Starting a business is a time of energy and excitement, but as time goes on there must be the same integrity and enthusiasm for quality. At the 2015 Homewatch CareGivers annual conference, Tanya Finnerty was honored with the Bertha Stumpf Award as recognition for how her business “embodies progressive practices, integrity, success, and overall excellence.” Ms. Finnerty’s business is one that exemplifies the highest standards for caregiver management and client care, among other practices.
Ms. Finnerty shares what this award means to her.
HWCG: How long have you been in business?
TF: Just over 4 years now.
HWCG: The award you received was about progressive practices, integrity, success and overall excellence. What progressive practices do you use in your business?
TF: I think it’s best to list them.
We drive quality as a team through weekly meetings. Home Care Pulse results and other matrices drive our discussions toward continuous improvement in every aspect of our business.
Our team approach to selecting the right caregiver for every client. We also offer free interviews to clients to aid in the selections process & provide comfort that they have a hand in who is chosen to care for their loved one.
Continuous training in place for office staff to improve their effectiveness and overall job satisfaction.
Cross-Training in place for caregivers & office staff alike.
Hot Board: Visual checklist for all new clients & new caregivers to ensure we all know the status & hit all touchpoints to successfully launch.
Following and informing caregivers and clients of legislative changes that may affect them.
Caregiver BIO book has become not only a great sales tool for us, but also a great way to get to know our caregivers quickly.
Flexible environment for office & caregivers.
HWCG: This award also recognized high standards for caregiver management, client care, and more. What are your standards for caregiver management and client care?
TF: We have a high level of engagement from the start with our caregivers. Once hired, we get them trained shortly after orientation. Our caregivers are an important part of our whole team so we have frequent contact in person and on the phone and during their first few weeks we do a lot of hand holding to make sure there is job satisfaction.
We’re flexible but firm, and have strict adherence to policies and procedures. We work with their schedules to ensure they get the hours and shifts that work into their lives. Our entire office has an open door policy. If the chain of command isn’t working well, we allow them to speak openly to other staff members that they may feel more comfortable with.
We like to reward our caregivers so we hand out $5 Starbucks cards when someone goes above and beyond. We have a caregiver of the quarter award and proudly display their picture in our training room, present them with a certificate as well as a gift card for $75.
To make sure that everyone is happy—clients and caregivers—we utilize Home Care Pulse, an outside satisfaction management company. We monitor and closely review monthly reports to see how we’re tracking and recommend/tweak our practices to ensure our staff has the highest possible level of job satisfaction.
When it comes to keeping our clients happy, we strive for flexibility, comfort, communication and reliability. As the owner, I am involved up front when onboarding to ensure client understands our vision and successful communication of client needs amongst office staff. We do quality assurance visits regularly to ensure client satisfaction.
A client is someone’s mother, grandmother, father, friend, and we understand the “whole” person and situation rather than just the care needed. Every client has 2-3 backup trained caregivers in the event of one caregiver being out sick or unavailable.
In order to have start-up success, we created a multi-phase startup plan that includes evaluation completion, a quality assurance visit with a scheduler and a nurse who can follow-up on any outstanding paperwork, a safety and fall risk assessment, caregiver matching (including any desired interviews), and a written plan of care.
HWCG: What does it mean to you to win this award?
TF: Wow! I was so surprised to receive this award as I see so many powerful offices in this network. This is a huge highlight of my journey thus far as a Homewatch CareGivers owner. To be recognized among my peers is a most wonderful honor.
The acknowledgement as the Bertha Stumpf award recipient in 2015 helped me to realize that while I may not be doing something dramatic and different in my business, I do have consistent, quality practices at the core of my business. We have a continuous improvement theme in our office and with everything we do, we strive to do it better every day or at every opportunity to improve our customer experience. Every mistake is a learning opportunity to realize what we could’ve done better. Our clients know we’re not perfect, but they can count on us to fix it and come up with a plan to improve the current situation.
I truly believe that this is the overall reason for our success as our clients know that they can rely on our company to deliver quality care when they need it, with a qualified caregiver and a well-documented and communicated plan. It’s fabulous to be in the business of caring as it touches so many lives, but if you cannot effectively execute then what do you really have?