FirstLight Home Care, a company that provides in-home caregivers for the elderly, people with disabilities and more, has placed a major emphasis on retaining caregivers from its’ very inception, and the efforts have paid off. In an industry that generally sees a 70 percent turnover, FirstLight has an 86 percent retention rate.
This is no accident or coincidence. Caregiver retention is and always has been the number one priority at FirstLight.
“Caregiver retention is so important. Our service quality and leadership all starts with a high-quality team of compassionate caregivers in every market we serve, FirstLight Director of Human Resources Daryl Beckles said. “Our caregivers are at the very center of our business and our unique culture of care.
For FirstLight, caregiver retention is prioritized from the recruitment process all the way through the many training programs the company provides. FirstLight’s caregivers are direct employees of the company, screened with background checks, complete personality and cognitive assessments, plus meet or exceed all state license requirements. They go through a solid training program and are well-versed in privacy issues. Caregivers also go through FirstLight’s Culture of Care training as part of their core orientation.
FirstLight has many processes in place aimed at caregiver retention. A major emphasis is placed on training. For example, the company has invested in a new, expanded learning management system to help provide ongoing training and career paths for caregivers.
“There are many industry statistics out there indicating that 85 percent of caregivers are seeking more training opportunities and 71 percent leave because they do not have those opportunities,” FirstLight Vice President of Business Development and Team Support Jeff Goebel said.
Recognition programs are also in place to acknowledge a job well done and reward caregivers with a variety of acknowledgments. There are also several different employee referral program options in place to encourage caregivers to bring like-minded, compassionate people into the system.
“We definitely want to go above and beyond compared to any other agency they’ve worked with,” Goebel said, adding that caregivers are invited to listen in on quarterly meetings that share the state of the company.
FirstLight also puts a very specific personal touch on the caregiving process. When it’s time for a caregiver to start working with a new client, a local FirstLight team member will always - emphasis on always - accompany that caregiver to the client’s house and facilitate the introduction. This will happen regardless of how long a caregiver has been employed with FirstLight. If that caregiver is going to work with a new client, they’ll be introduced in person by a FirstLight representative.
“That’s a personal touch you don’t see in our industry on a consistent basis,” Goebel said.
The efforts have paid off. Both caregivers and the clients and families they work with have provided glowing feedback to the FirstLight team.
FirstLight wants to keep their caregiver retention momentum going. The company is proud of its Glassdoor reviews history and current Glassdoor score of 4.4 (scale to 5.0), for example, and is constantly thinking of ways to improve. The executive team monitors caregiver feedback on a regular basis.
Beckles is heavily involved in the company’s learning management system, and once when she was helping a few caregivers with a password login issue, she was able to get their feedback on the system directly from them over the phone. Answer: They liked it and thought it was a great opportunity for learning.
“There’s not a day where we are not discussing on how to improve, whether it’s better recruiting, attracting more caregivers or providing more training,” Beckles said. “Those conversations are happening daily. It’s an ongoing conversation on how we can make the caregiver experience better.”
FirstLight currently serves more than 250 markets across 34 states. The startup costs for a FirstLight franchise range from $99,681 to $152,926. The franchise fee is $44,500. To learn more about owning a FirstLight franchise, visit https://www.firstlightfranchise.com/.