Happy New Year: learning to look forward, not back


Every year about this time I think how fast the prior year went – and hope I can slow things down just a little in the year to come.

I find myself examining the past year, and that’s OK to a point.  My tendency is to obsess about the things that didn’t go quite right – over and over again.

I need to remind myself that the past is gone.  We can’t change it, but we can learn from it.  And to do that well, we’d better focus on the future.

Here are my predictions for the future – 2016 and beyond…

1.  Competition is going to increase.  Everyone, everywhere is keenly aware of the changing demographics in our country and around the developing world.  We’re an aging society with a huge baby boomer population that is swelling the ranks of older adults.  That’s good news for our business of serving elders in need; it’s bad news in that everyone wants a piece of this business.  We will see innovations in care and staffing – think: Uber, Air BnB and other disruptive business practices.  They’ll be coming to senior care, too, and likely much faster than we think.  Technology will be an increasing part of our daily landscape, with someone finally figuring out how tele-health and tele-care can really impact the average aging family.  Baby boomers and especially their children will be actively seeking ways to leverage technology to make the traditional approaches to care better, easier and more accessible to all.

Competition can be scary.  It can also be energizing, giving us the motivation to stay current, find ways to get ahead and stay ahead.

In our particular corner of the world, training is a clear tool to help providers get ahead and stay ahead.  Utilize the online campus (get tech savvy NOW) and add your own special training programs to the online campus to help you carve out a niche that will be hard for a newcomer to disrupt.

2.  Regulations are going to increase.  If you’re in California you’re thinking “We’re there already.”  Regulations just doubled for most providers.  Some providers who had no regulations at all have steep new compliance requirements to stay in business.  Overheard on our phones last week was a provider musing to his business partners, “I don’t know if we can meet all these tough new requirements.  Maybe we should just start trying to sell the company.”  It’s that scary.

Find partners and vendors who can help you navigate the increasingly challenging waters of regulatory compliance.  It’s a foundation of every successful business.  In the training arena, our team of knowledgeable Training Specialists and Consultants can make it easy for you to get and stay in compliance – no matter how complex the requirements become.

3.  People will be your most valuable asset.  Yesterday a provider told me that his biggest challenge wasn’t finding new caregivers – it was finding good new caregivers.  During the recession finding applicants wasn’t a big problem.  Lots of providers got into a pattern of thinking that quality care team members were available and didn’t focus on recruitment of quality applicants or retention of those already on your team.

In many markets today finding enough caregivers is the top issue of providers.  They can’t grow without good people on their team.  They can’t sustain growth or feel confident of holding their competitive edge without the knowledge that they have the best and brightest people on their team.

Yes, you may have to pay a little more to keep your best people.  You will clearly need to offer them ongoing opportunities to learn, grow and advance in their skills – a good thing for you and your clients, too.  Check out the certifications offered by IPCed as a way to help you easily and affordably offer opportunities to retain your vital team members.  They’re an asset worth your investment.

4.  New Clients will come via the web.  Period.  The old ways of marketing will gradually fade as internet marketing becomes the standard for getting new clients.  Even those receiving the referral from a physician or discharge planner will research you on the web.

What’s your web presence today?  How can you improve it so that your story, your mission, your unique approach to care is clearly communicated to even the most casual site visitor?

“Content is king” applies to your website, too.  What content are you adding that’s of value to family caregivers?  Those family caregivers today provide more than 90% of all caregiving services in the country – are you talking to them?  Are you helping them understand how to manage care and when to bring in outside support?  Are you crystal clear with families about the value of their role after you’re involved?  Do you have clear systems to communicate with families about care, concerns, schedules and more?

IPCed offers the Family Learning Center® to help you.  Talk to a Training Specialist or Consultant for even more ideas for increasing your content and better connecting with families.  It’s important today – and vital for your survival in the future.

We’re off to a fast start to the year.  Let’s keep our focus on what’s coming and prepare today for an even more exciting tomorrow!

5 Responses to “Happy New Year: learning to look forward, not back”

  1. Ruth

    This is where I have been going for the past year. The way we knew it is gone and if we don’t get it together we will not be here next year. The way of the past is gone and we need to be able to adapt to what our seniors need now. Not what we think they need.

  2. Nancy

    You hit the nail on the head. We have been in business for 18 years, and our Home Health section of the business is doing great. We have a great team of well trained professionals serving our clients with top notch care. Our personal care section is hanging on, but, as you said, getting good caregivers that aren’t solely looking for a paycheck, is getting really tough. The clients are out there, we just can’t serve them all because of the lack of good caregivers in our area. Our unemployment rate is really low, which is great, but that also means that the pool from which we can choose is pretty darn dry. We are currently looking at different ways to get and retain good caregivers and would appreciate any and all suggestions. Thanks!!!

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Nancy,

      Here are a few ideas that we have implemented in the last year. Hope they help.
      1. We made a list of all the things that we feel we offer as a company. Trainings (IPCed), insurance, raises, etc and give it to all the people we interview.
      2. We schedule a month in advance so people know where they will be. We get many complements on that.
      3. We send out birthday cards every month and have get together’s for staff every couple.
      4. We partner with local CNA training centers and offer to pay for CNA’s training’s and they sign a contract that they will work off their debt for us.
      5. We have employee of the month each month and give gift cards and personal items to them.
      6. We do an Employee based Newsletter to let them know what is coming and what we need to work on without shouting at them.
      Hope some of these idea’s work for you.

      • Sharon Brothers

        Thanks for sharing these ideas, Elizabeth. Watch for more upcoming webinars on this topic is it is vital to staying in business!

  3. Irv

    I agree with all you have said, including new marketing strategies, and especially attracting and keeping good employees – many companies say that the employees are the key, but most do not practice what they say.


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