show you care?

Finding good care workers to help you to reach your mission of providing outstanding care is not always easy.

And if you think it’s difficult to source and screen enough care workers to meet the needs of your clients and to allow your home care business to grow now, bear in mind that in future it’s likely to be even harder. With an ageing population creating more demand for care services, increasing competition and a dwindling working age population on the horizon, finding and keeping good care workers is set to become even more of a challenge moving forward.

The starting point in attracting good care workers is understanding what makes care workers tick. We all know, or should know, that Care Workers like the opportunity to provide good quality care, and so one of the key factors you need to express to care workers is that you support them to provide a great standard of care, and to explain to them clearly how you support them to do that in practice.

It’s also important to demonstrate to carers that you care for them as well as the clients. Of course, every care provider tells prospective carers that they are a supportive, friendly employer. The big question is, just what are you doing in practice to demonstrate that you understand your care workers and how are you showing them you care?

The Base-Line

So let’s take a look at some absolute basics. These are some of the features that care providers we work with promote as “perks” and “benefits” of working for them, but in reality are either legal requirements or else virtually everyone else is offering the same, so they do not distinguish you from any other care company:

– Paid mileage (whatever the rate)
– Uniform paid for (are there any care providers still left who require a uniform and don’t provide it free?)
– Pension (if you’re paying more than the statutory minimum, well done!)
– “Friendly, supportive working environment”
– Free training
– Opportunity to obtain qualifications (good, but be aware that everyone else offers this too)
– Flexible hours
– Enhanced pay rates at weekends and bank holidays

If you’re doing these and nothing else, you’ve just about bought your ticket to the game. If no one else was offering these “benefits” you’d be ahead of the game. But let’s face it, everyone is offering these benefits, and doing the same as everyone else out there is hardly going to make you stand out as a caring, progressive employer serious about recruiting the best carers.

Nine Benefits Your Competitors Are Offering

So what will make a real difference to persuading a care worker that you actually mean it when you say that your care company is the best and that you value them more than the rest?

Here are nine benefits that we see from time to time being offered by the better care providers to show that they understand and appreciate the work being done by carers.

In no particular order, here are ten reasons why care workers are choosing to work for your competitors instead of you:

1. Fuel card provided

OK, we know you pay mileage, and we know you pay it promptly when a claim is put in. But just think about this for a moment. Some of your good care workers did not come into care work to generate vast wealth for themselves – they did it because they have a vocation for caring. Consequently, some of your care workers will not have acquired great wealth. Some may be living financially week to week or even day to day.

By asking carers to fuel their cars and claim it back at a later stage, what you are effectively asking them to do is to fund (for however short a period of time) your business fuel expenses until they can claim it back from you. This can be a real strain on the cash flow of some carers, and in some cases, if they can’t afford the fuel, they won’t be able to go to work. Will a carer tell you if they can’t afford to fuel their vehicle? Maybe, or maybe not – you may just get a call saying they can’t work due to sickness.

In any event, some of your competitors are providing fuel cards to their care workers. This can make a big difference to carers, and you know that your care workers will always have enough fuel to get to all of their appointments.

2. Wages paid fortnightly

This perhaps doesn’t need too much explanation. Some care workers may be starting work from a job where they are paid weekly. To suddenly jump to monthly pay is a big leap, and a real reason why some candidates who were so enthusiastic at the interview don’t turn up for training.

If your own company has the cash flow to support it, paying carers fortnightly instead of monthly can make a big difference to both recruitment and retention.

3. Signing On / Regular Attendance Bonuses

The Golden Hello! While this may look like straight forward bribery (and it is!) the evidence strongly suggests that offering a signing on bonus is effective. Roles that include a signing on bonus typically get more applications and the conversion rate from application to active carer is also higher.

Offers tend to range from £100 to £250 for a signing on bonus. Variations include paying the bonus when the carer has completed training and become an active carer, or after a qualifying period of, say three months.

