Caregivers help sick or elderly individuals manage their daily care needs. This can range from simple housekeeping and companionship to administering medication, following a prescribed health plan, and running errands.
They may be family caregivers or professional caregivers. In the latter case, they are often affiliated with a home care agency or hospital.
1. Have a clear job description.
Whether you work for an agency or directly hire your own caregivers, you should create a comprehensive job description. This document describes the duties, responsibilities and reporting relationships of a given position and will help you attract the right candidates.
It’s important to define what type of care your loved one needs before looking for a caregiver. You might need someone who can prepare meals, drive your loved one to medical appointments and provide companionship. Or, your loved one may need help with bathing and grooming, medication reminders or getting dressed.
Many families turn to home care agencies for help finding caregivers for their loved ones. These licensed businesses are responsible for screening, hiring and training their caregivers. They also take on the burden of payroll taxes and withholdings, insurance and workers’ compensation. Alternatively, families can use a registry to find independent caregivers who will do the same services for less money. However, you should always check a company’s track record, contact information and references before hiring them.
2. Have a pre-screening process.
Caregiver agencies use a variety of methods to pre-screen caregiver candidates including background checks and skills tests. The tests ask multiple-choice questions that require applicants to put themselves in scenarios and choose the response most akin to their reaction or action in real life. The results indicate whether the candidate is suited to caregiving.
In addition, a good agency will ensure that the new hire provides an accurate Social Security number. Caregivers are employees of the agency and must pay taxes, bonding and workers’ compensation insurance. Agencies that claim their caregivers are independent contractors are at risk of violating tax and labor laws, and could be subject to fines for back taxes and payroll violations.
During onboarding, an agency should introduce the new caregiver to the organization’s culture and expectations. This helps the caregiver feel a part of the team, and keeps them engaged. The onboarding process should also include a thorough explanation of the client’s needs and an outline of the caregiving plan.
3. Have a post-screening process.
A thorough caregiver screening process is a necessity for home care agencies. This allows agencies to hire the right candidates who have a passion for helping seniors and who will be a good fit with the agency’s culture and values. The screening process should also include a clear job description to avoid hiring applicants that have unrealistic expectations of what is required of in-home caregivers. Additionally, make sure the job description clearly reflects that caregivers are your employees rather than independent contractors to ensure you are meeting your responsibilities for taxes, worker’s compensation insurance and bonding.
During the screening process, make sure to interview candidates thoroughly and to ascertain their reasons for wanting to work with your agency. It is important to build trust with caregivers, especially when they will be entering clients’ homes and are responsible for administering medications. The screening process should also include reference interviews and drug testing. Using an applicant tracking system can speed up the process as it allows you to automatically send reference checks and other necessary paperwork to new candidates.
4. Have a referral program.
Agencies can take on the responsibility of screening, interviewing and caregiver agency hiring for a family’s home. This can save a family time, stress and money.
Agency hiring can also allow families to hire a caregiver that may have a unique skill set or experience that a registry does not offer. Families can also hire a caregiver through an agency and still receive the same benefits such as sick days, vacation and other leaves.
Caregiver agencies can have a strong internal caregiver employee referral program that rewards their team members for referring qualified caregiver candidates who are successfully hired and retained by the agency. This helps increase the number of quality caregivers the agency can recruit. Incentives can include cash bonuses, paid vacation time or gift cards. Be sure to communicate the specifics of the incentives and how they are earned in order to motivate your team and ensure their participation. This will help you achieve your recruitment goals.