CNA logoEnhancing Employee Selection and Orientation

One of the major managerial challenges of the home healthcare field is selecting and retaining qualified, competent and trustworthy employees. An impulsive hiring decision or inadequate orientation may result in a costly lawsuit and a blemished reputation. Sound hiring and training practices are essential to providing quality care, reducing organizational exposure and gaining a competitive edge in the marketplace.

The following strategies are designed to reduce risk by identifying applicants who are compatible with organizational culture, as well as helping newly hired employees acclimate to their roles. Consult with legal counsel to determine the optimal approach for the organization.

Job descriptions.
Develop job descriptions that specify:

  • basic duties
  • required skills and competencies
  • educational and/or experiential criteria
  • desired personality traits
  • general behavioral expectations

Require newly hired employees to indicate in writing that, having read the job description and reviewed it with their supervisor, they understand what is expected of them.

Assessment tools.
Reliable personality profile assessment tools can help winnow out candidates who lack the necessary judgment, integrity and responsibility. Many such tools are available. See the websites listed at the end of this article for more information.

Interview questions.
Behavior-based interviewing is based on the idea that the best way to predict future performance is to examine past experiences, actions and decisions. Interview questions should be open-ended, in order to prompt discussion and reveal the applicant’s values and thought processes. The following examples can serve as a starting point:

  • Why did you decide to become a personal caregiver?
  • What do you think makes for an excellent home care provider?
  • How would you react if a family member told you he or she was upset with the care the client was receiving?
  • Have you ever worked with difficult or demanding clients? How did you resolve these personality conflicts?
  • What was the most challenging problem you have encountered on the job? How did you go about overcoming it?
  • How would you manage a situation where you had to deny a client’s request because it violated company policy?

Employee orientation and mentoring.
Newly hired staff members should undergo an orientation process that gives them the opportunity to learn about the organization, meet with supervisors, ask questions and concentrate on necessary administrative matters. Employees should be informed at this time that the organization has zero tolerance for harmful or abusive actions. In addition, supervisors should be trained to observe and mentor employees, and confirm their readiness to work independently. As part of the mentoring process, supervisors should help staff members establish personal objectives and create training and development plans, which can help increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.

Probationary period.
Many companies give employees a probationary period to demonstrate their competency and reliability. While newly hired staff members should have the opportunity to remediate deficiencies observed during this period, the right to terminate employees promptly for serious misconduct must be reserved.

Employee handbook.
Companies should maintain a comprehensive and current employee handbook, which articulates the organization’s mission, goals, ethics, policies and procedures. Require all caregivers to sign a form attesting that they have received, read and understood the handbook, and agree to conduct themselves accordingly. The handbook should state prominently that its contents are subject to revision at any time, and that it represents neither a contract of employment nor a promise of future or continued employment. Ensure that legal counsel reviews the handbook prior to publication and whenever it is updated.

Confidentiality statement.
Home care providers can reduce the risk of violating the statutory privacy protections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), as well as other privacy laws and regulations, by requiring new hires to sign a confidentiality agreement that obligates them to protect sensitive information. Maintain the executed agreement in the employee’s personnel file.

For more information, visit the following websites:

The information, examples and suggestions presented in this material have been developed from sources believed to be reliable, but they should not be construed as legal or other professional advice. CNA accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this material and recommends the consultation with competent legal counsel and/or other professional advisors before applying this material in any particular factual situations. Please note that Internet hyperlinks cited herein are active as of the date of publication, but may be subject to change or discontinuation. This material is for illustrative purposes and is not intended to constitute a contract. Please remember that only the relevant insurance policy can provide the actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for an insured. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. Use of the term “partnership” and/or “partner” should not be construed to represent a legally binding partnership. CNA is a registered trademark of CNA Financial Corporation. Copyright ©2011 CNA. All rights reserved.