Caring is what you do. As a home health care aide, you make your living taking care of people in need. You comfort your clients by your presence. You support and encourage them with your words and your actions. Your work satisfies you because you know you are making a difference in somebody’s life.
But is the company you work for as caring as you are, putting you first just as you put your clients first? Do they support and encourage you? Are they committed to your future, helping you grow in your job so that work continues to be a source of satisfaction? Do they give you the training and benefits you need so you can give your clients everything they need?
Perhaps your company does all that, but if it doesn’t, how do you find one that does? If you’re considering a new home health care employer, you should take the time to evaluate all they have to offer. Here are some factors to consider:
- Size: How many employees does a company have? A small company, when run well, can feel like a warm, personal family-like environment. Larger companies, on the other hand, often have more resources to offer their employees, as well as more opportunities. However, working for a large company doesn’t necessarily mean less personal attention, as many of them have local service offices providing care in their communities.
- Geography: Is the company local, regional, or national? Locally based companies can focus on and respond to their particular communities. Companies with broader geographic scope tend to be more attuned to trends in health care changes that impact health care delivery nationwide. There are also companies that combine the best of both: nationally respected leaders that, through regional offices, deliver locally focused, high-quality home care and support.
- Experience: When was the company started? Some companies have decades of proven experience in home health care, while others may be newcomers or established companies who have added home health care to their range of services. A long history of continued focus on home health care is a sign of a strong track record that predicts a lasting future ahead.
- Reputation: How is the company rated by leading authorities in health care? Do they have a reputation for excellence? Check if the company’s accredited. Accreditation is like a seal of excellence that demonstrates a company’s commitment to the highest professional, ethical, and safety standards. The strongest companies voluntarily seek accreditation from leading independent accrediting agencies, such as Community Health Accreditation Partners (CHAP) and Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities International (CARF).
- Innovation: Is the company forward looking? How do they respond to changes in health care delivery? Are they leaders and innovators with technology that’s always state-of-the-art? An innovative company will take advantage of new technologies to enhance how you care for your clients. For example, they may give caregivers electronic tablets for recording and monitoring client data; or they may provide the latest in home medical equipment in clients’ homes.
- Appreciation: Does the company value its employees? How do they show their appreciation? You want an employer who recognizes your commitment and honors your hard work so be sure to investigate what specific benefits, perks, and programs a company has to reward employees who maintain high standards of safety and care.
- Opportunities for growth: Does the company care about your future? Are they committed to your success, offering you opportunities to advance your career? Do they encourage continued education and training? Look for a company that offers education programs, scholarship opportunities, and ongoing support, resources, and supervision to help you develop your full potential.
- Values: What is the company’s mission and values? Are they as caring as you are? You can often find a company’s values expressed in their mission statement. Some companies go even further, outlining a set of core values and beliefs that guide their company at every level, from how they treat their clients to how they support their employees.
So, how do you find the answers? Begin your search online. Make a list of companies that meet your criteria for a great employer. When you narrow down your list, call the Human Resources office to learn more about how to apply for a job. Ask them if you could have an “informational interview” in which you can find out more about the company and get a feel for whether or not it’s a good fit for you. At the same time, talk to people you know who work in health care. Find out what they know about the companies that interest you.
Finding the right company for you may take some time and effort, but it’s worthwhile. Consider your research an investment in your future. By taking time to ask questions, you may find a perfect match – a company that cares about you as much as you care about your clients.