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Caregiver Retention: 9 Tips to Guarantee Your Caregiver Performance Reviews Are Highly Effective

Published on August 24, 2022 by Sharon Morrisette

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Caregiver performance reviews are an important part of effective employee management and can contribute to any home care provider’s success. Well executed, these evaluations are extremely motivating, drive high performance, increase engagement, improve communication, build trust, and influence company culture.

Typically run on an annual basis, performance reviews are a valuable ‘check-in,’ providing you and your caregivers with an opportunity to: 

  • discuss performance feedback
  • address any concerns and reduce poor performance
  • communicate upcoming goals
  • establish the next steps and support needed
  • identify and promote training and development opportunities 
  • review pay, benefits, and potential for promotion
  • improve resource management.

It’s well documented that when caregivers feel ‘seen,’ valued, and supported by their home care employer, retention rates are higher – and effective performance reviews are certainly one way to ensure your home care business is part of this trend.

Here are nine ways to guarantee your caregiver performance reviews are highly effective, so you, your caregivers, and your business can benefit:

1. Be well prepared ahead of time

An effective performance review requires excellent planning. This not only helps to get the most out of the process but also communicates to your caregivers that your business takes them seriously and is committed to their future growth and success.

While this clearly requires time, effort, and resources, the payback is well worth the investment. Well-structured and productive reviews will prove invaluable to your caregivers and your business.

Where possible, you should prepare and review:

  • a copy of the caregiver’s job description 
  • the record from their last review to measure progress and guide the discussion
  • data on the caregiver’s performance, including client and co-worker feedback, to limit bias and focus on objective facts
  • key points to discuss (i.e., successes and challenges), with potential solutions 
  • main goals to talk about, related to future business needs
  • a standardized review form to ensure consistency for all employees
  • a copy of the caregiver’s self-assessment.

As performance reviews should be a two-way discussion, you can also create a joint agenda with each caregiver, to guide the meeting and ensure everything gets covered.

2. Utilize self-assessments

Asking regularly for feedback from clients and their families - Smartcare Software

It is essential to give your caregivers time to prepare for their reviews well in advance. In addition to sharing a meeting agenda ahead of time, and setting clear expectations, you can also ask each caregiver to complete a self-assessment. 

This will encourage self-reflection, help them focus on the upcoming performance review, and feel more engaged in the process. It will also help you gain greater insights into the caregiver’s perspective to inform goal planning and areas for development.

3. Document everything to track progress

Part of an effective performance review is keeping a record of everything (and archiving it correctly) for practical and procedural purposes. This allows for quick access should you need it and provides the necessary details to guide the next review.

Records should be checked and signed by both parties.

Documenting everything means there are no surprises for your caregivers when they have their next review. It’s also essential if a different person is running reviews in the future, as they’ll need something tangible to refer to.

4. Create a positive two-way experience

Performance reviews don’t have to be the dreaded experiences they are often thought to be! Instead, they can be productive, effective, and actionable if you establish a safe environment where you and your caregivers can give and receive honest feedback. 

In addition to finding a quiet, comfortable area to conduct reviews – where your caregivers can feel at ease and free from distraction – aim for a conversational approach. Relaxed, two-way communication will not only create a more democratic environment and fully engage your caregivers in the process, but will also result in positive results that can only be achieved through open and honest dialogue.

5. Reflect on past performance but focus on the future

Choosing technology that has all users in mind

While it is necessary to reflect on a caregiver’s performance to date and address any issues, effective performance reviews should emphasize the future and what your caregivers can do to improve moving forward. 

Think of your reviews as an opportunity to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your caregiver team. Placing emphasis on the growth and development of each caregiver – and how your business can support their aims – is a far more engaging and motivating approach to achieving your business goals.

6. Set attainable SMART goals

Setting performance goals is a crucial part of the review process – and these should align with your business goals. You’ll need to agree on a shared set of SMART goals for the period ahead and clearly define the criteria by which both of you will know that these goals have been achieved. This should include ‘how’ various aspects of the job should be performed – the behavioral requirements of the tasks – in addition to the expected outcomes. 

By clearly setting out the path ahead, you will effectively strengthen your caregivers’ empowerment to plan and implement the steps necessary to reach their goals and be successful. You can only trust your employees to do the right thing if they clearly understand what that right thing is!

This is also an ideal opportunity to discuss how your home care business can provide the support needed to achieve the goals agreed. Factors such as upskilling, training, mentoring, the right tools, and other support should all be considered when setting SMART goals, to guarantee success.

7. Provide a clear action plan

An effective performance review doesn’t end when the meeting is over. After the review, caregivers and managers should check the notes, confirm the next steps, and follow up with shared feedback and any additional comments. 

For your reviews to actually improve performance, creating a clear and logical action plan (directly linked to the agreed goals) is vital.

8. Increase the frequency of employee/employer feedback

Caregiver retention first 30 days - Smartcare Software

While performance reviews serve as a valuable tool to summarize the year’s performance and plan for the year ahead, if you want to see positive and lasting improvements, then communication between your caregivers and their managers must extend beyond one annual meeting. 

To show your business is invested in your caregivers’ goals, progress, and performance, you must establish ongoing conversations where they receive regular, consistent feedback and are comfortable approaching their managers to discuss concerns. This is especially important in the case of new hires.

Mentoring and coaching programs are ideal for supporting this continuous performance conversation model.

9. Make sure managers/supervisors have the necessary skills

An essential piece of the puzzle for effective performance reviews is to ensure that those conducting them have the necessary skills. Your managers/supervisors might require some training and practice to develop the right approach – to guarantee a positive experience for all concerned. They’ll need to be able to:

  • ask the right types of questions
  • demonstrate active listening skills
  • establish a two-way, balanced discussion
  • give constructive, objective, and effective feedback
  • identify opportunities for future action
  • appreciate how the process contributes to your overall business strategy and value.

Attracting and retaining talented caregivers remains a top issue for most home care providers. Well-executed performance reviews can successfully underpin your broader HR strategy. They are a surefire way to improve the caregiver experience, showing your caregivers that they are highly valued and have a long-term future with your company.

Making your caregiver performance reviews positive and effective can be challenging, but we hope these tips will help you get off to a flying start. 

Please contact us or request a free demo to learn more about Aaniie tools and how they can help support key areas of your performance review process.