Reliability and retention can also be assisted by Regular Attendance Bonuses paid every 6 months or yearly.

As with the other perks, bear in mind that if you’re not offering this, then your competitors are – and it works!

4. DBS Paid For

Are there really still care providers who expect their carers to pay for their own DBS checks?

Yes, there are still a few. But they are becoming fewer and fewer in number. Most progressive employers that we work with who are serious about recruiting good carers now pay for the DBS Certificate for their care workers.

It is still quite common for there to be a qualifying period for this offer, with carers told that they will be paid for the DBS once they have completed three months of work, or alternatively that the cost of the DBS that has been funded for them will be recouped if they leave within three months.

5. Smart Phone Provided

This perk surprised us.

Both in how commonly it is offered and also the overwhelmingly positive reaction of candidates to this particular benefit.

Of course, smart phones do a lot these days, and have a social utility for care workers outside of work, so perhaps the enthusiasm for this perk is understandable.

There are also some fairly obvious benefits to you as the care provider. Being able to routinely and reliably contact all carers by phone, text and email is just the beginning. Software available as an app on smart phones now allows care workers to quickly and easily record details of their visits, check in and out of appointments and so on.

Contracts for multiple smart phones can now be obtained relatively cheaply, and the feedback we always receive is that the overall benefits, including the impact on recruitment and retention, far outweigh the outlay.

6. Gym Membership

No longer the preserve of the residents of the Executive Floor, gym memberships are becoming de rigeur in all walks of life, including the care sector.

Assisting a healthy, happy work force harmed no employer ever, and this is seen as a major perk by care workers in those companies where it is offered.

Even for those care workers who don’t use the offer, it’s availability gives the impression that they are working for a caring employer that values them.

Other variations we have seen on this offer are 50% contribution to gym memberships and a fixed-figure contribution to membership.

7. Paid Day Off On Birthday

Cost = 1 days pro rata pay

Benefit = Happy carer who appreciates that you care too and has happy memories of their paid birthday off until next year.

You softy, you. Full marks for showing you care in an obvious way. Well done!

8. Perkbox

This isn’t a promotion, and I’m sure there are other similar schemes – this is just the one that we see the most.

Make your way over to perkbox.co.uk to see the range of benefits that you can reward your care workers with.

What’s in it for you? Here is what Perkbox have to say on their website:

“77% of employees said they would be more productive if their hard work was recognised. We can help you make your team feel valued – so you can boost productivity, cut recruitment costs, and create a better company culture.”

9. Paid Travel Time, Waiting Time & Training

You know, or should know, your legal requirements regarding NLW/NMW and travel time and thankfully most care providers are now complying with their obligations.

But some of your competitors are going (much) further.

It is still only a few care providers who do this, but it does seem to be becoming more common. The “employers of choice” are now paying for ALL travel time, ALL waiting time and ALL training time at FULL pay rates. That means that a shift that begins at 8am and finishes at 1pm is paid as 5 hours at full hourly rate. No matter how much of that time is spent travelling between appointments or waiting for appointments.

It is recognised that this can add a significant additional cost for a care provider, so you really need to do your number-crunching and consider your charge-out rates before you consider offering this.

However, you should be aware that some of your competitors are already offering this, and more are considering offering it soon. Don’t be at all surprised if a carer wants to work for a care provider where they receive pay for all the time they spend travelling, waiting and training rather than just some of it.

Are you the employer of choice in your area?

How much are you showing potential care workers and your existing carers you care?

How many of these 9 benefits or perks that your competitors are offering are you already offering?

In an increasingly competitive market for care workers, talking about your company will get you some way, but in the end actions speak louder than words.

The winners will be those care providers who are able to offer the best service to their customers, and that means employing the best care workers.

If you’re doing everything you can to attract and keep the best care workers, congratulations! You are well on the way to delivering on your mission.

If you’re only providing the basics, then it may be time to think what else you could be doing. The list above provides 9 reasons why carers are, or may be, choosing to work for your competitors instead of you.