Your caregivers are essential partners and play a crucial role in the growth of your home care business. However, if one of your caregivers decides to poach a client, your company could suffer significant damage. In many cases, caregivers leaving agency work to start working privately, or those taking care of clients moving to a different agency poach clients and work with them directly.
There are three significant reasons why your caregiver would work directly with your client:
- They have worked together for long.
- Your client is offering to increase your caregiver’s pay
- Administrative or cultural issues within your company
The threat of losing clients to your caregivers is real, and it could be devastating for your company’s growth, mainly if you run a small business with smaller accounts and highly price-conscious clients. Such situations could also compromise your company’s data security and place your regulatory compliance status at risk. However, you can take steps to keep your caregivers from working with your clients directly, particularly during the onboarding process.
Below are four strategies you can use to handle the situation.
1. Have a Non-Compete Agreement in Place
A non-compete agreement is a contract made between your agency and your caregivers. In this kind of legal agreement, the caregiver agrees that they will not compete with your agency during and after their employment at your company.
However, you should know that to enforce a non-competition agreement, then it must meet specific criteria. Have your lawyer review your non-compete agreements to ensure that they are not overly restrictive or harmful to your employees.
What’s more, there are differences in how different U.S. states enforce non-compete agreements, as their legal status is a matter of jurisdiction. The recognition of these contracts varies widely between states, and some states may even not enforce them at all.
Most states that allow for non-compete agreements also have standards for reasonable restrictions on the following:
- Your caregiver’s ability to find subsequent employment
- The geographic scope of the agreement
- The length of time during which the agreement remains in force
You can only set non-compete contracts with your caregivers with realistic timeframes. The agreement should not stop your employees from furthering their careers.
2. Establish a Rapport with Your Caregivers
Although you should always consider financial and legal defenses against caregivers working directly with your clients, probably the best way you can protect your business is to provide a workplace where your employees want to work. Some areas you could focus on are:
- Cultivating a great corporate culture: Culture is how the people in your agency think, act, and feel, based on what they see their colleagues doing. Each interaction you have with your caregivers gives you a chance to represent your agency’s culture. A great culture ensures your employees take better care of clients and each other and gives them a feeling of responsibility for your agency’s success.
- Giving consistent recognition: When people feel that their work is valued, they tend to be more committed to their tasks. Sending your caregiver a quick text with a sincere “thank you” could go a long way toward building their loyalty to your agency and its goals.
- Providing a clear path to career growth: When you establish a career ladder for your caregivers and offer them the training they need to climb the ladder, you give them a goal to work towards and advance within your company. Mentorship programs are excellent tools that you can use to build meaningful and lasting relationships within your team and establish trust.
3. Pay Your Caregivers a Competitive Salary
Pay is often the primary reason that your employees would poach your clients. People want good pay to cover their standard expenses and have enough money left over for savings or buy the things they have always wanted. If you do not pay your employees well, they could be tempted to negotiate for better pay directly from your clients.
Carry out your market research on what is a fair, liveable wage for your caregivers. Whenever possible try to offer employees competitive benefits in addition to their salaries.
4. Ensure that Your Clients Understand the Advantages of Working with Your Agency
One of the best ways to ensure that your clients do not work with your staff directly is to make sure that they identify more with your agency as a whole instead of with a particular individual. Talk to your clients regularly, find out any areas of concern, and let them know the advantages that you offer – Make them feel special. With this in mind, there are specific concerns that you should address when talking to your clients:
- If they insist on working with only one caregiver, they may find it challenging to find someone to cover them when they take sick time or go on vacation.
- If you have a non-compete agreement, let them know that there could be financial implications if they work directly with your caregivers.
- Your agency would act as a mediator in any conflict between the client and the caregiver, ensuring faster and more complete resolution of any problems.
First Visit Streamlines Your Operations and Keeps Caregivers and Clients Happy
In business, the people who are your biggest allies could be the greatest threat to the growth of your business. Your caregivers know your business intimately, they know your clients, and they understand the best way to adapt the two to each other.
The above is a combination that could be a dangerous weapon if your caregivers feel underappreciated, underpaid, or have a weak contract with you that allows them to work directly with your clients with little or no consequences on their part. Understanding how you can prevent an exodus of your clients to private arrangements with your employees will help you avoid massive losses.
Intelligent scheduling and assignment of caregivers to clients is also a great way to gain insights into the relationship between your clients and their caregivers. First Visit Software’s home care scheduling solution ensures that you match clients with caregivers who can offer them the best care possible, preventing them from leaving to a different agency or work directly with your caregivers.
Do you want to protect your business, provide the best care to your clients, and keep your caregivers happy? Schedule a demo of First Visit scheduling software today!