Staffing still might be the biggest challenge for Briggs Home Care, but the company is taking a unique approach in order to recruit new talent.
Instead of going down the traditional path to find new caregivers, the Iowa-based home care provider has started to cast a wide net for workers by reaching out to church groups and similar community organizations.
“We’re trying to think outside the box of traditional recruiting channels,” John Phillips, CEO of Briggs Home Care, told Home Health Care News. “There’s compassionate people — many times within church groups — who cared for their deceased spouse and then they find they no longer have that sense of purpose, and they have a call to come back into that. So by reaching out to those areas that I would consider out of the box, we tend to get a little more interest.”
The Des Moines, Iowa-based Briggs Home care is a franchisee with 15 in-home care locations that are mainly located in the Midwest. Since 2015, Briggs has made 14 acquisitions that now operate as 11 independent agencies.
Phillips understands that the number of caregivers determines Briggs Home Care’s success. In order to stay on the path of steady growth, he and his team had to get creative.
The company’s efforts, plus some external tailwinds, are helping it along.
“We’re seeing more and more people come back into the workforce,” Phillips said. “The demand is always there. With people now starting to come back to work, we’re seeing it in our applications, we’re seeing in our hiring numbers. We are starting to see that revenue grow pretty much across the board.”
Briggs Home Care — underneath the umbrella of the 75-year-old Briggs Healthcare — has been around for seven years. Phillips has served as the CEO from the beginning.
He also serves as the president and COO for Briggs’ newest division: Briggs Home Care Franchising.
Briggs Home Care provides services that assist with clients’ activities of daily living, with about 700 caregivers across its network. Some agencies have more clients than others, but the client base is anywhere between 450 to 500.
Like all home care companies, Briggs struggled mightily with staffing during the pandemic. A few years prior, Briggs was busy in growth mode both organically and through acquisition.
“That came to a halt, as it did with many agencies, through COVID,” Phillips said. “At the present time, we are back into a growth mode, but its growth forward towards recovery. We find that recovery is harder in the smaller communities than the larger, urban settings. But it’s still exciting because the demand is still there.”
A unique staffing strategy
Phillips said that one of the great things about the home care industry is that an agency doesn’t have to generate demand, it has to fulfill it.
“Staffing is by far the number one challenge,” Phillips said. “When you’re able to solve that, I think you’ve got a clear path to success. We’ve tried various techniques to try to attract new caregivers and retain new caregivers, and sometimes just throwing more dollars at the situation isn’t really good because people tend to still want a sense of purpose.”
That’s where the idea to reach out to community-based groups began.
“The best thing we found is that we need to portray our agencies as a place where you want to work,” he said. “Where you’re valued, where you’re recognized, where you have potential in the investment that we make.”
For example, Briggs has an education program that’s not the typical 10 hours per year. It’s an education program that offers up to 120 hours per year, and it goes beyond caregiving. It touches on self-enrichment, socialization and other areas of their life outside of work.
While the growth plan has slowed some since the pandemic, Phillips said Briggs Home Care will continue to grow organically as it attracts new employees.
Briggs will always have an eye on M&A opportunities, Phillips said, but franchising will continue to be its main growth strategy.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the potential for franchising, given the fact that when you can tell a franchisee or potential franchisee you don’t have to generate the demand,” Phillips said. “It’s all about how you find your caregivers and how you treat them.”