Career development is a hot topic these days. With a booming economy and favorable job market for professionals, investing in employees is one way companies can show they care and improve retention rates. The costs of turnover are incredibly high in any industry, but they’re especially damaging to home care agencies.

The in-home care industry is extremely competitive. Losing trusted workers to other agencies doesn’t just harm internal operations, but it can also result in the proliferation of valuable company trade secrets. While most professionals respect prior employers, the seeping of methodologies here-and-there is somewhat inevitable. All one has to do is look at the uncanny similarities between many caregiver agency websites to figure out there’s a lot of “idea sharing” within the industry.

Consider these specific reasons home care agencies should invest in career development:

Importance of Back-Up Plans

Experienced home care agency owners can attest to the unfortunate fact that anything-and-everything can happen during daily operations. From billing-and-payroll glitches to caregiver call-offs, staff must be flexible and quick on their feet. It’s important for team members to be able to wear multiple hats and complete various tasks.

Career development and cross-training staff helps to provide contingency plans for when things inevitably go wrong. If an agency’s staffer can also process billing-and-payroll, for example, then caregiver paychecks will still be sent on time in the event that the office manager calls-out sick. In this scenario, the company owner avoids countless caregiver complaints and potential legal liability.

Agency Growth and New Locations

Most home care company owners want to grow their businesses. And growth usually takes the form of opening new office locations. Success can come quickly, so it’s important for agencies to have the staff in place for expansion endeavors. Furthermore, promotion from within is usually preferable to hiring outsiders, so it’s critical to have employees who are ready to take the reigns.

If an owner has focused on developing current staff, she’ll be well-positioned to promote a team member to manage that new office location when the time comes. She’ll also have a leader at the helm that is knowledgeable in all aspects of operations, from supervising employees to sales and marketing activities.

Company Culture and Promoting From Within

Advancing existing team members into management roles isn’t just beneficial during periods of agency expansion. It also helps to foster a consistent company culture. Managers who’ve learned all aspects of company operations essentially serve as an owner facsimile and continue to spread the culture and values to newer employees.

The best way to continue a legacy of greatness throughout generations of team members is to prioritize career development at all organizational levels. HR personnel and recruiters may be taught how to staff, for example. Staffers can be taught basic management skills and learn about the business financials.

Improved Employee Retention & Morale

Of all the reasons to invest in career development, employee morale and retention are probably two of the most important. Good workers want to know that promotion opportunities exist, and career development is the best way to show that they do. Owners who train their team send out a clear message of appreciation and long-term plans.

Improved morale and hopes of career advancement also keep valued team members from jumping ship. As most agency owners know, the home care industry is highly competitive, and companies are quick to swoop-in on experienced staffers, managers and salespeople. Employees who see light at the end of the tunnel in the form of advancement opportunities are less likely to think the “grass is always greener” with other job offers.

Owner Peace of Mind and Quality of Life

Home care agency owners usually pour their heart and soul into their businesses. While that sort of dedication is great, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t embrace tools to make things easier. Owners with reliable and competent staff enjoy more balanced lives. After all, who wants to drop everything and rush into the office late at night simply because no team members can process payroll?

The fact is that nobody can do everything. Home care agency owners that try to be hands-on with all aspects of their business are destined for burnout and will likely fail over time. The whole point of having a team is to share the burden for increased success. Workers with diverse training provide far more value than those who only know how to complete limited tasks.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, career development is an investment, but it’s one that pays in spades over time. Wise home care agency owners play the long game and realize that their race is a marathon and not a sprint. While it may seem risky to spend time and money training newer workers, it’s riskier to not prioritize employee development.

If you’re a home care agency seeking to grow your business and referral streams, be sure to consult with the industry’s best in-home care marketing firm today!

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