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###2012 REPORT###

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Methodology
  • Key Findings
  • Recommendations 
  • Verbatim Responses

Executive Summary

For the most part, people that choose caregiving as a career path are happy with their choice - caregiving is a career chosen for reasons beyond a paycheck.
However, although many professional caregivers are happy with their career choice, the study identified a specific set of attributes that, when present, contribute to a more ideal working environment increasing caregiver satisfaction.
Interestingly, the attributes that contribute to an ideal environment differ slightly depending on the current employment situation of the caregiver. For example, currently employed car­egivers, place a much higher value on “wages” than those in-between jobs or first starting out. Also, currently employed caregivers gave higher ratings to “Working with clients they like”. Caregivers looking for their first position gave substantially lower ratings to the “Reputation of the company” than those people already in the workforce. This is not too surprising as these folks are already employed and thus may be less flexible on the things that matter to them.
Consistent performance evaluations and predictable raises universally scored the low. How­ever, it’s important not to underestimate their importance. While these attributes may not contribute to the “ideal” working environment, they were commonly brought up as items respondents “Wish the they had more of”. Performance evaluations are viewed as a “given”.
In terms of increasing overall workplace satisfaction for currently employed caregivers, five themes were identified:
  • Improved communication and feedback
  • Providing tools and training to allow caregivers to do their jobs better 
  • Recognition of hard work (empathy) 
  • Team and support 
  • Better Pay
The five areas identified also align well with our findings regarding what makes the ideal boss, i.e. understanding, honest, communicates well, a good listener, etc. It’s important to note that “recognition of hard work” was less about specific rewards and more about empathy from employers. There seems to be a common belief that most employers do not fully understand and appreciate the difficulties of being a professional caregiver.
Reinforcing the power of the above attributes was the fact that among the 55.2% of respond­ents who have no plans to leave their current employer, almost all indicated it was because they like their clients and they like whom they work with. For the most part, feelings about what constitutes a fair wage were pretty consistent across employment situations. Caregiv­ers felt a fair wage is higher than most nationally reported averages. On average, most car­egivers reported that $150 /day was a fair live-in wage and $17 / hour was a fair hourly wage for non live-in positions. 
The biggest area of concern - grounded in the reasoning behind the research – is that nearly half of employed caregivers indicated they are considering leaving their employer in the next 6 months. Based on our interpretation of the data, caregivers looking to leave their current employer felt their environments were lacking one or more of the key drivers (communica­tion, appropriate tools, team support, and wages). For employers, the challenge is continu­ously motivating a workforce used to changing jobs frequently and facing a high rate of burn­out.

Here are a few tips and insights based on the analysis of this research:
  • Increase frequency of communications in an effort to convey empathy and better understand current challenges
  • Focus on communicating and providing the tools and support to learn and grow (this is also critical in recruiting top talent!) 
  • Build a collaborative team environment, allowing open communication be tween all levels of staff 
  • Invest in reputation management - it counts 
  • Ensure caregivers understand the timing for their next review and raise discussion. Offer more frequent small raises vs. less frequent larger raises

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