Many home health care agencies struggle with the performance of their staff. Whether it’s their caregivers in the field or their accounting staff in the office, how do they ensure employees keep getting better at their jobs? It all starts with creating a culture of continuous improvement–communicating expectations, giving employees the tools they need to achieve them, and recognizing them for their growth.

This means fostering an environment where staff members are learning, contributing, and working toward company goals. You can help develop this mindset in your home health care agency by instilling the belief that a constant stream of communication and sharing of ideas are critical to everyone’s success.

Set Expectations and a Clear Vision for Your Agency
You can’t create a culture of continuous improvement if staff members don’t know the expectations you have for them. These will probably include everything from reception providing excellent customer service to sales staff bringing in a certain number of referrals each month. Document expectations in your agency’s policy and procedure manual, hold weekly meetings with management staff, and meet quarterly with all staff to clearly communicate your vision to every department.

Establish an Improvement Program
Once you have communicated your expectations, you need to implement a process improvement program. This will help you identify which expectations have not been met so you can develop a plan to achieve them. Your home health care agency’s program should focus on advancing your staff’s knowledge and skills. Some ways to do this can include:
• Scheduling training sessions on an ongoing basis. Non Profit Growth Identify what skills each employee needs and provide him/her with opportunities to acquire those skills.
• Being available to answer your team’s questions and provide insight.
• Assessing the knowledge your staff already has to gauge where there is room for improvement.
• Including the continuous learning expectations in each job description and in the yearly evaluations to emphasize this value to employees.

Engage Your Entire Staff
Your employees want to know that they’re making a difference. Explain to them why they’re important to your home health care agency and encourage ideas, questions, and feedback from everyone. Doing so can provide you with new ideas for continuous improvement and also improve productivity.

Recognize and Reward Staff
If you want to see continuous improvement, you also need to offer incentives and show appreciation for employees who contribute to your agency’s success. Praise top performers, especially those who have trained and worked hard to achieve better results. You can recognize and reward by:
• Holding recognition meetings: Publically recognize improvements by members of your staff every month or every quarter. Be specific as to what they have achieved and how it positively affects the agency. Public recognition amongst peers is a sure-fire way to motivate other employees to step up their performance as well.
• Creating incentives for improvement: Even small rewards can make a big impact. Whether it’s a gift card, bonus, or extra time off, offer some kind of tangible reward employees can receive for exemplary performance.

No matter how you approach continuous improvement, make sure you’re consistent in your methods. Stick to your plan if it’s working. If you haven’t seen results after a few months, change it up. Always leave room for experiments and mistakes–they’re going to happen.