All leaders struggle with finding ways to keep team morale high and staff members motivated to provide excellent service. In the home care world, low morale and unmotivated caregivers can lead to a litany of issues ranging from poor care to a lackluster reputation to increased turnover. As home care leaders look to improve their team communication and compliance, they often overlook how technology can provide a way to meaningfully connect with their team and enhance the work experience.
What Is gamification and why does it work?
Generally speaking, the word “gamification” means applying game-design elements or features in non-game contexts or situations. In today’s world, gamification interventions pull heavily from video games or games played on smartphones or tablets. You might be wondering why video game inspiration would ever meet you in your home care agency, but the answer lies in motivation and positive behavior modification.
As with most new ideas, gamification started in the tech world. Gamification can be found in almost any app you currently use in your personal and professional life. For example, when you walk a certain number of miles, you might earn a special badge or virtual certification. You can even share the badge on social media, alerting your friends to your accomplishment. This extra pat on the back motivates adults to walk the extra block, read the extra chapter, and work on pursuing the next badge.
Gamification is all about making the ordinary tasks of life seem a bit more fun. You can find badges, celebratory emails and other motivation in apps that track a variety of otherwise mundane tasks. Read a book? Get a badge. Meditate for ten minutes? Receive a celebratory text. Complete a survey after a visit to the grocery store? Win a discount on your next purchase.
The good news for home care leaders? Gamification can motivate caregivers to document more, clock in correctly, or communicate more efficiently.
What does gamification look like in home care?
In the home care industry, caregivers complete tasks that can feel repetitive, ordinary and even a bit mundane. To complicate matters even further, home care caregivers are not working with other team members or with direct manager oversight, making it more difficult to praise good behaviors and correct behaviors that aren’t best practice. This means that poor habits can develop quickly and may go unnoticed for weeks or months.
Caregivers can be motivated to develop better habits throughout their daily schedules and with their care tasks through gamification. They can receive immediate and tangible feedback via points or badges they earn for tasks like appropriate and timely documentation, clocking in and out correctly, or practicing excellent preventative care. This quick feedback can boost morale, improve feelings of self-esteem, praise good behavior, and even teach caregivers new things.
At Medflyt, we’ve seen the impact that gamification can have on caregiver morale, self-esteem, and duties. Caregivers are more likely to be compliant with documentation and tasks when they are rewarded immediately via their smartphone app. Then, those rewards can translate to other tangible rewards, like a bonus or entry into a drawing, at their agency.
Inspiration for connecting with your caregivers
Gamification can look like rewarding caregivers with a series of badges as they meet documentation compliance milestones. But it doesn’t stop there. You can gamify multiple parts of the caregiver experience including:
- Orientation and ongoing training by using engagement questions and interactive tests that feel more like a game than an assessment.
- Clocking in and out to meet EVV regulations, by earning points or badges for their arrival time.
- Communicating with family members, by earning celebratory screens when they send an email or make a phone call to family members to update them appropriately.
- Picking up a shift to replace a sick colleague or cover a last-minute new patient by earning points that can be redeemed for additional PTO time or cash bonuses.
When it comes to gamification in the home care field, the possibilities are endless. In all cases, caregivers are put at the center of the story, giving them the tools they need to complete their tasks effectively and with pride.
Are you ready to make play a part of your agency’s culture? Start with gamification.
Levi Pavlovsky is COO and co-founder of Medflyt.