In the spirit of the holidays, I’d like to start out with a little lighthearted brag, mainly because I’m just so incredibly grateful. 

Today a caregiver employee of nine years gave me a fabulous gift, a snow globe with the words “World’s Best Boss”, along with a very nice bottle of champagne. 

Since launching At Home Nursing Care in 2010, I have technically been “the boss”, although thinking about myself that way is strange.  I know I’m not really the world’s best boss, but there is still reason to strive for that accolade.  Even convincing just a few key people that it’s the truth has its merits. 

Now, more than ever, how owners, executives and managers make their team members feel will dictate which companies will survive this current labor shortage. 

Home care demand is outstripping supply. Agencies who find great caregivers and nurses need to work hard to keep them. Being considered the world’s best boss can only help. 

In an annual survey of caregivers conducted by Home Care Pulse, feeling valued and appreciated by a homecare agency is more important than hourly pay.  Appreciation turns into loyalty for caregivers. 

Several years ago, we realized we needed to boost appreciation of our staff.  We’ve always said thank you, given prizes for last minute help, provided honest feedback during annual reviews and pay raises commensurate with experience and market rates. 

For nearly a decade I’ve hand written each employee a note every December, telling them how important they are to us. 

When we noticed we still were not doing enough, we launched “bonus bucks”, a reward program that gives employees tickets just for doing their job.  Those tickets can be “cashed in” for gift cards, gas cards, time off, or the employee can request a particular item be ordered. 

The bonus bucks program is a huge success.  This year, we enjoyed giving our team members items such as In-N-Out Burger gift cards which will end up as stocking stuffers.  The gas cards are another highly requested item, no surprise given the price of gas this year.  Some employees requested hand bags or make up or fun kitchen gadgets.  

We really enjoyed seeing the smiles (behind the masks) when our employees came in to pick up their bonus bucks trade-ins.  Plus, it gave us another way to connect as people, not just managers and subordinates.  

The caregiver who gave me the snow globe, Fusako, will celebrate her 10th year with At Home Nursing Care in 2022.  She is a consummate professional, kind and caring, plus a great cook.  Our clients appreciate her as much as we do. 

I’m glad she thinks I’m worthy of such a wonderful snow globe.  I’ll display it proudly in my office, proof that at least one person considers me the very best. 

Her thoughtfulness is the real gift and a reminder that one of life’s greatest rewards is putting in the work to make other people feel that they matter.