8 Holiday Incentives to Encourage Your Caregivers

Caregiver retention is essential for you and your clients.

Clients thrive on the same friendly faces at their front door. They relish the generosity and optimism of reliable helpers who feel like friends—even family.

It helps them feel well cared for.

The best way to provide top-notch service is to pay it forward to your employees. Like your clients, your employees yearn for positivity and respect.

While the best caregivers are selfless and gracious towards others no matter what, you want to ensure they love their jobs. Year-end is a common time for dissatisfied workers to seek alternative employment.

The good news? The holidays are an opportune time to express thankfulness and reassurance.

When employees feel satisfied and appreciated, it leads to happy clients.

Here are eight ways to encourage your caregivers this holiday season:

1. Gift an Extra Vacation Day…or Two

The work of a caregiver is not always easy. It’s a mentally, emotionally, and physically draining job—with the incredible reward of caring for those in need.

One way to show appreciation and understanding is to gift an extra day off. It allows your caregivers to feel seen for their incredibly hard work.

It may not seem like much, but a little in the way of vacation goes a long way for employee morale.

And it doesn’t have to be a vacation day specifically. It can be a mental health day or a Get Out Of Work Free card. Just ensure there are no holds barred for 24 hours.

2. Prioritize Employee Recognition

Many companies have an employee-of-the-month program or a wall of fame. It’s prolific because public acknowledgment really works. It promotes pride in employees’ work and encourages further effort.

Caregivers may not have a common office where they gather and view bulletin boards of caregiver superstars. But you can use email or social media to highlight those that take turns rising above the rest.

Alternatively, you can virtually introduce your employees to one another—regardless of work ethic or job performance. By showcasing their backgrounds, interests, and unique qualities, caregivers will feel like an integral part of the team.

3. Plan a Mail-In Secret Santa (in Lieu of a Holiday Party)

2020, in a nutshell, was difficult, and many of us are eager to celebrate its end. Even so, with COVID-19 cases on the rise and the health of high-risk clients at stake, it’s not an ideal time to plan a party.

Instead of a closed-in soireé that lacks social distancing, consider organizing a mail-in gift exchange. It’s a safe, yet enjoyable, alternative.

With participation optional, employees are assigned a random co-worker’s wish list and tasked to purchase a suitable gift.

You can facilitate the exchange by receiving and forwarding the gifts. This way, participant addresses remain private. Consider also expenditure limits and reimbursing gift costs.

After the exchange, let your caregivers choose whether or not they want their Santa identities revealed. If they choose to, they’ll have the chance to get better acquainted, and if not, the secrecy adds to the fun.

The beauty of this incentive is that thoughtful, personalized gifts can leave a more meaningful impression.

4. Bonuses

After a tough year, widespread holiday bonuses and pay raises may not be feasible for your agency; especially when you’re managing many caregivers.

If so, consider reserving bonuses—or an increase in wages—for a few exceptional employees, or longevity bonuses for those who’ve been with the company a few years or more.

Bonuses are a great way to help your caregivers feel extra valued during the holiday season. Start budgeting early to ensure you are prepared!

5. Gift an Oil Change or Car Wash

Caregivers spend a lot of time commuting, so it benefits them—and your clients—to have a reliable, functional car.

When coming from lower-income families, caregivers may not have the resources or time to maintain their vehicles regularly.

Offering to pay for an oil change or tire rotation is a great way to invest in that transportation—and ultimately, your employee’s dependability.

And if that’s too pricey, car washes are a more affordable option. A clean car not only keeps paint from corroding but makes a more professional statement when parked at a client’s home.

6. Give Away Useful Swag

Offering employees company swag is another sign of appreciation. The trick is to seek input and make it especially useful.

Instead of guessing what your caregivers would like, survey what they would find most enjoyable or practical. If they spend a lot of time commuting, they might make use of travel mugs. Others, with lots of equipment to carry, could love a large tote bag. You can even ask what product colors they’d most enjoy.

If their favorites don’t make the cut, your employees will still love that you value their opinions.

Plus, the more a caregiver needs and likes swag, the more the investment won’t go to waste (and it doesn’t hurt to have your logo flashed around even more).

7. Gift Cards and Getaways

Giveaways are also a great way to incentivize caregivers over the holidays. You can mail out gift cards, set up a competition for a larger, exciting getaway, or host a virtual raffle.

While gift cards are easy and include countless, well-loved options, friendly competitions for a bigger grand prize are also popular. These competitions can be based on high client ratings or other accomplishments that promote harder work and more dedicated client care.

For example, a weekend getaway—all expenses paid—would be a coveted win.

If you want to offer a wider selection of prizes, a virtual raffle works, too. It could be hosted live through Zoom or at any time through social media or email.

Caregivers would be assigned random raffle numbers and watch you pull them out of a shuffled pile. Numbers could also be randomly selected on the honor system and emailed to the winners.

8. Ask What They Would Like

Instead of randomly selecting incentives that may or not be favored (just like with the swag), you can base them off of direct feedback from an employee survey.

This makes incentives more effective and employees feel heard.

You may not be able to promise anything as a result of a survey, but hearing what your caregivers say can prove beneficial.

Sample questions could include:

What is most beneficial to you as an employee of this company?

What is one small thing that would make a big difference to you?

What do you feel this company lacks that others offer?

With the results, you can tailor an incentive that fits each employee specifically or engineer one based on common majority.

Sure, you may receive negative feedback, but constructive criticism has a rightful place. You’ll not only be in tune with suitable incentives—you’ll have a chance to improve your overall business.

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It pays to be generous. So this holiday season, don’t hold back. Incentivize your caregivers. Acknowledge, appreciate, and applaud their hard work.

It will be a gift that keeps on giving.