From businesses to individuals, we have all been affected one way or another by the pandemic. We can’t deny that how we work and the way we work has changed. For most organizations, including those in home care, there’s no going back. It’s either adapt or get left behind.
With that in mind, here are nine pandemic accelerated trends that will help to shape the home care workforce in 2022.
1. The Great Resignation continues into Q1
The most discussed trend of 2021 has been The Great Resignation. The Great Resignation is the ongoing trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs in mass numbers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Forbes, 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September 2021. This trend will likely carry over into Q1 of 2022. The number one reason cited for quitting a job in home care is burnout.
2. Staffing shortages intensify
Due to The Great Resignation, along with the ever-growing senior population who are staying in their homes as they age, the home care staffing shortages will only intensify. According to PHI, “the home care workforce is projected to add 1 million new jobs from 2019 to 2029 — more jobs than any other occupation in the U.S.” However, unless home health can attract new workers, a significant portion of those jobs will remain vacant. There needs to be a major shift when it comes to this profession. One way is to bump up wages.
3. Workers want flexibility
The pandemic caused all industries including home care to rethink the way work is done. Many workers now crave the flexibility that companies implemented during the pandemic. A large portion of workers would rather quit than go back to a traditional work schedule. Plus, many will jump ship to join organizations that allow them to stay completely remote or take advantage of a hybrid work schedule. The pandemic has given employees ample time to review and restructure their working lives how they see fit.
4. Employers place more focus on employee well-being
We’ve come a long way from subsidized gym memberships and fruit in the lunchroom. Employers are beginning to understand the importance of building employee wellness programs that include physical, mental and financial health. Expect to see more paid time off, healthy eating initiatives, fitness challenges, accessible resources and tools to manage mental health and stress, more collaborative work environments, professional career development and training, etc. Organizations that value the well-being of their employees will become “Employers of Choice.”
5. Diversity and inclusion top of mind
No longer is diversity and inclusion just a good idea but are now essential initiatives. A diverse and inclusive workplace includes everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do for the organization and makes them feel equally involved in all areas of the workplace. According to Great Places to Work, the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce include higher revenue growth, readiness to innovate, increased ability to recruit talent, and 5.4 times higher employee retention rates.
6. Upskilling and cross-training ongoing
The critical need for upskilling and cross training became obvious in 2020 and 2021, and home care organizations will continue to place emphasis on both. Upskilling provides staff the opportunity for additional education and training in order to be promoted from within. Ultimately, it plays an important role in succession planning and staff retention. Cross-training is the process of developing new skills that apply across different healthcare positions. Leadership basically matches workers with other organizational roles and activities. This way, staff is trained and ready to pitch-in during challenging times.
7. Infection preventionists in high demand
The demand for infection preventionists is higher than ever before. The Global infection control market is forecasted to reach USD $31.99 Billion by 2027, per a report by Reports and Data. Infection preventionists have been on the front lines of addressing COVID in our healthcare settings and now have been asked to help out other sectors including, hospitality and entertainment. However, there aren’t enough infection preventionists to meet the growing demand and currently, there’s no straight career path to becoming an infection preventionist. Fortunately, many universities are looking into creating a degreed program and interest among students seems high.
8. Need for interim talent rapidly growing
Many home care and healthcare organizations need temporary reinforcement for heavy workloads, staff replacements, sudden vacancies, clinical consulting, etc. The need for interim talent has been accelerated by the pandemic as well as the current tight labor market. Onboarding Interim staff and interim leadership can calm the anxiety of workers as well as provide a safeguard when it comes to maintaining organizational stability and success.
9. New digital care technologies continue to emerge
The impact of COVID highlighted the pressing need to implement leading edge technologies and placed emphasis on training staff accordingly. Digital healthcare technologies are essential for improved healthcare and quality of life for seniors. New senior care technologies like smart home care monitoring technologies, real-time location systems and artificial intelligence-enabled cameras can help providers in the areas of connectivity, infection prevention, emergency communication and response, contact tracing and fall prevention.
Julie Rupenski is the founder, president and CEO of MedBest, an award-winning national executive search firm exclusive to the senior living and care industries. Her specialties include filling C-suite, vice president, regional and property-level positions. Contact her at [email protected] or at 727-526-1294.