A nurse smiles at the camera
Finding a catalyst to change your staffing outlook
by By Christina Andrews

When building a culture for workforce commitment, we need to understand the importance of addressing both employee engagement and career well-being. Employee engagement is the driver for career well-being and is a direct reflection of organizational culture; it’s also foundational for an organization’s success. Creating a workplace that fosters employee engagement is the difference between ambassadors and employees. The level of involvement and enthusiasm for their work and workplace correlates directly to organizational culture—that is, the collective set of beliefs, values, norms and behaviors that shape the ways that employees interact with one another,  make decisions and contribute to the overall mission of an organization.

A strong culture fosters a sense of belonging, purpose and alignment among employees, creating a greater sense of career well-being. Workforce well-being is mutually inclusive of employee engagement. Fewer than 50% of U.S. workers strongly believe their organization cares about their well-being.

When employees feel that their organization cares about their well-being, they are:

  • Staying: 69% less likely to actively search for a job; reducing team turnover leads to cost savings and improved continuity of care 

  • Performing: 79% less likely to report burnout and three times more likely to be engaged, more productive and innovative at work

  • Advocating: Five times more likely to strongly recommend and advocate for their company as a place to work; committed employees become brand ambassadors.

Trends in our workforce demographics include an aging workforce, increasing diversity in ethnicity and gender, a growing number of remote workers, improving work-life balance preferences and higher levels of education. Our current workforce is supported by five generations and our older generations are delaying retirement. Simultaneously, millennials and Gen Z are entering the workforce and will make up more than 50% of the working population globally.

As the care-at-home industry continues to recruit, keep in mind not only the generations but also the personas: retirees, empty nesters, young adults with multiple children who value flexibility or do not want their job to get in the way of life, and career caregivers or ambassadors. Remember that within each group, one size doesn’t fit all. Having five generations in the workforce means needing at least five different approaches to work. We need to be agile and learn how to adjust to a multi-generational workforce.

We are living in a candidate-driven market and must also be intentional about any unconscious biases when recruiting. For example, generations can be stereotyped as too tech dependent or not tech savvy at all. Those days are gone. The pandemic dispelled most perceptions about the speed of technology adoption because of how quickly it became essential for us to live and work.

Some immediate best practices to consider:

  • Empower staff, especially clinicians, to practice to the full extent of their license and work to eliminate any technology barriers hindering their ability to deliver care. 

  • Try minimizing the staff’s administrative overhead and optimizing their visit schedules. These are crucial steps to avoid burnout.

  • When recruiting new staff, look for people who are going to be a strong fit for your company culture. 

  • When staff express any safety concerns, listen to them and take noticeable action.

The homecare industry faces a perfect storm, with ongoing staffing challenges necessitating innovative solutions to ensure quality care for an aging population. Today’s leadership needs to remain agile and focused on career well-being.

When thinking about talent acquisition, leverage technology for targeted recruitment, onboarding and training. An Axxess survey found 64% of turnover occurs within the first three to six months and 57% of respondents stated they did not get adequate training and support within their role. Looking into the future, more and more organizations are considering staff training technology; 45% of respondents indicated they are investing in technology that will provide onboarding and training. And 44% indicated that their primary driver for investing in staff training technology is to impact employee engagement and retention.

Technology plays a role in employee engagement and is an important element in meeting different generations where they are. Staff training technology streamlines the training and onboarding process. Virtual onboarding, on-demand e-learning models and digital handbooks create a more elevated and enhanced employee experience. Continuous learning management and training platforms allow employees to upskill using microlearning and personalized content catered to individual needs.

Another key element within staff training technology is that it engages all types of learners—visual, auditory, kinesthetic and reading/writing—to drive effective learning outcomes. Performance management technology tools aid in setting goals, tracking progress and providing feedback in addition to real-time data that informs decision-making.

Bridging the gap from your current technology state to the necessary future state starts with developing a culture of innovation. This is a collective mindset, values, beliefs and practices within an organization that foster and support innovation. It’s an environment where creativity, experimentation and the pursuit of new ideas are not only encouraged but also embraced.

In an innovative culture, employees feel confident to share creative ideas and solutions. They know their input is valued and they actively contribute to brainstorming sessions. A culture of innovation encourages calculated risk-taking. Employees are willing to try new approaches, even if they might fail, because they understand that innovation requires experimentation. Leaders play a crucial role in fostering innovation. They set the tone, allocate resources and actively participate in innovation initiatives, enabling silos to be broken down and encouraging collaboration across departments.

Remember, a culture of innovation isn’t just about having a ping-pong table in the break room, it’s about creating an ecosystem where creativity thrives and breakthroughs happen.

Workforce innovation in the care-at-home industry can be transformative using technology. Technology offers unprecedented opportunities for growth and innovation. Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics are reshaping traditional job roles, demanding a workforce that is adaptable, skilled and open to continuous learning. Improving operational efficiencies was the key for the Axxess survey respondents to improving their bottom line—technology in the workplace is one of the most notable positive effects that impacts employee engagement. 

In the care-at-home industry, building a culture that aligns with values, embraces technology and adapts to demographic shifts is crucial. By fostering commitment, empowering employees and leveraging innovative solutions, organizations can create a thriving culture that benefits both caregivers and patients

Christina Andrews is the senior director of professional services at Axxess, where she delivers practical operational solutions to help clients scale operations using technology for home health, homecare, hospice and palliative sectors. She has more than 20 years of experience in the care-at-home industry and presents insights at conferences nationwide. Visit axxess.com.