Top Workplaces special award for meaningfulness: Homewatch Caregivers
Jon Hersh, founder of Homewatch CareGivers of Columbus, isn’t surprised to receive the Top Workplaces special award for both meaningfulness and leadership this year.
“What our caregivers and clients have—it’s not like a regular employee-employer relationship,” says Hersh, who opened his Homewatch franchise 18 years ago. “They become very close, some working together over years and years.”
Homewatch provides in-home care and primarily works with people who have developmental or mental disabilities. They provide a wide range of services for clients who live independently or require continuous care.
For the home-based care industry, COVID-19 changed everything, from keeping health care workers and clients healthy to responding to a continuously growing demand. People with disabilities who would previously spend half their day at group activities or jobs were forced to stay home, sometimes needing constant care.
As of January, the Homewatch team became eligible for vaccines in Ohio. While many chose not to be immediately vaccinated, today the vast majority have received the vaccine, Hersh says.
Marcy Henderson, who has been working in the medical field for 28 years, joined the Homewatch team about a year and a half ago.
One difference between Homewatch and other employers is that Homewatch works to pair caregivers with clients who are like-minded or have similar hobbies. “They see who’s going to be a good fit for the individual and the task,” she says.
Henderson also appreciates that the Homewatch team asks for caretakers’ ideas. “[Homewatch] values our input, which is really nice,” she says.
In the past, Henderson and other home-health aides would get their clients out into the community, taking them to the YMCA or to workshops. But with COVID-19, that’s not possible. Today, it requires extra ingenuity for caregivers to keep their clients engaged, she says.
Henderson has flexed these new skills by taking up the hobbies of her clients. For one client who enjoys cooking, she takes them to the library to research recipes and build a grocery list. Later, she takes them to buy ingredients and they cook together—some recent endeavors have been a taco bake and calzones.
“You’ve got to get creative,” Henderson says, adding that Homewatch’s team will help brainstorm activities if caregivers are having trouble engaging them.
These days, Homewatch is perpetually hiring, Hersh says. They have close to 80 employees compared to 50 last year, however, 85 to 90 employees are needed. Revenue for 2020 is roughly $2.75 million, up 40 percent from 2019. To keep morale up, he likes to offer gift cards to team members.
There’s no telling when the increased demand for Homewatch’s services will steady, but for now, the team will continue to quickly expand.
Amy Braunschweiger is a freelance writer.
Homewatch CareGivers of Columbus
6100 Channingway Blvd Suite 507 Columbus, 43232
Business: Home health services company
CEO: Jon Hersh
Employees: Nearly 80
Revenue: $2.75 million in 2020