In many ways, the past 24 months have been transformative for care, resulting in events that are shaking the ground under our feet.
I've founded and run two award-winning care firms, and I've helped many others overcome obstacles to deliver high-quality care. Based on my personal experience, I've compiled a list of 16 points that I feel can lead to the demise of a care company if ignored. If they are taken seriously, on the other hand, they can result in low employee turnover, high employee engagement, and high customer satisfaction. They are as follows:
1. Make sure you're not primarily relying on local government for referrals. Weaning yourself off of them if you've become reliant on them will be difficult! Late payments, cheaper pricing, and their inefficient commissioning approaches may only serve to decrease your standards.
2. If you are working with local authority – be prepared to stand your ground! Don’t compromise on the quality and your standards for short gains. You’ll come across some great care managers who’ll have the best interest of clients in mind. Keep in touch with them and work with them. You’ll also come across some care managers who will try to knowingly or unknowingly intermediate you and your team to provide substandard care based on their inadequate assessments.
3. Technology is becoming increasingly important in health care, and health care providers are displaying a better awareness of this. More and more health-care businesses are marketing themselves as IT firms rather than health-care businesses. Keep an eye on the latest trends. Don't make the mistake of assuming that concentrating solely on human forces will suffice. You'll fall behind, and it'll be difficult for you to compete with a more entrepreneurial set of people who find social care more appealing.
4. Your finest asset is your team. Pay attention to them. Caring for others, whether as a caregiver, a care manager, or in an administrative capacity, is difficult and stressful. If you are understaffed it is not their fault.
5. Over coming months and years, there will be a greater emphasis on avoiding fragmented apps. In the field of health care, streamlining will be a major challenge. Why should I use separate applications when I can have everything in one place? Why would you use a stand-alone medication app or a stand-alone rostering system, for example?
6. In care, the number one focus will always be recruitment and retention. There are studies that show which form of recruitment is the most effective, however they may be flawed. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket. Focusing on your community and taking care of your current team members is the greatest technique. Social media can be a powerful tool if they are used properly. Have a look at Care & Carers Facebook page. It has been extremely effective in helping us with both finding clients and carers.
7. Stay in touch with your clients and team members. Surveys and regular feedback are great. But they can never replace the human touch. Your clients and your team need to know that you care about them and they can get in touch with you if they need you. Regular email updates are extremely important. Keep your clients and carers up to date on a frequent basis. Tell them if things are difficult. And, if you've accomplished something, tell them about it and thank them for their assistance. Nobody can achieve anything on their own — accomplishments are always the result of collaboration.
8. Make it known to your clients that they should always demand the best from you and your staff. Also make it clear to them that you would not tolerate disrespect to your team. I gave two clients notice in 2021 merely because they didn't respect our team members. Two packages had a monetary value of roughly £150,000.00 each year and were quite simple and long-term. Don't make any compromises when it comes to your values.
9. Keep a priority matrix and tell your clients about it. When things get tough it is easy to manage. We have automated this in Careberry which can help enormously.
10. Don’t avoid using professional services because they cost. They can enable you to do more in less time. HR, for example, or Health and Safety. By outsourcing them you can free up your time and energy to focus on care.
11. Providing quality care is difficult! If you have talented people on your team, support them to develop their skills. When there are more of them, the burden can be shared and you can grow your business.
12. Gossip has the potential to hurt people and destroy businesses! Make dealing with rumour a top priority. Make it everyone's obligation to confront people who spread gossip and make sure they understand that gossip will not help them advance in their careers, but will harm their reputation and cause them to lose their job.
13. Make sure your team is rewarded for their efforts. A simple message to see how they're doing, a takeaway for them and their family, or a word of appreciation. If you look after them, they will look after your customers!
14. Make sure you charge a fair price for your service so you can compensate your employees properly and competitively. Explain to your clients how much it will cost to hire a carers. Costs of recruitment, training, travel, high traffic, and 24-hour assistance for team members, office staff, IT, finance, and utilities, among other things. You must charge properly in order to cover your expenses and operate your service safely.
15. Cashflow reigns supreme! Who says a care provider can't bill by direct debit? Alternatively, why not have your invoices and timesheets produced and sent out automatically? This is something we've done in Careberry since the beginning, and it's hugely beneficial.
16. Act quickly to avoid a concern or minor issue from escalating into a full-fledged complaint. Be up front and honest! If an error occurs, pick up the phone and notify individuals who have been impacted, even if they are unaware. Tell them what happened, how it has affected them, and what you plan to do about it. Avoid blaming anyone and be as clear as possible.