Visiting Angels provides premium in-home care for seniors and the disabled from over five-hundred franchise locations throughout the United States. Visiting Angels of Southwest Colorado, a franchise organization with six locations in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona, have been serving their community since 2011.
Hiring new caregivers is often a difficult, expensive undertaking. While time is always of the essence, it’s a typically slow process. Unlike some hourly roles, recruiting in-home caregivers requires the utmost diligence when a client’s quality of life is at stake. And that’s exactly why Visiting Angels is meticulous about who — and how — it hires. After all, the company’s people are its product — an essential ingredient in providing excellent service.
In 2019, Brianna Stewart, Visiting Angels of Southwest Colorado’s Recruitment & Retention Coordinator, sought a solution to her industry’s long-time hiring challenges. After exploring a host of different technologies, Brianna’s franchise decided to partner with Paradox to launch an AI Recruiting Assistant, named Zena. Today, Zena is helping to eliminate hiring inefficiencies and recruit qualified caregivers in their region.
An Industry Hiring for Heart Faces Hefty Headwinds
It takes a special type of person to work in the home healthcare industry. “Being a caregiver isn’t just a job someone can walk-in and do,” Stewart says “It’s hard to find the right person with the right heart.”
That’s especially true in a competitive industry short on available talent — particularly during a global pandemic, where in-home healthcare is a critical, essential service.
Stewart says Visiting Angels doesn’t typically have candidates lining up outside the door to apply for jobs. And when qualified people do apply, it’s critical that the Visiting Angels team is able to prioritize the best candidates so they can get to them quickly.
“Our training, onboarding, and mentorship program is extensive,” Stewart explains. “We invest a lot in our people so it’s important that we find high-quality candidates.” According to Stewart, the average home healthcare worker stays in the industry for less than a year. Hiring the wrong person can be a costly mistake.
"I really believe this is the answer to the employment issue that everyone runs into as a Visiting Angels franchise."
Transforming Hiring and Overcoming Obstacles with an AI Recruiting Assistant
Before partnering with Paradox, Stewart says it took their franchise locations an average of 80 days to hire a single caregiver. Eighty days.
That lengthy time-to-hire was due, in part, to recruiters having to manually push candidates through the process and — in Stewart’s words — “babysit” them along the way. “Recruiters are tasked with screening candidates, scheduling interviews, sending reminders, interviewing, and onboarding new hires — all while making sure we’re recruiting the right type of person,” Stewart says. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of that well.”
That’s where Paradox — and the franchise location’s AI Assistant, Zena — comes in.
Today, Stewart says their process is no-longer manual, because Zena automatically engages and screens candidates at the first point of contact — whether that’s on the company’s career site or via a simple text message conversation. When Zena meets a qualified candidate, she integrates with the recruiter and hiring manager’s calendars to automatically schedule interviews and send reminders leading up to their interview.
How’s it going so far?
The franchise has reduced time-to-hire by 63% and time-to-apply by 80%. And it’s not just about speeding up the process. They’ve increased monthly hires by 124%, too.
“What was taking us months to do is now taking us days,” says Stewart. “Zena is helping us get higher quality applicants scheduled for interviews. Now, we are booked for interviews three weeks out and have more on a waiting list. That never happened before.”
"What was taking us months to do is now taking us days."
Building a Team of Excellent Caregivers One Candidate at a Time
Before partnering with Paradox, the team struggled to find qualified candidates who were serious about a career in caregiving. It wasn’t uncommon for the team to have phone calls to potential candidates go unanswered and emails left unread. Mobile communication and messaging has flipped the situation entirely.
“Text messaging is the only way we communicate anymore,” Stewart says. “Paradox was exactly what we were looking for. We’re now able to combine a scheduling solution with text message communication and it’s been a complete game-changer.”
And Stewart thinks this is just the beginning of their transformation.
Visiting Angels of Southwest Colorado is committed to providing a premium homecare experience for those they serve. Delivering that experience starts with building a team of caregivers who are compassionate, willing to learn, and who have the right heart.
Zena, Stewart says, has been a critical addition to help the franchise hire exceptional people who will continue a legacy of outstanding care. She’s speeding up the hiring process, saving the franchise money, and giving the team hours back in their week to spend with top candidates.
“Zena really has become part of the team,” Stewart says. “We treat her as if she’s a real person and our candidates can rarely tell the difference.”
"Now, we are booked with interviews three weeks out and have more on a waiting list. This has never happened before."